Heralded as a ‘game changer’ the all-new and all-electric MG4 has just touched down in New Zealand, however, just prior to its release we hopped (pun intended) over the ditch to the home of the NRL South Sydney Rabbitohs to find out all about it.
The MG4 is an EV Hatch that’s not only sleek and stylish, but is out to narrow (or even remove) the gap between traditional combustion engine cars and EVs. Its pricing starts at $46,990 (so under $40k with CCD), has 5-Stars from ANCAP for safety and comes with a 7 year warranty – I assume I have your attention.
The event was held at the Heffron Performance Centre in Maroubra. It’s a $58M facility that boasts a community sports centre, a dance centre and is the new home of the 7 time championship winners, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, the team that MG has been in partnership with since 2022.
Rabbits and rugby may seem an odd outlet for the near 100-year old ‘British’ car brand, but the two are well suited as both are big on performance and both strive for excellence (and Shareholder Russell Crow must have been in an MG!)
Anyway, following heartfelt speeches from Blake Solly (CEO Rabbitohs), Peter Ciao (CEO MG ANZ), Kim Nguyen (MG Sales Director), David Hearty (MG GM Marketing), and all the technical information, it was time to pull back the silk.
There’s no doubt at all that the MG4 is a looker. It’s been designed to look ‘in motion’ even when standing still and its 4.3m long, 1.5m tall stature has a very sporty appeal. The bonnet comes with a U shape design, the sleek headlights are LEDs, the vents are intelligent and the overhangs (both front and rear) are minimal.
There are four models available at launch and each come with power &/or trim/spec differences. However, they are all RWD, all have a 10.25-inch infotainment screen, a 7-inch instrument cluster and a 500kg towing capability.
The 51kWh Excite is the base model, but in fairness, doesn’t feel that way. It boasts a range of 350km, offers 125kW/250Nm and a 0-100 time of 7.7 seconds. Its wheels are 17-inches, seats are manually adjustable and the MG Pilot has 9 features.
The 64kWh Excite has the same trim as the 51, however, has a range of upto 450km, offer up 150kW/250Nm and does the sprint to 100 in 7.2 seconds.
The 64kWh Essence has essentially the same power details as the Excite (altough the range is 15km less) but comes with a funky ‘Twin Aero’ roofline spoiler, front seat and steering wheel heating, 6 way electrically adjustable driver’s seat, 360-degree camera views and upgraded seat material (PU leather and fabric).
Last but not least (as there is a more powerful model coming out later this year) is the long range 77kWh. It comes with the specs as per the ‘64’ Essence, but boasts a segment-topping 530km of range and offers 180kW/350Nm and a zero to 100km/h time of 7.6 seconds.
Our drive route for the day would be a 250km+ loop to the glorious Centennial vineyard for lunch and back to Heffron, it offered the tight twists and turns of the national park, highway driving and of course the cluttered roads that make up South Sydney – basically 3-4 hours to get better acquainted with MG’s newest EV hatch,
More by luck than judgement our introduction to the MG4 was the 51. As I said before, it may be the base model, but it’s comfortable and spacious (front and rear) due to its 2.7m long wheelbase. I was a passenger to start, but found it interesting that the MG4 is ‘on’ the moment the driver sits down. A quick turn of the dial in the centre console and we were away.
While my able assistant drove (ok another journalist) I headed into the infotainment screen to see what was on offer. The menus are logical and simple, with easy access to the driving modes (Eco to Sport) and different regen levels – although these can also be accessed through shortcuts on the steering wheel. The EV pages are easy to understand too, with the likes of energy flow, range and usage all at your (my) fingertips.
The fit and finish has a bit of a recycled feel about it, there are a few more harder plastic areas than that of an upmarket vehicle but still way better than I was expecting, although I’m not sure what I was expecting. Even as a passenger the ride felt firm but smooth, there was a hint of wind and road noise on certain road surfaces but even so, far more insulated than I had allowed for.
The driver swap arrived at no time and I hit the road with vigour, well almost. The ‘51 does take a fair amount of time to get to national speed limits, but I am probably being a bit critical, I mean it’s still as fast as a benchmark (regular) Golf. Steering felt nicely weighted and the wheel itself comes with a tactile feel. Road feedback is a little subdued but I couldn’t fault its precision.
Lane keep assist wasn’t too intrusive either, a reminder beep from time to time but on the whole allowed me to drive. And in all honesty, that was the theme for the day.
Stepping up to the ‘64 offered a little more oomph to the drive and adding the Essence trim meant that there were a few extra apps and toys to play with – although I would have liked to have electric seats on the passenger side.
Lunch was great (seriously take the time to go to the Centennial winery if you can) and the drive back to the Heffron had me in the ‘77 which again increases all specs and performance to the current max.
Most of the last stint was on the highway doing 110km/h, a great opportunity to use the adaptive cruise system, (that shows what’s on the road around on the instrument cluster). It slowed when it should and pushed up to max speed whenever possible – I did keep it in Sport. We arrived back at the performance centre with a shade under 40% battery left, which by my calculations was just about right (allowing for a heavy right foot and highway riding).
My takeaway at this point is just how far the MG brand has come. The MG4 feels (and looks) more ‘designed’ than its SUV sibling, with more of a sense of purpose – rather than just fitting in. The drive was confident and the range is good. Pick of the bunch for me would be the ‘51 if I didn’t have to go on any real long hauls but according to CEO Peter Caio he’s confident there’s a place for the entire range (estimating 3,000 sales in Aus by the end of the year).
They call the MG4 a game changer, I think it should be a ‘gap closer’, if you’re looking for a new ICE car in the $40k region, I would definitely be hopping in this and taking if for a spin (another Rabittohs reference – especially now I’ve got the shirt).