MG Cyberster: first pictures of roadster released

MG has released more images and some extra information on the Cyberster; a new concept which points towards the company’s return to the open-top, two-seat sports car market.

It’s the first time we’ve seen an open-top roadster from MG since the TF. It’s also the second pure-electric sports car concept launched by MG in the last few years, following on from the E-Motion Coupe that the SAIC-owned brand first revealed in 2017.

The Cyberster will make its debut at this year’s Shanghai Motor Show later this month, with MG previously hinting that it could put the car into production. The firm says it is “exploring the possibilities of a future sports car” with the concept, the specifics of which will be confirmed at the show.

MG says the concept was designed as a “nod to the MGB Roadster of yesteryear.” However, the firm is treating the Cyberster as more than a trip down memory lane. So while some styling elements have been retained from the MGB (such as the long bonnet, short tail and round headlamps), the rest of the concept is littered with futuristic design cues.

Up front, there’s an aggressive splitter, which is complemented by a set of finned side skirts. The roadster’s deck lid also features a pair of roll-over hoops, reminiscent of the Porsche 918 Spyder, that are designed to protect the occupants in the event of an accident.

The car’s lighting system is rather unconventional. The concept’s “magic eye” headlamps feature interactive signatures and there’s a “laser belt” LED strip which runs the length of the car’s flanks as a subtle nod to the MGB’s chrome trim line. The tail-lights also feature a Union Flag signature, framed in a full-width light bar.

At the rear, the Cyberster has a flattened tail with a kammback profile, which MG says improves aerodynamic performance. The car’s air flow characteristics are further aided by an enormous diffuser which, as it’s a concept, is partially illuminated.

Inside, the Cyberster is even more future-gazing. The cabin is divided by a narrow portrait infotainment system mounted in the centre console, through which the driver can access the car’s various 5G services. The digital gauge cluster is also flanked by a further two screens, which take video feeds from a pair of wing-mounted cameras.

The steering wheel is heavily sculpted and features a set of games controller-style buttons and triggers, although MG is yet to explain how the unit works. In its most recent announcement, the company also said the car has a pair of “zero-gravity sports seats.”

MG is yet to release full technical specification for the Cyberster, although the brand has confirmed that it’ll deliver a 0-100km/h time of around three seconds and a maximum range of up to 800km. Figures like these would make the eventual production version a close rival for the second-generation Tesla Roadster.

This approach would be a radical shift away from MG’s current EV strategy. The ZS Electric SUV was the brand’s first all-electric offering, which served up a solid range figure at an affordable price, and that direction was followed more recently by the facelifted MG 5.

The Cyberster is certain to use a completely different electric drivetrain to MG’s production vehicles, potentially inheriting the same twin-motor four-wheel-drive system from the E-Motion concept, along with its modular electric vehicle platform.

MG Cyberster: production and sales

MG hasn’t yet given the Cyberster the green light for production, but the brand is reportedly investigating crowdfunding as a way of helping to finance the car’s testing programme.

Recent reports here in Australian media cited a local market press release which suggested that MG would soon launch a new sub-brand, called MG Cyber. Allegedly, the spin-off is aiming to raise around AUD$10 million by offering early investors access to the car’s development process.

Those who sign up would be able to contribute to decisions on interior and exterior trim, colours and even the design of the EV’s user interface. They would also be offered the chance to drive early prototypes and potentially end up with unique Cybersters that are customised to their own tastes.

There’s little evidence that MG would be able to use this approach beyond its domestic market in China. The overall chances of the car making it to showrooms globally may also depend on MG Cyber’s success in attracting not just expressions of interest, but also serious cash investment.

Luke Wilkinson

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