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MG Metro

MG Metro Published: 7th Apr 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

MG Metro
MG Metro
MG Metro
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● Cooper S character ● Rare hot hatch ● Good starter classic/racer ● Mini-like to own and run

With the hot hatch era warming up British Leyland entered the fray with the cool (in more than one sense) MG and Vanden Plas mighty Metros to add some class to the supermini segment. Rare sights some 35 years on, but the MG remains a perky and pretty pocket rocket, especially in Turbo tune, that also makes an inexpensive usable starter classic. Still unfairly overlooked.


Sure, the MG was a warmed up Metro and not dissimilar to the MG 1300, but was well done to the point where Autocar said, “There’s something rather irresistible in the MG Metro’s sheer cheekiness”. In single carb tune, the 72bhp 1275cc unit yields as much power as the old Copper S thanks to a special camshaft for fair zip. The Turbo, announced a year later, was the first ‘blown’ MG since K3 Magnettes – with some help from Lotus.

Free from serious throttle lag (as was commonplace with Turbo engines back then) the MG certainly enjoys good real world motoring pace but the lack of a fifth gear is more evident than ever and all are fussy at speed. Handling is fun and you may find that the standard Hydragas suspension (as used on the MGF) has been modified at the rear to improve cornering further.

Best models

Understandably, the Turbo is best liked for its added verve but they are also likely to have been driven the hardest. Condition and originality will count for more over the years and, personally, we like the clean classy look of the original MG Metro, especially in black – that’s in complete contrast to flamboyant, garish later Turbos. Finally, don’t discount the even rarer and highly civilised Vanden Plas flagship Metro; same pep with limo luxury.


In total, some 60,000 MG Metros were made between 1982 and 1990. If you can find one now, you only need to pay under £4000 for something worth having and half this for a fair alternative but in need of TLC. There doesn’t appear to be much variance in prices between the different models.

Buying advice

Rust is the main worry as they rot as badly as the Mini although post ’88 models are said to be better protected. Check usual Mini areas especially the subframe and pay close attention to box section behind front valance, seat belt mounting points and inner panels. The front wings are unique to the Turbo and naturally specific trim is hard to come by. All exterior panels rust so check for filler.

A Plus-Series engines are becoming scarce and expensive (Mini owners want them!) plus the MG Metro has specific features such as camshaft and ignition; as it wears a single carb like the lesser Metros, is it still the correct MG engine?

Turbo engines has special distributor (another popular Mini fit – has it been swapped?) and isn’t recommended to run on normal unleaded without an additive; always use quality fuel to avoid pinking and holed pistons. Turbo also prone to wear and oil feed pipe prone to rotting as is oil cooler assembly.

Weakest link is the transmission, particularly on the harder worked Turbo, so expect to find wear and noise. Hydragas spheres are now obsolete so you need to use second-hand ones. Front brakes special to Turbo and hard to find replacements (Mini tuners again!), as is dedicated MG interior trim.

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