MG returns to its historic sporting roots with the launch of the MG Cyberster, a convertible sports car that will open up a whole new market sector.
Do you remember the original MG? The British carmaker of small and affordable, fun-to-drive roadsters like the MGB of the 1960s and 1970s and the MG F of the 1990s? Well, after a near-collapse and then decades in the doldrums, it’s back and thriving. The brand has just unveiled its new all-electric roadster – the MG Cyberster – designed in its London studio and brought to production readiness thanks to the financial and logistical muscle of Chinese parent company SAIC.
Featuring dramatic supercar-like scissor doors, an electric powertrain capable of 0-62mph in 5.0 seconds and a predicted range of over 300 miles, the two-seater is expected to go on sale in 2024 for under £45,000. This timeframe will give the former second-tier brand a real edge as the world’s first all-electric roadster to go into production (if you don’t count Tesla’s low-volume two-seater roadster in the early 2000s, which was heavily adapted from a Lotus Elise).
The full-size Cyberster, unveiled in MG’s London studio, retains all the design cues often associated with a well-proportioned sports car. These include a long, gently sloping bonnet, a cab-back stance and a tapered rear.
It’s larger than the old MG F in all directions, but its designers have managed to keep the Cyberster’s height down – just 25mm higher than its contemporary, combustion-engined rival, the BMW Z4 – despite having to fit a large set of batteries between the two axles.
Part of the extra height has also been ‘hidden’ by a few visual design tricks, most notably in the black body band that runs along the window line before widening as it wraps around the rear of the car. This makes the red section of the body side appear lower, and helpfully alters the perception of the car’s overall proportions.
Signature front and rear light signatures and a smart cockpit-style interior – available with a yoke-style steering wheel and three large landscape-orientated screens – add to the modern take on this classic vehicle typology, although a full-rim steering wheel with probably modified driver display will be optional. The Cyberster is shown as an electrically operated soft-top, but a hardtop version may follow in due course.
The Cyberster’s launch year of 2024 is also significant as it coincides with the 100th anniversary of the start of the marque, which can trace its roots back to the Morris garages and the MG octagon logo, which was registered as a trademark in May 1924. But MG is now looking firmly to the future.
Since 2022, it will have sold over 100,000 cars in Europe and is expected to double this figure by 2023, with its critically acclaimed MG 4 crossover set to become its best-selling model. To put things into context, Great Britain remains the leading destination for Chinese vehicles with 62,500 imported in 2022, ahead of Germany (29,000), Italy (24,500), Norway (17,000) and Sweden (16,500).France, with 16,000 units sold in 2022, takes 6th place in the European ranking.
This car had many demands, says Advanced Design Director Carl Gotham. Our aim was to have a car that was worthy of the MG badge. With the Cyberster, Gotham’s team did just that, and it looks like MG found their mojo again.”