• Mar 18, 2010

MG Project X120 – Click above for image gallery

As recently as five years ago, iconic British marque MG was in the midst of developing three – count 'em, three – new sportscars, according to various reports. Unfortunately, as MG Rover ran out of capital and was sold off to Chinese investors, the plans never saw the light of day. But that won't stop us from wondering what could have been.

The plan – known internally as Project X120 – included a replacement for the aging TF model, a successor to the diminutive Midget, and an up-market sportscar to take on the likes of the Porsche Cayman. The project, however, reportedly got itself into trouble when engineers realized that their plans revolved around using the TF's chassis, among whose shortcomings included a cramped cockpit with an awkward driving position. The injection of an extra £2 million to the £50 million overall budget could have afforded the program a new all-aluminum tub, but they just didn't have the cash.

The real kicker, from an American perspective at least, was that the business case for developing the new line of MGs necessitated the return to the North American market to pursue new potential buyers. And that's where we begin to weep and lament the MGs that could have been.



[Source: Auto Express and Austin Rover Online]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yea, I'd taken a rebadged Smart Roadster with a real manual trans... maybe 5 years ago.

      These images are just hurtful. Stop it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Erm.... actually, BMW bought Rover Group, which included Rover, Land Rover, MG and Mini, from British Aerospace in 1994 for £800 million. After six years of not having a clue what to do with the mainstream car operation, they decided to dispose of what they termed "The English Patient", and so Rover Group was broken up, with Land Rover being sold to Ford for £1.8 billion, Mini being retained by BMW, and the bulk of the company, namely the MG/Rover brands, and the Longbridge factory, sold off to Phoenix Venture Holdings for the token sum of £10, with a £1 billion dowry attached.

      When it comes to the MINI being largely engineered by Rover and MG, that's true, because there's a fair amount of Rover 25 componentry to be found under the MINI's skin. But don't tell any MINI owners! I think they'd rather die than acknowledge the fact that their car is actually a Rover underneath.

      Moving back onto topic, it's a great shame MG Rover didn't have a better management focus. It should have focused on these cars, and the much needed RD/X60 project, rather than wasting its time and limited resources on pointless vanity projects like the SV, and converting the Rover 75 from front to rear-wheel-drive. These projects might have temporarily enhanced MG and Rover's brand image, and showcased the talents of the fine engineers they had, but in the long term, they did nothing for the company's bottom line, and stole about £50-60 million from their development budget, money which would've been far better used on developing this trio of roadsters.

      I hope SAIC and MG's new management team are paying attention. I know they've decied to make their next sports car design front-engined, but I'd very much like to see something similar to these coming out of Longbridge in 2014.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Aha, I knew someone would call me up on my admittedly sketchy knowledge. Dammit, I was trying to sound like I know what I'm on about for a change!

        VERY knowledgeable reply mate +1 of these internets everyone keeps going on about......
      • 4 Years Ago
      That could be a really sexy ride!
      To bad we wouldn't ever have a chance to get it in the states.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And there was 0 chance in hell that it would look like that, or have you never seen a pre-production sketch before?
        • 4 Years Ago
        My first car was an MGB convertible. Great little car. I had it a month before a lady ran a stop sign, hit the rear axle and totaled it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Right now trying to save an 80 MGB. I don,t feel bad at all that we won,t be stuck with a new edition of bad engineering.
      • 4 Years Ago
      When did MG comeback? I thought the Chinese closed them down after making that roadster for like 30 years.
        fatppldropkick
        • 4 Years Ago
        No, they were part of BMW for a while, then they merged with Rover, and more recently, Rover went bankrupt and MG was sold to the Chinese. Last I heard they plan on making cheap Kia clones under the MG brand.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just think of all those repairs that will never happen now....
      • 4 Years Ago
      A new Midget weighting in a little south of 2,000 lbs would be tits.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ahhh shame, they look cute. Like little Daihatsu Copans with attitude.