Fleet News

X-rated cars aim to boost Rover's image

BACK-from-the-brink MG Rover has unveiled its new range of X-rated cars designed to revitalise the sporty image of the brand and appeal to user-choosers. Three models codenamed X10, X20 and X30 - their official names have yet to be announced - were revealed at MG Rover's Longbridge factory this week.

The cars will enter showrooms in readiness for September's new-style registration plate with prices ranging from under £10,000 for the entry-level X30 to more than £30,000 for the ultimate X10. Fleet sales director Angus Gray said: 'The MGs won't appeal to everyone but there will be strong appeal for user-choosers. Every salesman with a company car likes to have something new to talk about and this is the first activity of the new company where we can say we have delivered it.'

MG Rover stressed the sporting strategy was different from the 'badge engineering' of the 1980s which introduced the MG Metro, Maestro and Montego. Vehicle development began while Rover was still owned by BMW. Heading up the range is the X10, based on the Rover 75, with the core model using a V8 engine developing 260bhp. There will be a 158bhp V6 version of the X10 with similar styling, but the ultimate model will be a radically re-engineered rear wheel drive 370bhp version.

The X20, based on the Rover 45, will be available as a four-door saloon or five-door hatchback. The core model will use a 175bhp version of the 2.5 litre KV6, with similar chassis tweaks to the X10, with 17-inch wheels and similar design changes to the X10. Other X20 models include a 1.6 and 1.8 litre, and a 'performance diesel' using a 2.0 turbodiesel unit.

The X30, based on the current Rover 25, will be the 'hot hatch' of the range, with the core version using the 158bhp VVC engine from the new MGF Trophy 160 SE. Styling enhancements and chassis improvements reflect the changes carried out in the X10 and X20, and the entry level version, using a 1.4-litre engine, will be priced at around £10,000. Other engine options include a 1.8 petrol and 2.0 turbodiesel.

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