Top Gear - MG SV-R

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Sep 29, 2004.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    The new SV-R has a barking V8 and riotous styling - but is it too much money at ?85,000?

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [September 01 2004]

    The hedge is being sucked into its wake, the road collapsing in on itself like an earthquake B-movie finale. Little rooster-tails of dust kicked up from behind as the blare of that five-litre V8 deep-throats your ear canal and plays tribal drums with the tiny, wobbly bones. Small, furry animals are sucked whole through the front grille and spat out through the gill slits behind the front wheels as Mrs Tiggywinkle organic mince, extra lean. Wild boar calm down a bit. Homing pigeons decide not to. Swifts are forced to have an entirely unscheduled sit down. The world waits for the MG SV to pass without realising that it's holding its breath.

    It couldn't have been more shocking if Glenn Miller had stood up in front of his big band orchestra, gobbed at the audience and launched into the opening line "I am an anar-chist. I am the Anti-christ' before diving into the audience. Good on MG, that octagonal bastion of respected but undesirable semi-sporting Rovers, for making a car that looks like the bastard of a deranged, steriod-abusing pit bull and HR Giger's 'scary' phase. No car has been this unapologetic about it's looks since the Countach, another car whose design language seemed to be based entirely on expletives.

    It doesn't help that our SV-R is painted bright red and sports the full wing package. It's a pint of lager to the Porsche 911's Chardonnay. And it doesn't give a four-X who knows it. Other road users widen their eyes, sit back slightly and gawp. As we pass you see them mouth to themselves: "Em... Gee..." followed by a puzzled, uncomprehending turning down of the mouth, as if those two letters mean nothing to the British public. Which, in the context of the SV, they probably don't.

    Thing is, people are used to MG being the mild-mannered scientist David Banner in the shape of the MG ZT. They have no idea about all those unresolved issues with anger management, and the SV is what happens when you get on his irradiated nerves. It seems entirely built up of muscle and sinew, corded taut against the paintwork, looking ready to pop clean out of its carbon clothing and smash something up for no other reason than the release of violence, a tattered cam-cover remaining to hide its modesty. There's no real way to describe it but brutal. It's what MG would refer to as a halo car. A car that has been touted as a new icon.

    A car that has much to prove. Driving it, it feels like it looks. Like a muscle car. Like a giant Nissan 350Z, in fact, with that double-wishbone rear end allowing a bit of squat and squirm. Power oversteer is easily available in this 385bhp SV-R with little coaxing, albeit with most of the power fizzed away by the unloaded inside rear unless really provoked by mass and momentum. There's a brawny feel to it, a heft. That obscurely satisfying feeling when you palm a ball-bearing. It helps that the steering isn't helium light; accurate, tight, enough to let you know that the damping is adequate on our bumpy roads, but never dislocated.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The car itself doesn't feel featherweight at 1,500kg - even with a body made entirely of carbon fibre - because the chassis and integrated roll cage is still made of steel box frame, but the centre of gravity is low and the grip is crisp enough to make you want to push harder. The pedal box is to be changed, the current set-up too far apart for any kind of heel-and-toe blip, which would be handy to mitigate some of this hulking great five-speeder's (now standard in the SV) body-builder action. It's also currently got too-short a throttle pedal so that your foot can slip off the face if you try to keep your heel on the carpet. But the meaty gearbox and giant pedals aren't the real issues here, because they kind of suit the feel of the car.

    They suit because you're always aware of the physicality. It feels big. Wide. Those arches bulk roadspace like a lorry, and with the mirrors included the car is near-as-dammit two metres across, enough to give you serious pinch on British roads and enough to entirely fill a rear-view mirror of the average family car from about a mile back. The SV-R's mirror is filled with wing. It's a good thing that these brakes will haul the package to a stop faster than you'd reasonably expect, given the iceberg road footprint.

    Third gear is proving popular. On these roads there's not much need for any other cog position, not with an engine this big and a torque curve this handy. Second is a place to foray briefly when you fancy testing the traction of those 19-inch, 265-width rear tyres. The engine is a surprise, not quite just the low-rev lugger you might have expected because it's happy to rev out. First isn't really necessary at junctions, it feels comfortable pulling off in second. The MG even smells right. Leather. Brakes. And a tertiary scent underlaying it all...of, um, super unleaded.

    The hyperbole in the brochure would make you believe that the SV is a car capable of face-deforming g-force acceleration but it has to be said that this SV-R isn't that quick. Of course, it's quick in terms of cars in general at just over five seconds to the benchmark, but not cars that have this kind of visual over-commitment. The interior is ok, functional but not in terms of a car that needs to be more than 'just enough'.

