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MGF Published: 16th May 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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At last, the first new MG sports car for donkey’s years which wasn’t the same old, same old. MG may have been out of the game for almost two decades but it kept abreast with fast changing times and the MGF’s design has hardly dated since its launch. Apart from being fine driving, MGFs are cheap and easy to own with usual MG support.


While Mazda opted for retro with its conventional MX-5, MG went radical with a mid-engine, Allegrosourced gas suspension design…

Don’t laugh – retuned, it works well with this mid-engine layout, giving an amazing ride for such a full on sports car. Another pleasant surprise is the MGF’s sheer userfriendliness for such an extreme chassis concept as mid-ship chassis layouts inherently can be quite unforgiving on the limit but this simply isn’t the case with a good well sorted and tyred MGF.

Performance from the crisp K-Series engine is zesty across the range (even the entry level 1.6 is unexpectedly livelier than you’d give it credit for); it’s just that the MGF can feel a tad lazy due to the unusually high gearing employed – you really need to drop a cog or two to make one fly – but the payback is outstanding fuel economy with some owners reporting almost 40mpg. But perhaps best thing of all is that the F looks, and feels, like a proper MG should!



It’s hard to find a better value serious sports car than this MG but on the other hand, many are in sorry state and hardly worth saving let alone owning. Given their low prices, buy the best you can from the outset and look to one of a number of specialists who are retailing guaranteed, refurbished cars (complete with new head gaskets etc) from around £4500 upwards if you can stretch to this.



1995 Launched, to instant acclaim; up gunned 1.8-litre version of the new K-Series for 120bhp. Five-speed plus electrically-operated power steering is optional

1996 VVC-equipped cars comes with enticing rev-happy 145bhp

1997 First of a long series of special editions is announced: the Abingdon: Brooklands Green paint, beige leather trim and hood, 16-inch alloys and some extra chrome

1999 The next to appear is, the 75 LE, commemorating 75 years of MG production. With black and red paint, leather and extra chrome, there are also 16-inch alloys. Revised MGF is announced for 2000 with detail changes and a body-coloured windscreen surround. Also, the CVT Steptronic joins the range, with paddle-shifts and six ratios and another limited edition; the Wedgwood SE

2001 1.6 and 160 Trophy top and tail the range


Top five faults



Most have been neglected due to low values. Plenty around so choose with care



K-Series head gasket is a weak spot – not a case of if but when… The key is to ensure the coolant level is maintained. Fixing a blown head gasket costs around £500 and as a result can write off many average examples


Most vulnerable areas include sills, floorpan, suspension points, subframes and wheel arches. BMH has some panels though


Gas spheres leak and replacement hard to find; most will be out of gas by now. Also geometry is critical and rarely right. Specialist Mike Satur has just released new coil-over conversion kit (see News pages)

Running gear

Rear brake callipers seize and replacement is usually only cure; gear linkages can play up but worst transmission fault concerns the automatics which not only stump performance but are notoriously unreliable and repairs (think up to £3000) invariably outstrip the value of majority of cars

Best models



Adequate performance for many and there’s more of them. Smaller, sweeter 1.6 isn’t the sluggard you’d expect from 115bhp either



Variable valve timing gives the MGF the zest it needs and is no harder to maintain; tuned ones may have system disconnected however



Best specified; 160bhp tune. Other benefits include huge AP racing-style front callipers now gripping vented discs plus a special lowered suspension

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