Production version of electric Mazda MX-5 rival will be called the Project E.
MG is on track to unveil its ‘Project E’ two-seat electric roadster in April next year ahead of right-hand drive deliveries in the first half of 2024, the brand has said. The model is yet to be confirmed for Australia with the first RHD models confirmed for the UK.
The sports car, first previewed by the 2021 Cyberster concept and known internally as ‘Project E’, was due to be unveiled this month at the Guangzhou motor show, but has been put back to next year after concerns the November show would be postponed or cancelled due to Covid fears.
The production car “will be a game changer in terms of perception of the brand,” MG UK commercial director Guy Pigounakis told Automotive Daily Network partner Autocar at a recent event. The car will be available either as a two-wheel-drive – likely to the rear wheels – or as a “very high performance” all-wheel-drive dual motor version.
The car will become a halo model sitting above the rest of MG’s lineup. Executives had to rethink its positioning when the first full-scale prototype of the production arrived from China in advance of the reveal originally planned for this month.
“Right up to when model was arriving we were looking at it as a natural successor to the MG F. It’s completely not. It’s in a completely different sector of the market,” Pigounakis said, without revealing pricing.
The car was teased in a video posted to social media in August that showed off the roadster’s sleek, long-nosed silhouette, electric folding canvas roof, yoke steering wheel, two-tone sports seats and distinctive LED headlights. Other definitive design cues visible at this early stage include a subtle ‘ducktail’ rear spoiler and a rear lighting design modelled on the Union Jack – a nod to MG’s British roots.
Tellingly, MG captioned the video ‘return of the legend’, which strongly suggests the final production car will resurrect a sporting nameplate from the brand’s illustrious past; earlier this year, the brand trademarked the name MG C EV – a name which references a lesser-known, straight-six-powered version of the brand-defining MG B from the late 1960s.
The two-seat electric sports car was previewed as an outlandish concept in 2021, which company bosses said was given the green light for production after receiving more than 5000 expressions of interest from potential buyers.
The official preview and recently filed design patents show just how far the design has come since that concept and indicate that the Cyberster – which will essentially serve as an electric rival to the likes of the Mazda MX-5 – is nearly ready for an official unveiling.
While the production car’s silhouette bears a visual relation to that earlier concept, it’s all change elsewhere, with a total redesign bringing the car into line with MG’s production models and rendering it compliant with global homologation rules. It sits higher than before, for example, the wheels are smaller and wrapped in chunkier tyres, the headlights are now uncovered and the gaping front grille panel has been swapped for what looks to be a subtler, decorative item, perhaps housing an array of sensors.
It still looks to be a two-seater, though features a folding roof rather than sticking with the concept’s open-cockpit arrangement, and the prominent streamliners running from the headrests to the trailing edge of the boot lid are gone.
Despite the car appearing more or less undisguised in these renderings, still little is known about its powertrain, pricing or performance potential.
A third new MG to arrive by 2024 hasn’t yet been confirmed, but it is likely to be a third SUV, given the continuing consumer demand for high-riding vehicles.