We’ve spoken about the MG XPower SV before, so when we saw this one pop up on our classifieds there was no way we could ignore it. We love this car’s flawed brilliance, not to mention the sheer lunacy of it. It was a car nobody asked for, it was a car so far out of MG’s wheel-house it may as well have been a speedboat, it was daft and loud and because of all of that, it was brilliant. Though, it was also a bit rubbish, but in a weird, underdog way, that just served to add to the charm.
Shortly before the company’s demise, the MG Rover Group was in a buying frenzy and one company it bought was Qvale, which somewhat handily had bought De Tomaso itself and as such, had a two-seater sports coupe in the works. It was this car that would become the XPower, though to begin with, it was known as the X80 and was being developed under the newly-formed company, MG X80 Ltd. In 2001, MG rolled out a concept that we, the general public along with the motoring press, thought was a bit too bland!
MG went back to the drawing board and went bananas with the pencils. MG also drafted in Peter Stevens, the designer of the McLaren F1, to give the new car (by this point the MG XPower SV) a new, more aggressive look. And he delivered, bringing us the car we see here. It was wide, it was low, it had more gilles than an aquarium and it looked like nothing MG had ever done before. It certainly wasn’t built like any other MG. Made largely from carbon fibre and hand-assembled, it was a nightmare to build and in doing so employed teams in the UK and Turin. Under all that carbon fibre was a 4.6 Ford V8 mated to a five-speed Tremec manual transmission. It tipped the scales at a mere 1,540kg and could be had with 320bhp (SV) or a terrifying 385bhp (SV R). Lunacy, in a nutshell.
The car featured here is the more ‘restrained’ SV version. But 320bhp is not to be sniffed at in a car so light, so worry not. You’re still going to be in for one hell of a rise, especially with stabilization and traction assistance being on the sparse side.
Finished in British Racing Green with Oyster alcantara/leather innards, this MG XPower SV definitely wears the right, traditional colours for a sporty British car. Though, there is nothing traditional about the huge split-rim wheels, or the harnesses, or the many vents, so don’t think people will mistake it for an MGB!
This car is an ex-demonstrator, it boasts full history and has only covered a mere 11,800 in its sixteen years. And it’s not the sparse, race car you might think it to be. You get air conditioning, electric windows and even a CD player. You could use it for the daily commute. Possibly. Of course, the real reason you buy a car like this is to celebrate that even when the curtain was drawing on MG Rover, there was still some brilliance to be had. Some lunacy, too. This car is a reminder that when we put our minds to it, the British can build something truly special.