MG’s first electric sports car has been tested ahead of its expected unveiling this year.
Spy pictures published by Xcar and Weibo users Enric Gu show MG Cyberster’s slinky body, tight overhangs and fabric roof.
A leaked patent image of the production model appears in early 2022 although, notably, the front end of the sneak peek looks shorter than this image and closer to the initial concept.
Autocar reported last year that the production drop-top EV’s reveal had been delayed to April 2023. It was reportedly set for a debut at the Guangzhou motor show before that was pushed back.
The same report says UK deliveries will start in 2024 as previously reported – just in time for the centenary MG brand.
MG Australia previously said it was considering bringing an electric roadster here, as it would be built in right-hand drive.
“We can confirm that we are reviewing the MG Cyberster for the Australian and New Zealand markets in right-hand drive configuration and are currently exploring different variants and specifications,” an MG Motor Australia spokesperson said last August.
It will offer a choice of single-motor or “very high-performance” dual-motor engines according to MG UK commercial director Guy Pigounakis, the former of which may send drive to the rear wheels as in the new MG 4.
How exactly it will be priced and positioned in MG’s heavy crossover lineup is unclear.
“Until when [first full-scale production prototype from China] is arriving [in the UK] we see it as a natural successor to the MG F. It is absolutely not. It’s in a completely different market sector,” said Mr Pigounakis.
Although its role as the brand’s only sports car will give it a halo effect, Mr Pigounakis’ statement suggests production of the Cyberster is potentially more expensive than expected.
According to a recent trademark filing, MG could call it the C EV – a nod to the old six-cylinder, MG C-based MG B.
Indeed, MG captioned the teaser video with “return of the legend”, pointing to the brand cleaning up the old nameplate.
A low-res teaser video, uploaded to MG UK’s social media, gives us a preview of what the production Cyberster looks like.
While there are still bold Union Jack-style curves and taillights, as well as an equally aggressive prow, the proportions are quite different from the concept – not that it’s exactly production-ready in appearance.
Technical specifications have yet to be revealed, although the concept has a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 3.0 seconds and a range of 800km.
Expect the production version of the MG Cyberster to have a slightly lower performance and figure range.
MG has yet to confirm what platform the vehicle will use, although its new Modular Scale Platform – which underpins the MG 4 – appears to be a possible option.
The small electric hatchback offers 51kWh and 64kWh battery options, with a range of between 350km and 450km on the WLTP cycle.
The entry-level version, which has been approved for local sale ahead of launch in the first half of 2023, produces 125kW of power.
Another single-motor rear-wheel drive version is available overseas and may come here, and produces 150kW of power.
Finally, the MG Mulan – as the MG 4 is known in China – is offered with a 330kW/600Nm dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrain.
This Cyberster will basically have no competition once it launches.
Given MG’s positioning as more of a value-oriented brand, production of the Cyberster will likely undercut upcoming electric sports cars such as the Lotus Type 135, due in 2026, and the Alpine A110 replacement that will share its platform, as well as Tesla’s next Roadster.
Porsche is also preparing electric replacements for its 718 Boxster and Cayman, which are expected to arrive around 2024 or 2025.
Although MG has always offered a range of sedans and/or hatchbacks, since its inception in the UK in 1924, the demise of the TF droptop in 2011 led to one of the longest droughts without a sports car.