Fleet News

MG TF 160 - 6,332 miles

Review

SUMMER'S here and the time is right for jumping into a sports car with the top down for some country lane cruising.

By the time this report reaches you, we could be back to getting a tan from sitting in the English rain, but I managed to drive the MG just in time for an almost thermo-nuclear blast of sunshine that greeted the beginning of last weekend.

Expectations were high. Pictures of the MG published at the time of launch in Fleet News showed MG had made an impressive job refreshing the MGF. After all, it was a daunting challenge – the car is six years old, has sold 40,000 units in the UK and has topped the roadster sales sector in that time.

The softening of the lines, most noticeably at the front end, makes this a striking car to look at, boosted on our test car by the 16-inch 11-spoke alloy wheels and subtle touches like the chrome filler cap and door handles.

Inside, however, the story is mixed. The deep red seat covers, door lining and dash are classy-looking, although a colleague questioned whether the long-term effects of sunlight would fade this.

The chrome effect continues inside with a tasty-looking gear knob. But take a closer look and you'll notice old fittings that have found their way into generations of Rovers – the indicator stalks, steering wheel and air vents for a example – and a cold front begins to move in.

Visibility through the rear plastic screen of the hood is also less than clear. It makes the world look misty and rainy.

MG makes much of the driving pleasure of this car. In putting this to the test I discovered what the TF stands for – tight fit. I'm tall and, I suddenly discovered, also rather bendy. I have to be to get into this car.

Once in, the steering wheel rubbed against each of my knees. Why couldn't MG have allowed the wheel to move an inch higher? It would have made all the difference to my driving experience. You can get used to just about anything though and after driving more than 50 miles this weekend I can still walk.

The roar of the 1.8-litre engine behind my head as I tested the official 0-60mph figure of 8.2 seconds on quiet Fen roads was a real pleasure.

Imagine having Kipling's black panther Bagheera sitting behind you. You feel the power of this mid-engined sports car in every bone and there is bags of power on hand.

But the suspension seemed over-soft and my partner complained of feeling sick after the shortest of drives, although my 0-60mph test may have contributed to this! The MG TF really does show up the poor state of many of our roads. Add the road noise to the wind noise and you have to turn the stereo up really loud to hear it.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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