MG4 Electric hatch undergoes final road test ahead of European launch
MG has announced an upcoming European market launch for a new compact electric hatchback called the MG4 Electric, which is the first to be built on a Modular Scalable Platform developed by parent company SAIC Motor.
Though many will associate the MG name with classy Brit two-seat sports convertibles like the MGB, since being bought by the Nanjing Auto Group (which merged with SAIC Motor in 2007) the brand has mostly focused on producing hatchbacks and SUVs, and launched its first electric crossover in 2019.
But where the EZS was essentially an electric version of an existing combustion-engine model, the MG4 Electric is a new design based on the parent company's Modular Scalable Platform – or Nebula platform in China – that's said to offer "many benefits in terms of flexibility, use of space, safety, driving experience, weight saving, and advanced technologies."
The platform is scalable to support wheelbases of 2,650 to 3,100 mm (104-122 in), meaning that vehicles ranging from hatchbacks (like the MG4 Electric) to saloons and SUVs to vans could be on the horizon.
It also features a One Pack battery solution with a recumbent cell arrangement that can range from 40 to 150 kWh capacities and allows for a battery pack height of just 110 mm (4.3 in), which is the flattest battery that SAIC has developed and is reckoned to be the thinnest in its class.
"In the 'One Pack' battery system developed by SAIC Motor, the projection area of all batteries on the Modular Scalable Platform is the same; the connectors related to other components are also the same," said SAIC Motor's Zhu Jun. "Under this design concept, theoretically, batteries ranging from 40 kWh to 150 kWh can be easily achieved. It can meet the energy requirements of the A0 to D class models, providing users with flexible and diverse choices. Users can buy a small battery first, and then replace and upgrade when a longer range is needed."
MG says that the MSP architecture has also been future-proofed to some degree as well, already allowing for over-the-air updates to be applied with possible future upgrades including bumping from 400-V to 800-V fast-charging, setting up the platform for battery swap services and kitting it out for autonomous driving.
For the five-door MG4 Electric, this all translates to a vehicle intended to occupy the European C-segment, with a length of 4,287 mm (168.7 in), a width of 1,836 mm (72.3 in) and a height of 1,504 mm (59.2 in). Two battery capacities are being made available at launch – a 51-kWh pack for a WLTP per-charge range of up to 350 km (217.5 miles), and a 64-kWh version that extends the range up to 450 km (279.6 miles) – but possibly other variants will be added later.
That lower capacity One Pack is paired with a 125-kW motor, while the larger battery pack combines with a 150-kW motor. Either way, the rear-wheel-drive hatch is reported capable of a 0-100-km/h (0-62-mph) sprint in 8 seconds on its way to a top speed of 160 km/h (99.4 mph), while a 50:50 weight distribution makes for "better handling, more direct steering movements and fast cornering."
The upcoming electric hatch wears somewhat aggressive styling, featuring sizable vertical side air intakes under squinting headlights up front, sculpted creasing on the doors, shapely two-tone wheels, and a split rear spoiler to the top of a crossover-like back end with a large skid plate and a tail light that, save for badging, spans the whole width of the vehicle.
Inside, the driver is treated to a relatively fuss-free cabin rocking a tablet-like digital instrument cluster and central infotainment screen with angled button controls underneath. The steering wheel has flattened edges top and bottom with a split lower lip, and the floating center console is home to a drive mode dial and parking brake as well as some storage for a smartphone.
MG reports that the MG4 Electric is currently undergoing final endurance testing ahead of an expected Q4 launch in Europe, with the right-hand-drive model confirmed for UK availability from September. Further information, including pricing, will be available closer to launch.