RE: Shed of the Week: MG ZT

RE: Shed of the Week: MG ZT

Friday 22nd September 2017

Shed of the Week: MG ZT

A welcome Shed return for the handsome MG saloon, even if this ad leaves a lot to the imagination...



Have you noticed how certain used cars always have those nasty lightweight aftermarket mats put in them? The mats you used to see in Halfords, but are now mainly on eBay, that are nice and cheap and look like it, apart from the nice part.

These hairy things resist every effort to clean them, whether you're using a state-of-the-art vacuum or your fingernails. You hardly ever see them in German cars. That's because German car owners tend to stick with close-weave OE mats that stay flat, and will even hunt them down on the internet if their original ones are worn out.

Proportions so good it worked for RWD too!
Proportions so good it worked for RWD too!
But you do regularly see these flimsy efforts in MGs of the ZR, ZS and ZT variety, usually in a dirty grey and edged in a charity shop pinky-red colour that only makes them look worse. Shed's theory on these hateful things is that old ZTs are bought by stingy older gentlemen who like the idea of stuff that they think looks expensive but isn't.

And sure enough, here they are in this week's Shed, an otherwise very classy ZT190+ in dark metallic grey, besmirched only by the dreaded curly mats.

Luckily, we can forget about the mats - nearly - by concentrating on everything else that is good about the ZT190+, and there's plenty of that. Much of it is in that small + sign, which stood for 'plus lots of kit'. The vendor hasn't bothered to list all its bits and bobs, but they should include things like climate control, sat-nav and a pipe rack. It looks like this Shed doesn't have a sunroof, which is a relief as they are known for both leaking and jamming.

Beneath all the baubles, the ZT was a fine-handling and fine-riding machine. It ran from 2001 to 2005, meaning that this car was conceived under BMW rule - sorry, under the terms of the Rover/BMW merger which lasted from 1994 to 2000. BMW blamed the notorious failure of this collaboration on the strength of the pound against the euro, which would be a lesson from history if it wasn't generally believed by most industry observers that it was actually mainly down to a catastrophic underestimation by BMW of what they had bought. Well, that and the poaching of many of Rover's best people by British Aerospace.

Well of course we have the most powerful V6
Well of course we have the most powerful V6
But let's not get all political. BMW notwithstanding, these ZTs were generally nicely engineered cars, with the odd exception which we'll get onto in a minute. The restyle mods over the 1998 Rover 75 were penned by McLaren F1 designer Peter Stevens, and it had another refresh in 2004, but our Shed is a pre-facelift '03 model with an acceptably low mileage. Pre-facelifters aren't famed for their interiors, but this one looks pretty smart with its not-too-naff half-leather seats.

The twin-cam 24-valve KV6 engine arrived on the scene in 1996 and needn't give you much cause for concern. It was pretty advanced for its time and reputedly the most compact V6 in its class. It's torquey enough, if a bit undergeared with the five-speed Getrag gearbox, and a solid performer. A single long belt drove the inlet cams and the water pump, while the exhaust valves were spun by short belts running off the end of the inlet cams.

The KV6 wasn't related to the K-series four-pot, so it wasn't plagued by head gasket failure (just some cylinder liner trouble on early pre-'98 units), but you do have to watch the coolant side of things. Make sure the rad fan is working properly, the plenum chamber drain isn't blocked, and that there's no unwanted liquid languishing in the valley twixt the heads. Also check the air-con. It probably won't be working, and on balance that's a good thing because then you can just pretend you're an old-school motorist and not worry about the (probably wasted) cost of fixing it.

The main glitch with these motors is the VIS (Variable Inlet System) motor. One of BMW's 'improvements' was to replace the metal butterfly valves with, guess what, plastic ones. BMW plasticised the thermostat housing too, btdubs. Predictably, that's another common area of failure. Unfortunately, accessing these (or the timing belts) isn't easy on the KV6, so you'd be pleased to see evidence of this work having already been carried out by some previous poor mug.

Ditch the floormats though. Please
Ditch the floormats though. Please
Bodywise, check that the boot and the spare wheel well in particular is dry. Water can get in through the rear light seals or through a vent under the side bumper. Electrics can play up in a sometimes alarming fashion, but many of these sparky problems can be traced back to weakbatteries.

If you think £1,300 is a lot to pay for an MG saloon, here's another 190+, a little lower in mileage admittedly but considerably more expensive at nearly £5K. The difference in price must be down to the factory mats. It's certainly not the rear lenses.

Let's scurry back to the cheery security of our good-value Shed. Here is the richly detailed ad.

MOT Valid Until 19/05/2018

Author
Discussion

mrpenks

Original Poster:

186 posts

89 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
I bloody hate those matts too.

