For several years now, the British brand MG, which was taken over by the Chinese group SAIC, has been producing cars again, in addition to petrol models as well as electric models. The new Stromer MG4 is impressive and has one main advantage: it is considerably cheaper than the competition.
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So the first advantage that the new compact electric car MG4 has is a very simple one: the Chinese can deliver the car at short notice. If you order this year, the German importer also guarantees the full manufacturer premium for the electrical subsidy. The basic version of the MG4 then costs less than 23,000 euros, which is a real announcement in this segment. What can the car do? The first driving impression.
Apart from the logo, the 4.3 meter long MG has nothing to do with the British cult road stars and sports cars. It is still an eye-catcher – both the memorable front end and the wide rear with the two-part roof spoiler. The two-tone rims in the turbine design are also appealing. In any case, the MG4 stands out next to a VW ID3 or Hyundai Kona, it looks as fresh as a Cupra Born or the new Kia Niro. The MG is available in four colors (white, red, orange, blue).
When it comes to space, the MG 4 is a good average, with acceptable legroom and headroom in the rear and a 363-litre boot (1117 liters with the rear seats folded). The cockpit looks solid, although not as high-quality as, for example, a Kia Niro; similar to VW, a lot of hard plastic is used. You can also see the savings pen on the back seat. The contourless bench offers little lateral support and the rear seats can be folded down in a 40:60 split, but there is no center armrest for the rear passengers.
What the MG4 also lacks is a frunk (front storage space under the front hatch). Since the electric motor is in the rear, there would certainly have been room for it in the front next to the ancillary units and liquid containers. The two charging cables of the car are at least out of sight in the trunk under the cover.
The cockpit is good for us: Large shelves and storage compartments, a well thought-out mixture of touchscreen and conventional switch operation and purely digital, but clear instrumentation make the MG4 a car that you can simply get into and drive off without getting used to it.
A rotary control sorts the driving levels, in addition to the electronic parking brake, you can also switch the car to parking mode by tapping on the control. The infotainment system with various virtual tiles that you open and close is very reminiscent of the BMW system. To navigate, you use the on-board navigation (which is only standard in the top “Luxury” version of the MG) or simply transfer your own smartphone navigation to the monitor. Both worked flawlessly during the test drive.
Depending on the equipment, the MG has adaptive cruise control on board and a lane change assistant, which also pushes the car back into lane very briskly by applying the brakes.
A negative aspect of the operation is that you cannot influence the recuperation levels (i.e. the intensity of braking energy regeneration) while driving with your own levers or switches, but only by selecting the different driving modes or by making a setting in the vehicle menu.
The MG 4 weighs 1.6 tons, is stable on the road with its wide track and low center of gravity. The car sometimes cushions transverse joints and potholes a bit woodenly, despite the multi-link rear axle. The Chinese still lack the fine-tuning for European requirements. This also applies to the steering. However, you can already tell that the Chinese are not lacking much development work to handle a VW, Hyundai or Opel. No wonder, after all, the same supplier components are often found under the sheet metal: the car giant SAIC is not only the mother of MG, but also a joint venture partner of Volkswagen in China.
Similar to the VW ID3, the MG4 has rear-wheel drive; a more powerful all-wheel drive version could be available from 2023. The electric car with its 150 kW maximum output is also convincing as a rear-wheel drive. Good traction, a lot of torque when overtaking and a brisk but not exaggerated suit when driving off please the pilot. The car accelerates to 100 km/h in 7.9 seconds. The speed limit on the autobahn is 160 km/h, although the wind noise backdrop is also clearly audible.
The range is MG4 with up to 450 kilometers, the battery holds 64 kilowatt hours. After the first test drives, a practical range of 400 kilometers seems realistic to us. Exact details, also on charging behavior over long distances, must be shown in more detailed consumption tests.
A big advantage of the China Stromers is the fast charging capability via the CCS connection with up to 135 kilowatts. Many competitors are significantly slower here. With alternating current at the home wall box, only 3.7 kilowatts are possible with single-phase charging and 6.6 at public charging stations (basic battery), with the three-phase charger up to 11 kilowatts are possible.
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The base price of 22,420 euros (“Standard” model) after deducting the subsidy (without subsidy 31,990 euros) should be viewed with caution, because it only applies to a model with a smaller battery (lithium iron phosphate battery, 51 kWh) and poor equipment . Fleet customers in particular with a tight budget are likely to strike.
MG grants a seven-year guarantee on the battery and drive (up to 150,000 kilometers), and the car has to be inspected in the workshop every 24,000 kilometers or once a year. The service runs through multi-brand dealers with whom MG has contracts.
The bottom line is that the MG4 offers nothing that the electric models from Hyundai, Kia, VW, Opel and Co. don’t have on the pan, apart from the design that is really worth seeing and the respectable charging speed. But the – at least according to the manufacturer – very fast delivery capability and above all the comparatively very attractive price could help MG to a respectable start in the EU. In Great Britain, the brand has been established for years as a modern successor to the classic MG. In any case, the Chinese want to expand the model range quickly, and according to rumors, a convertible is even in the pipeline. That would be a nice homage to its British origins.
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