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Priced from £26,000 (estimated)

MG's first purpose-built electric car has the potential to cause waves in the electric car market. Does it live up to the hype? We drove a prototype to find out

Score

9/10

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  • Battery: 64kWh
  • Miles per kWh: 4.4 (est)
  • E-Rating™: A+

    Click here to find out more about our electric car Efficiency Rating.​

  • Max charge rate: 125 kW
  • WLTP Range: 280 miles
  • Real world range: 224 miles
  • Electrifying.com E-Rating A+
Driven and reviewed by Electrifying.com・ Published: 19/07/2022・Updated: 25/07/2022

Ginny Says

“This car really can't arrive soon enough. There's a huge market for a sensibly-priced five-seater hatchback and it looks as though MG will be the first brand to step up. The range looks great, the design is appealing and if MG can hit that price target, the only problem will be meeting demand.”

Nicki Says

“While I like the MG5 and ZS, neither are cars that I would describe as desirable. The MG4 on the other hand looks the real deal. The design looks seriously sharp and the return to the classic hatchback shape is a good move. I really can't wait to put one through the Electrifying.com test procedure when it arrives.”

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To many casual observers, MG is one of the least likely names to be leading the electric car revolution. Famed for its leaky but quintessentially British two-seater sports cars, its reinvention as an electric car brand still comes as a surprise to new buyers. But here we are, almost two decades after Chinese automotive giant SAIC acquired the naming rights and battery-powered MGs are among the most in-demand affordable electric cars in the industry. MG now outsells Alfa Romeo and Subaru and has gone from being a rank outsider in the business to being one of the hottest properties. 

And if you thought the MG 5 and ZS were perfect examples of how to make great electric cars for those without a six figure salary, the arrival of the MG4 is about to cause a huge stir. It will be the first MG built on a bespoke, designed-for-electric set of underpinnings. Aimed fairly and squarely at the Volkswagen ID.3 (the dimensions are almost identical), the MG4’s foundations (known as the Modular Scalable Platform (MSP)) will eventually spawn further all-electric models in the same way that Volkswagen’s ID. platform sits underneath a range of cars, from the ID. Buzz to the Cupra Born. 

Ahead of its UK launch in September, Electrifying.com has been given early access to a prototype car. While some aspects of the car such as suspension settings have yet to be finalised for European-spec cars, the drive gives us our first chance to sample the MG4 for the first time. 

MG4 design
Like many electric cars, the MG4 looks quite different in the metal. However, even with the clever camouflage of our pilot-build prototype, it’s clear that the MG4 will be the sharpest and most distinctive electric MG yet. The edges look crisp, the detailing neatly resolved and the whole shape of the car looks more family hatchback than compact SUV. Expect the un-wrapped final version with arch-filling alloy wheels to look an absolute peach when it arrives on UK roads. 

Climb inside and the advantages of MG’s purpose-built underpinnings are obvious. The flat floor and lack of an engine bay means that there is plenty of legroom all round. Despite being a physically smaller car than the MG5 estate, the 4 feels the more spacious of the two, and thanks to an open-plan dashboard arrangement, it feels more contemporary, too. 

While the interior of our prototype was draped in protective mats to hide the finer points of the design, MG left enough on display for us to get a feel of the layout. A small screen sits just behind the steering wheel with a larger one above the centre console –  similar to Volkswagen’s ID models. Unlike the German car, however, MG has opted to install a row of physical buttons instead of the haptic switches and slider. 

The driving position feels natural and more like a traditional hatchback than an SUV. You do sit a little higher than you would in, say, a Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus, but thanks to plenty of adjustment on the steering column and seat, it's easy to find a comfortable driving position. The seats themselves are sharply sculpted and offer plenty of side and under-thigh support. Our only concern is the gear selector plinth that juts out from the centre console. Those with longer legs will find the edge a little too close to their knees - especially when getting inside in a hurry. 

Further back, the boot is wide and decently shaped. MG has yet to announce a final capacity figure, but the load floor is wide and should easily be able to accommodate enough luggage for a week away. 


MG4 battery and charging
The MG4 comes with a new 64kWh battery, which is unusually flat at just 110mm high. The means that MG has been able to reduce the height of the car without compromising on cabin space. Sit in the back of an MG or even something like a Tesla Model 3, and you’ll notice that there’s a distinct shortage of foot space between the floor the front seats. In the MG4, you can happily wear a pair of workboots and still have space to move your feet. 

In terms of range, MG is predicting that the 4 will have an official WLTP figure of 280 miles, which should translate to around 230 miles of real world range. According to MG bosses, the 4 range will eventually expand to have a cheaper 51kWh version with a range of around 218 miles and a high performance 400bhp, all-wheel drive model at the top of the line-up. 

Like Volkswagen ID models, the MG4 is rear-wheel drive in standard form with the launch model coming with a 204bhp motor. Although MG has yet to reveal exact performance figures, brand bosses expect the launch car to reach 62mph in around eight seconds, which puts it on a par with the ID.3. 

Drivers frustrated by the MG5 and ZS’s rapid charging capabilities (that tops out at 87kW on the the MG5) will be delighted to know that the MG4 is able to accept a rapid DC charge at speeds of up to 125kW. That means an 80% charge can be completed in just 31 minutes on a 150kW or faster charger. Launch cars will be equipped with a 7.4kW AC charger which will deliver a 100% from empty in just over 10 hours. 

MG4 on the road
On the road, the MG4 delivers a sportier and more engaging drive than both the 5 and the ZS. The steering is nicely weighted and precise while the low roofline and slimline battery pack means that body roll is almost non-existent. The ride quality is good, and while it feels firmer and sportier than the 5, it soaks up bumps well and never feels overly stiff. That said, we’ll reserve final judgment until we’ve driven the final version on UK roads.

The only slight question mark surrounds the assistance systems that on our prototype felt a little intrusive and far too keen to intervene. MG bosses say that the development cars will cover around 75,000 miles in Europe before calibration levels are set, and that final cars are likely to feel much more polished than the version we drove. 

MG4 prices and equipment 
While we now know that the MG4 will be a very competent package with a decent range and a good driving experience, the one missing piece of the puzzle is price. MG’s European bosses hope to bring the MG4 to market for ‘under 30,000 euros’ which roughly converts to around £25,000. With the facelifted MG5 having recently moved out of the £25k-£30k price bracket (prices start at just over £30,000), the prospect of the MG4 landing with a price tag of around £26,000 looks to be a realistic one. Fingers crossed. 

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