of the relentless stream of new products from MG is the new ZT XPower 385 – a
road going development of the ZT XPower 500 Extreme concept. Aimed directly at
the saloon car driver looking for fast fun it's set to compete with the hotter
offerings from Audi and the likes of BMW's benchmark M3.
Due on sale in the summer of 2002 it will be competitively priced at under
£40,000. Performance will be spritely with 60mph reached in less than 5 seconds
and a maximum speed of 175mph.
Under the bonnet is a 4.6-litre driving the rear wheels. The styling and
chassis are derived from the XPower Extreme concept which was engineered to cope
with almost 500 horsepower.
A lower powered (~250bhp) version known at the 260 (260PS) will go on sale
first, in spring 2002, preceding the summer introduction of the MG ZT and ZT-T
XPower 385. Estate versions will also be available.
under the leadership of Peter Stevens, MG Rover’s product design director -
also responsible for the McLaren F1 - the 385’s overall design performs a
functional aerodynamic role as well as beefing up the looks of the dull Rover
saloon from which it has been derived.
Exterior styling emphasises a purposeful stance while housing the huge
18" multi-spoke alloy wheels and 245/40 front and 275/35 rear ZR18 tyres. A
deep section front bumper has been profiled with harder-edged forms, integrating
the body-coloured wider wheel arch extensions and sill mouldings.
It's a fine line Stevens has trodden with the styling though. The strong
presence certainly works but teeters perilously close to Max Power looks. The
proof will be seeing the car in the real world. The strong visual appearance is
emphasised by Xenon headlamps, front driving lamps, bright mesh grille with
integral aerodynamic wing and bonnet vents. A purposeful boot spoiler and XPower
badging complete the identity.
On the inside, XPower high-back sports seats give comfort and support. The
fascia features a Rhodium silver technical finish, with backlit instrumentation
dials. Air conditioning and a sophisticated alarm system are standard equipment.
Front strut suspension uses a similar layout to the ZT190 and features a
tubular subframe, Bilstein dampers, uprated springs and anti-roll bars. Large
alloy 4-pot brakes that harness the 330mm ventilated discs, are all specified to
give a truly awesome driving experience.
The rear suspension features a tubular carrier for the Hydratrak torque
control differential, which incorporates three transverse and one substantial
longitudinal suspension link arms.
Rob Oldaker, MG Rover Group’s Product Development Director, commented:
"The MG ZT XPower 385 provides a thrilling and exciting road-experience.
It has a purposeful presence, yet combines the practicality of a comfortable
five-seater saloon or estate with supercar performance. When you arrive in this
MG, everyone will know you have arrived."