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MG Z Published: 17th May 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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To be blunt, this pair are not much more than warmed up old Rovers yet, MG engineers did a fine job transforming how they drove. It’s hard to beat them for value if you’re after a modern classic, or a different sort of sporty daily driver. These are increasingly being seen at shows with good owners’ club back up in support. It’s true that many look a bit boy racer, with their lurid colours and bodykits, but in many ways that’s also their key appeal, especially with younger enthusiasts who like to customise them further. The roomy five-door ZS is great for the enthusiast with a family to consider with pleasing trim levels.


Both drive completely different to the Rovers that they are based upon – which was a good start. The 200-derived ZR, for instance is true hot hatch in the best sense with its specially tuned chassis while the larger (400 derived) ZS was designed with circuit racing in mind; those fancy spoilers and air dams that it wears weren’t just for show you know and play a major part in the way this ZS drives and handles, especially the delightful V6 versions. The ZR benefits from a tax friendly yet peppy 1.4 model plus there’s five-door versions on all. A rare ZR van that hardly drives like one was also made!



You see quite respectable looking cars sell at auction for only a few hundred quid (good for future spares if nothing else) and only £2000 is the ceiling to buy the best around – so why waste your money on a shed that’ll be uneconomic to make good? There are certain exceptions, such as the MGF VVC-engined Rover BRM special edition and limited-run Monogram ZR and ZS cars which were launched in 2002; these are certain to rise in value and interest in years to come so buy now and sit pretty. We can also see the V6 models becoming wanted but steer clear of a diesel as good as they still are…



2001 ZR and ZS launched, based upon Rover 200/400 (later known as 25/45 ranges from 1999) but greatly modified all round; choice 1.4, 1.6 and 1.8 engines plus 2.5 V6 for the ZS

2004 Revise (along with Rovers) sees mild facelift. Trophy and Trophy SE models added plus a Monogram personalisation package. ZS further gained a better interior plus optional bodykit derived from the MG XPower SV (rare finds) and chassis tweaks

2005 Ranges discontinued with the demise of the MG although cars hung around in showrooms for a good while


Top five faults



Thrashed and crashed, apart from track days, they also make effective cheap racers in dedicated MG championships – you can certainly have some fun with these modern MGs so check their history…


Has tendency to pop head gaskets; after 2002, but improved gasket designs are now available to largely cure this fault. Also the variable valve timed model (VVC) wants a careful investigation to ensure if it’s working properly


Rapid KV6 engines can pose a major reliability concern, not least because parts are drying up, so check for a service history


Gearbox whine and wear is common. The CVT automatic is not really the best of its type and if it plays up will probably render the car as scrap as repairs can run into thousands AOB Electrical (plus ABS) problems aren’t unknown; the biggest concern has to be successive bodging, over the years, due to their low values and originality is a rare find


Best models



Great little pocket rocket, also available as a five-door, that offers more cheap thrills than any other modern rival; Trophy trim levels well worth seeking out



Designed for the tracks, and drives like it, the ZS is best in swift and smooth 175bhp V6 guise; post 2004 cars gained chassis improvements



Pays homage to Rover-BRM Le Mans racer tie up during the mid 60s. Has 158bhp 1.8 VVC (more than MGF) and a great cabin. A future classic


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