    It will be terribly exclusive - a limited production run will see to that - but you can't help feeling that owners will be better off not telling people how much they paid.

    The bare bones of the matter are that if this car delivered on a £50k or even £60k price tag, I'd be happy to make a recommendation based on the character, dynamics and the fact that it's not a Porsche. Something for the early-adopter, something to amuse and delight and sod the realities. A car whose deficiencies we could forgive because of a colourful character. Like that friend who tends to be slightly offensive. But realities are harsh, flourescent and unforgiving; the SV-R is at least £25k too much cash to be even remotely convincing. It's a curio, a thing to relish the existence of in an increasingly textureless world of German cyborg-efficacy and soulless thermonuclear engines. But it isn't a car to make people think the MG SV is anything other than a decent car that costs far, far too much for what it delivers. And that, is a real shame.

    Tom Ford

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Clarkson Says...

    It's rubbish really. The driving position is rotten. The pedals are in the wrong place for human feet. I damn nearly knocked my head off on the integrated roll-over bar. And the quality of the interior fixtures and fittings would be more appropriate on a Chinese-made fairground prize.

    Then you've got that five-litre engine which, I think I'm right in saying, was originally designed to run on low-grade coal, and the new standard five-speed manual gearbox which appears to have been lifted piecemeal from a signal box on Brunel's atmospheric rail network in Devon.

    The thing is though, I rather like it. Look at it this way. The alternatives from Mercedes and BMW are a bit like The Matrix. Technically brilliant, with their computerised this and their digi-effect that. But when all is said and done, they're sanitised and over complicated. Ok, so they work. They deliver on the predictions made by men with rimless glasses and slightly pinched expressions, whose white coats are capable of taking the Daz Challenge and burning Shane Ritchie at the stake. But from the emotional stance, they're difficult to love.

    The MG's more like Touching the Void, that remarkable film in which a mountaineer left for dead hauls himself and his broken leg back to civilisation. There are no computer graphics and no whizz-bang tweakery in the final edit. You just get a simple, astonishing story, well told.

    It's one man's heroic attempt to stay alive in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Almost a metaphor for Rover itself, you could argue. MG has taken on a project to bring the SV to market and managed it. They went a bit wild in the original marketing material, they got so excited. And that's the problem.

    The trouble is that putting a price tag of £85,000 on the SV is a bit like the climber making it down the mountain, and then shooting himself in the foot. Not such a happy ending.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Model: MG SV-R
    Dimensions: Overall length 4,480mm, overall width 1,995mm, height 1,320mm
    Kerb weight: 1,500kg (3,307lbs)
    Engine type: V8
    Total displacement: 4996cc
    Maximum power: 385bhp at 6,000rpm
    Maximum torque: 375lbft at 4,750rpm

    Power-to-weight ratio: 210bhp/tonne
    Performance: Maximum speed 175mph, 0-62mph (0-100kph) 5.1secs
    Transmission: Five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive, limited-slip differential
    Construction: Steel box-frame with roll cage, carbon body
    Price: £85,000 ($152,977.34 USD)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    It looks cool. :o
     
  3. jinushaun

    jinushaun New Member

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    The MG SV-R is like an Neon SRT-8. :o Holy hell that's a lot of dropped into that car!
     
  4. ace3

    ace3 mouthify my wang.

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    that thing is SO pimp lookign
     
  5. Dr_Trac

    Dr_Trac doh!@

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    :werd:
     
  6. DMClark

    DMClark Active Member

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    It looks great but I do think it costs too much.
     
  7. cantankerously

    cantankerously Active Member

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    Needs to lose those fins - badly,
     
  8. OPTIMO

    OPTIMO New Member

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    Not the MG I would buy.
     
  9. bummerd00d

    bummerd00d Throbbing Member.

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    OWNED

    by clarkson
     
  10. ballz2wallz

    ballz2wallz New Member

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    WTFprice?????!!!???
     
  11. Seeker

    Seeker Brofessional OT Supporter

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    :werd: A T350C or Tamora could probably take the SV-R.
     
  12. curiousgeorgeM3

    curiousgeorgeM3 naughty little monkey

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    Get rid of the slats/vents on the side and that wing and you have a 1000% improvement.
     
  13. FryingPan

    FryingPan Certified Thread Killer

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    Holy goddamn :eek3:

    I want one.
     
  14. cedric

    cedric I don't have a contract

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    It's awesome looking, but for 150K they have to be joking. You don't get much for what you pay.
     
  15. curiousgeorgeM3

    curiousgeorgeM3 naughty little monkey

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    Now that I take a second look..........it reminds me of a riced out Mustang :down:
     

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