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First Look: MG sports Xcitement

Bat out of hell: MG's new two-seat road rocket speeds to 270km/h in base form.

Meet MG's outrageous new XPower SV which produces up to 750kW of power!

25 Oct 2002

NO, it's not the Batmobile reborn. This two-seater coupe is instead proof that famed British marque MG is determined to re-emerge as one of the world's top sports car manufacturers.

Named the MG XPower SV, it was revealed this week at the British international motor show in Birmingham just a few short miles from the headquarters of the parent MG Rover Group, the last British-owned volume car manufacturer.

The Xpower SV goes on sale in the UK in April and is pitched very much at track as well as on-road use and is intended to be the icon of the MG range. In concept it seems to be intended to play the same sort of halo role as HSV wants the Monaro-based HRT 427 it revealed at the Sydney motor show this month to perform for it.

Based on the X80 coupe which MG showed at the Frankfurt motor show last year, which in turn was developed from Qvale Mangusta which MG Rover acquired the rights to 18 months ago, the SV has been radically evolved, lightened and offers a whole swag of specification and power levels that go right up to 750kW!That's right. 750kW, courtesy of a factory-approved nitrous oxide kit!So extreme is the performance of this new super-coupe that a new brand has been created to build and market it, MG Sport & Racing XPower.

And the man who was in charge of designing the XPower, former McLaren, Lamborghini and Lotus stylist Peter Stevens, has been put in charge of the new company.

"I've been working with a small team of experts and enthusiasts to ensure we produce an MG car that will deliver the ultimate in driving exhilaration," Mr Stevens said. "The MG XPower SV is a car with appeal to passionate sports car drivers who will relish its extraordinary racetrack performance characteristics.

"MG is all about having fun, extending the boundaries of excitement and generating visual entertainment for a wider audience. The MG XPower SV delivers this objective in a forceful manner, demonstrating the immense potential for MG." The good news is that local distributor MG Rover Australia is considering the SV for limited local sale, although with a price starting around $200,000 (based on the UK entry price of 65,000 pounds) it?' not going to have a huge audience.

The range starts with a version powered by a 240kW 4.6-litre quad-cam Ford V8 engine. Weight is forecast at 1450kg, which will contribute towards acceleration of 0-100km/h in around five seconds and a top speed of over 270km/h. More specification details will be released during early 2003.

But MG will also offer the XPower SV Club Sport, which will allow customers to either buy a complete XPower model ready for road and track or to enhance the specification of their car with competition-derived parts.

The XPower SV Club Sport features a more powerful 5.0-litre quad-cam V8 engine with 300kW, a 0-100km/h time of about 4.4 seconds and a top speed electronically limited to 315km/h.

The car on show at Birmingham is another variation on Club Sport with a 345kW 5.0-litre V8 mated to six-speed Tremec gearbox. MG says a top speed in excess of 320km/h and a 0-100km/h time of approximately 4.2 seconds is possible.

Typical of the ways in which a prospective customer might specify their SV, the Birmingham car is fitted with Sparco carbon shell racing seats, a cabin-installed spare wheel, custom helmet storage cubbies, four point electrically-locked harnesses and Motec racing instrumentation. Some of the specification of this car will be carried over to production cars.

The exterior styling of the SV owes much to the demands of airflow management required for competition cars, which helps explain the car's menacing and aggressive look.

As part of the car's weight reduction objectives, all exterior body panels are made from lightweight carbon-fibre. The flat underfloor and inbuilt front and rear air diffusers manage the aerodynamic flow for high-speed stability. Suspension geometry has been designed in collaboration with Steve Randle, responsible for the set-up of the McLaren F1 road car.

Roll-over protection is provided by a tubular structure designed to comply with current FIA competition specifications. A rigorous development program including high-speed stability tests at the Nardo circuit in Southern Italy saw an SV regularly exceed 320km/h.

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