READING about MG’s soon-to-be-in-production Cyberster reminded me that I recently spent some quality time with another already available sporty MG EV, writes David Roy.
Indeed, the new MG4 XPower is the most powerful production MG ever made, thanks to its new 429hp dual motor all-wheel-drive set-up, which delivers 443 lb ft of torque via front (150kW) and rear (170kW) electric powerplants.
We’re big fans of the standard MG4 here at Drive: it’s a practical, pleasant to drive, distinctive looking small electric SUV, with excellent range – 323 miles in the new Trophy Extended Range trim – and a stylish cabin boasting a quality of finish belying the car’s sub-£30k price tag.
You pay more for the fancier trims, naturally, but even the basic ‘SE’ car is superb value for money (£26,995 OTR, to be exact), something reflected in its massive haul of motoring press prizes this year, which includes the coveted UK Car of The Year bauble.
The new MG4 XPower is a ‘high performance’ version priced at a very reasonable £36,495, which retains the decent range (239 miles) and boot space (363 litres) of the standard MG4 while offering a lot more get-up-and-go: it will do the 0-62mph dash in 3.8 seconds, perfect for making up lost time when you’re lagging on the morning school run.
The XPower is also the first MG4 to offer a ‘launch control’ system for maximum standing start performance, and is very noticeably more rapid than the single motor-powered MG4 when you push your right foot into the carpet (remaining within legal speed limit at all times, obviously, Officer) in order to overtake or merge into faster-flowing traffic.
The power is punchy, instantaneous and, quite frankly, manic grin-inducing.
Its dual motor set-up is combined with all-wheel-drive and a Dynamic Cornering Control System, which offers active braking on the inside wheels via a locking electronic differential and Intelligent Motor Control capability: this allows torque vectoring between all four wheels for improved traction and stability.
MG have also tweaked the suspension for the XPower, with recalibrated spring and damper tunings, stiffer anti-roll bars and ‘sharper’ steering. They claim that “overall suspension stiffness has been increased by up to 25 per cent”.
It does feel ‘firmer’ than the standard cars - though, crucially, without sacrificing much in the way of ride comfort.
One of my niggles with the MG4 was the lack of one-pedal driving: thankfully, the XPower adds true one-pedal functionality to the car’s four levels of adjustable regenerative braking – in fact, it’s now been ‘unlocked’ throughout the rest of the MG4 range as well.
The XPower features uprated, ventilated 345mm discs all round, which MG claim will bring you to standstill from 62mph in 33.9m. This enhanced braking power is visible through the cloverleaf-style spokes of the 18-inch XPower-exclusive Cyclone alloys as orange ‘XPOWER’-branded sports brake callipers, and the car rolls on Bridgestone Turanza tyres.
Those new wheels are the XPower’s most obvious exterior upgrade, though there are also some subtle new silver accents on the black lower trim pieces. If you really want to let folks know exactly what you’re driving, choose one in the XPower-exclusive Racing Green colour (an £800 option).
Inside, the car looks much the same as the less sporty models, albeit with some nice Alcantara fabric and contrast-colour stitching on its seats. It also features the same abundance of driver aids and onboard tech as the ‘loaded’ Trophy trim.
However, the XPower gets its own unique ‘Track Mode’ data display feature, which analyses vehicle performance, power distribution, speed/time, G-Force, steering angle and throttle for those intent on shaving seconds off their Sunday afternoon commute to the garden centre.
MG say they expect the XPower to “appeal to customers looking for a pure performance offering which is the antithesis of the traditionally ‘loud’ high performance hatchback”.
It might cost the same as the MG4 Trophy Extended Range, but while the XPower won’t take you quite as far between charges as its more ‘sensible’, single-motor sister, you will definitely have more fun behind the wheel.