Automotive

MG Cyberster e-roadster begs to be judged by the cover, not title

MG Cyberster e-roadster begs t...
MG previews the Cyberster concept before its Auto Shanghai debut later this month
MG previews the Cyberster concept before its Auto Shanghai debut later this month
View 4 Images
MG previews the Cyberster concept before its Auto Shanghai debut later this month
1/4
MG previews the Cyberster concept before its Auto Shanghai debut later this month
MG's grille design looks to heavy and "smiley" to us when viewed head on
2/4
MG's grille design looks to heavy and "smiley" to us when viewed head on
The rear-end is framed out by a three-sided rectangular outline LED and includes Union Jack-inspired taillights
3/4
The rear-end is framed out by a three-sided rectangular outline LED and includes Union Jack-inspired taillights
The Kamm tail feels like a drastic end to the otherwise curvy, flowing design
4/4
The Kamm tail feels like a drastic end to the otherwise curvy, flowing design
View gallery - 4 images

When it comes to China-debuted concept cars from the modern-day, SAIC-owned MG, we've seen the magnetically gorgeous, the really weird and the entirely forgettable. The new Cyberster promises to be all three, flashing a bevy of beautiful curves, answering to an odd name that feels like an April Fool's joke Elon Musk thought up while high, and wearing some styling cues we intend to forget.

We could probably find it in our hearts to forgive MG for creating a portmanteau of Tesla model names (Cybertruck and Roadster) — the Cyberster is just a concept car, after all. But to earn that forgiveness, the name would actually have to work on some level. Cyberster looks awkward, has to be essentially hocked out of the mouth, and doesn't appear to have any meaning original enough to prevent it from feeling like a Tesla ripoff every time it's uttered or eyed.

Luckily, the awkward name largely takes care of the "really weird" part of the Cyberster equation. The car itself looks rather stunning, particularly from the angle pictured at top.

MG says the headlights were inspired by the rounds of its classics, but they remind us more of a modern-day Jaguar E-type interpretation. They rely on "Magic Eye" operation to open when turned on, but to be honest, we're not sure if they're open or closed in the first set of teaser pictures. It feels like they could be open, using an extremely thin LED or laser outline configuration, but they might be closed, hinting at the more robust lamps below retracting eyelids. Either way, the lights look quite unique and compelling, especially on their perch at the front of voluptuous fenders that burst forward from the more compacted muscle mass over the rear tires.

MG's grille design looks to heavy and "smiley" to us when viewed head on
MG's grille design looks to heavy and "smiley" to us when viewed head on

Where we run into some styling we find mediocre and forgettable is in the lower grille design. It looks sporty and performance-focused from the initial tilted three-quarter angle, but from straight-on, it looks uncomfortably like a creepy clown smile, complete with a pair of fangs in the center. We can't imagine a world in which the grille wouldn't look better if it were straightened, shortened and thinned, or simply deleted entirely.

The mediocrity continues around back, where the MG Advanced Design London team opts for a Kamm tail, a feature that might work if it had a little more curve or style to it. As it is, the flat, rectangular fascia framed neatly on the sides and top by strips of LEDs feels out of place on the otherwise sleek, curvaceous electric roadster. We do like the Union Jack-inspired taillamps, though that idea is no more original than the concept name.

The rear-end is framed out by a three-sided rectangular outline LED and includes Union Jack-inspired taillights
The rear-end is framed out by a three-sided rectangular outline LED and includes Union Jack-inspired taillights

"The Cyberster is a bold statement that looks strongly into MG’s future, touching on our heritage but more importantly building on our cutting edge technology and advanced design," explains Carl Gotham, director of SAIC Design Advanced London. "Sports cars are the lifeblood of the MG DNA and Cyberster is a hugely exciting concept for us."

The Cyberster has an electric powertrain and comes loaded with hopeful numbers like a 500-mile (800-km) range and three-second 0-62 mph (100 km/h). MG says it also features 5G connectivity.

MG will divulge more details about the Cyberster during the world premiere at Auto Shanghai 2021, which opens to the media on April 19. Perhaps the more awkward bits of styling will come together better in the bright light of the expo hall.

Source: MG

View gallery - 4 images
7 comments
7 comments
paleochocolate
British in the back and Chinese in the front, lmao!
minivini
Everything but that butt. The rear end is unappealing in every possible way.
Kevin Ritchey
Looks impractical and comes from a heritage equal to Fiat.
Unsold
The front is a little MG, but the balance is not only NOT MG, but it's unrelated to the front. I think the designer is struggling with this or doesn't understand the history of the brand. With so many iconic design cues, seems they chose to ignore all of them. And MINI already did union jack tail lights. And they did it better.

I think this is the problem when buying a national brand in an international market. You don't discard what makes it iconic. This reimaging didn't deliver the joy you get from variation on a theme. There's no expression of the evolution of the brand. The audience is lost. There are no touchpoints, just a melange of ideas thrown together.

A side view would have helped, but from what I can see, would just increase the dissonance. They should have gone to an Italian coachwork firm if they wanted to walk that traditional equity line into the future. And while we're at it, when was an MG ever relatable to a supercar? This tries too hard to be something that it shouldn't be.
SpudWahene
From the rear it reminds me of one of those 'race car' shaped beds for children. Ugh.
Daishi
Regardless of specs or looks I think they could sell these if they got them to market..like a year ago. There are dozens (hundreds?) of car companies (startup or otherwise) planning to launch a while bunch of electric models in the next couple years. Many of them are racing to occupy holes in the Tesla lineup before Tesla does.
Aermaco
I am sorry to counter the views expressed so far but I made a photoshop of the two side views from an image search. In the front and the rear views I also REMOVED that horrible fad of near total darkness where you can't see what they only "try" to show you in most auto renderings these days.

The front is very reminiscent of an F-1 car with a functional aerodynamic low air dam but yes a bit too much clown face and the rear reminds me of my all time favorite car due to it both being the quickest concept ever with massive ground effects thus outlawed in its first racing season due to its super road glue. Then it was design built by one of the greatest auto innovators of all time. Thus MG rear reminds me of Jim Halls 2-J but is much better than the 2-J rear end which was at best Form Follows Function purity while it had a very powerful front end. It looks like we can't post images here, so check out the very nice side views in a search. The Union Jack tail lights are more just literal directionals someone needed to do like all logical instantly recognizable directional signs.