Words and photos by Chris Adamson
A new era for MG was unveiled in Battersea Park when the covers came off the marque’s first ever sports utility vehicle – the attractive and contemporary styled all-new GS.
The brand’s forthcoming capacious flagship model was the star reveal during press preview day at the first modern day London Motor Show (for more from Chris about the Show, please click HERE).
Pulling back the red cloth, Matthew Cheyne, head of sales and marketing for MG, described it as an important moment for the company as the fresh model will broaden the appeal of the brand and attract new family customers into the fold.
While images of the GS have been seen in the past and the model has already been launched in China this was the first time that a production version had been shown in the metal in the UK and the first time British journalists and potential purchasers had been able to sit in it.
While full specification and pricing was being withheld until the UK launch in mid-June, it was announced that the SUV’s top specification model will be available with the option of a DCT gearbox which, say the engineers, will be more responsive and provide customers with a much smoother ride. The GS will also come installed with a new 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine (not the same unit as already found in the MG3) and be available in three trim levels.
Matthew Cheyne commented: “When considering transmissions and engine choices, we listened to our customers and looked at market trends. It’s not only a momentous occasion to unveil our first SUV, it is also a significant moment to announce our first automatic – something many of our customers have been waiting for, and so we’re thrilled to be offering it to them.”
He promised that the pricing (not available at the time of writing) will be highly competitive and take it into territory dominated by the likes of the Nissan Qashqai (which has a starting price of just over £17,000), one of Britain’s top-selling models.
“Regarding how much this fantastic new car will cost, it will be consistent with our other models. We’re proud of the fact our prices are transparent. When we say our cars are affordable, we mean it. The price structures are easy to understand and have no surprise additions.”
Although GS will be competitively priced, the sales team is only anticipating selling around 700 units this year and 1,000 in a full year – most of the buyers are expected to be new to the MG family.
Rather than being assembled at Longbridge, as is currently the case with the MG3 and MG6, these cars will arrive in the UK as fully built vehicles ready to be distributed to the ever-expanding dealer network.
Featuring the latest slim-line family grille, sharp headlights and deep front bib, the UK designed and developed GS sits high off the ground in the typical SUV commanding driving position.
The cabin on the show example was fitted with lots of trimmings including leather upholstery, satellite navigation as part of the large central display screen and the new automatic transmission with sports selection.
On initial inspection, one of the best features is the ample leg and head room for rear occupants, often overlooked in the world of competitive styling on the current crop of sports utilities.
There is less to cheer about when it comes to luggage space. The high loading position and a hard cover over an enormous, but wasted, boot well will restrict the amount of cargo that can be carried until the rear seats are reclined.
The promised bargain basement pricing will attract cost-conscious families but how existing MG owners will respond to the new GS will not be known until they can finally try it out on the road for themselves.