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.
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.
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.
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