New Car: 2012 MG 3

MG has given its new small hatchback, the MG3, a relatively low-key public debut at the Guangzhou auto show in China.

The firm's parent company, SAIC, revealed no technical information on the car. But it did give it a launch date: March 2011, ahead of the next major Chinese car show in Shanghai in April.

Styled under the co-ordination of MG’s studio in the UK, the MG3 looks like a neat production development of the Zero concept car. It's just under four metres long, 1.728m wide, and 1.517m tall; that makes it as long as a five-door Fiesta, but slightly narrower and taller.

SAIC seems keen to push the car's 'Britishness' - witness the Union Jacks displayed prominently on its stand - and personalisation, with contrasting roof colours and plenty of body stripes.

Information about just one engine spec has emerged from China; it's said to be a 1.5-litre petrol unit producing 109bhp at 6000rpm, and 99lb ft at 4500rpm, enough to get the MG3 to a top speed of 113mph. Those figures would put the car up against a 1.4 petrol Fiesta.

The other engines in the line-up are likely to be a 1.3-litre petrol, with around 67bhp, a diesel (SAIC is still in talks with potential suppliers) and a turbocharged version of the 1.5 petrol, with 156bhp.

The car is being aimed at buyers aged between 18 and 28. Top-spec models will get a CD player-based sound system, but more lowly specs are understood to offer just a USB socket and perhaps a solid-state memory-based MP3 player.

MG Motor UK has yet to even acknowledge the car's existence, let alone detail European specs or a launch date. But it's unlikely to reach UK dealers before 2012, particularly given the delays that have hit the on-sale date of its bigger brother, the MG6. Once pencilled in for a late 2010 release, it's now unlikely to reach buyers until the spring.

Thanks to: Autocar

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