Turbobanana

1,113 posts

135 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
So, Shed has £500 more to spend and now he’s gone all sensible. Dullest SOTW write-up for a long time.

Car looks alright though. Always fancied an estate myself.

dotgillingham

27 posts

29 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
Was looking at these only yesterday. Always liked the looks and seem good value now. Tempted.

YellowCar

62 posts

56 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
Must be a record for the shortest ad?

sdiggle

47 posts

24 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
That was my car 2 weeks ago. Part-ex'd with Carlians. It's in amazing condition, was one owner from new. Engine is strong, suspension stiff. Great fun. Sorry the mats offend, but they looked better on ebay and are a damn sight better than the rubber ones it came with!!

The lovely elderly gent I bought it off made me promise I would look after it! Hope the next owner does the same....
Advertisement

andburg

2,828 posts

103 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
sdiggle said:
That was my car 2 weeks ago. Part-ex'd with Carlians. It's in amazing condition, was one owner from new. Engine is strong, suspension stiff. Great fun. Sorry the mats offend, but they looked better on ebay and are a damn sight better than the rubber ones it came with!!

The lovely elderly gent I bought it off made me promise I would look after it! Hope the next owner does the same....
all we needed to know there, someone go make an silly lowball offer and bag this as a bargain!

GeordieInExile

583 posts

54 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
Turbobanana said:
So, Shed has £500 more to spend and now he’s gone all sensible. Dullest SOTW write-up for a long time.

Car looks alright though. Always fancied an estate myself.
And has spent it on a car of which there are many sub-£1k examples knocking about!

alorotom

4,867 posts

121 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
didnt we have one of these not THAT long ago ... I vaguely remember it ... these are so dull, bland and lackluster - shed can do so much better than this, least its better than a ("hallowed") E39 though

Scottie - NW

812 posts

167 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
Fair call for SOTW, a little unusual with a V6.

sdiggle

47 posts

24 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
New clutch at 60K and every single bit of work ever done documented in a Word file print-out that should come with the car.

Blackpuddin

8,274 posts

139 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
You do sort of wonder if the nay-sayers actually know what this is.

Nuppy

94 posts

96 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
Always had a soft spot for the estate versions of these as a workhorse...
...goes to check classifieds biggrin

phil_cardiff

3,790 posts

142 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
sdiggle said:
New clutch at 60K and every single bit of work ever done documented in a Word file print-out that should come with the car.
This'll be sold by 10:45!

pmanson

12,227 posts

187 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
I had a 1.8t version of this.

Bar a leak into the boot (the trim of the rear wing was allowing water in) I did 40k in 18mths before the head gasket let go (at 110k+ miles IIRC).

It was comfortable and surprisingly good fun to drive

TommoAE86

1,609 posts

61 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
I like my trophy blue one with the V6, but it wasn't my most reliable car (my fault) but after I'd spent enough fixing it it was a lovely car. Bridged the gap between comfortable and feelsome very well.

sjc

10,242 posts

204 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
alorotom said:
didnt we have one of these not THAT long ago ... I vaguely remember it ... these are so dull, bland and lackluster -
Funnily enough,from a driving persepective, that's the complete opposite of what they are.

kambites

55,061 posts

155 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
Much underrated cars, IMO. Especially with the KV6 to complement the lovely chassis.

wildcat45

6,915 posts

123 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
My short lived association with a ZTT 180+ was great. Doing up a house i needed a cheap big load lugger and a fully loaded Monogram model with flip paint and a delightfully old school SatNav fitted the bill perfrctly.

It had a subtle stainless steel exhaust which made it sound rather lovely .

I liked it but its huge milage made it a little shabby. Shabby in a nice worn in way. It got plenty of positive comments.

It must have been gorgeous when it rolled out of Longbridge and allegedy into the hands of one of the Phoenix Four. The service book indicated that it had been looked after by the factory workshops in its first year.

Sadly it smelt musty snd a peek under the carpets revealed enough water sloshing around to give an aircraft carrier stability problems.

I moved it on with the water issue declaired to the new owner. Sold it for what i paid for it.

If i had a need id have another. It would have to be a fully loaded momogram V6 or V8.

Edited by wildcat45 on Friday 22 September 11:26

JoBlack

143 posts

14 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
Mercedes seem to have lifted almost the entire styling for the new C/E class from this.

parabolica

4,591 posts

118 months

Friday 22nd September 2017
quotequote all
YellowCar said:
Must be a record for the shortest ad?
I was looking at 6 series a few weeks ago (2004ish models); one advert had just one word! "Blue". I guess no-one can accuse you of lying in an advert when there is no advert!