Fleet News

MG ZS 180


FOR those of us old enough to remember the MG Maestro, the announcement of a range of sporty derivatives based on current Rover cars was enough to send a chill down the spine.

The hot hatch was adequate in its day - alongside the smaller MG Metro and larger MG Montego - and the Turbo model was quite fun in a 'baseball cap and squealing front tyres' sort of way.

But even senior MG Rover personnel admitted that with hindsight, the cars now seem 'a bit naff'. Were the current custodians of the prestigious MG marque prepared to devalue it again in a bid to pep up its range?

A month before the unveiling in January, I was told by a senior MG Rover insider than the most dramatic transformation would be with the car based on the Rover 45 - then codenamed X20.

Seeing the cars in the metal for the first time proved him right - the car which would later be designated the ZS looked like a Rover 45 that has had several thousand pounds spent on it by a Max Power devotee, with a huge rear wing, lowered suspension, imposing alloy wheels and an intimidating mesh-grilled front end.

The MGs would have significant appeal for user choosers, we were told - for people with a preference for raw performance and slick handling and who would appreciate the significant re-engineering that had taken place along with the cosmetic changes.

There are three versions of the ZS - including a manual and CVT automatic version using a 118bhp version of the 1.8 litre K-Series engine.

For now the top ZS model is the ZS 180 and it goes up against the hottest lower-medium hatches (and saloons) and is priced at £16,395 on the road for the four-door saloon.

However, if you choose the five-door hatchback you make an £800 saving on list price and the hatchback is more desirable as a used car boosting its residual value, so we decided to go for the five-door at £15,595 on the road.

Boasting a 175bhp 2.5-litre V6, the ZS 180 is currently the fastest accelerating of the new MGs, thanks to its strong power-to weight ratio.

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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