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MG ZT 190. Autonomous sports saloon. A classic in the making

ER Classics Desktop 2022

In 2005 the last MG models were sold under British auspices. One of those models was the ZT. That is a classic in the making. And a very good car. Auto Motor Klassiek drove a last year MG ZT 190 and was deeply impressed by a car that is much more than a Rover 75 derivative.

Dijkstra Classic Cars & Youngtimers has the car on offer. Owner Sicco Dijkstra regularly drives it himself. That is something we fully understand after a few hours of sending. Expensive diesel is not necessary for Sicco due to COVID-19 and the state of digital technology. This MG ZT 190 is painted in X Power Gray, and has the 2.5 KV6 engine made for MG more powerful. In addition, the car has less than 40.000 kilometers of life experience. It is in great condition in every way.

Sporty MG versions based on Rover models

The front-wheel drive MG ZT had its baptism of fire in 2001 and actually came about after BMW transferred the business to the Phoenix Group. They renamed the Rover Group to MG Rover. Almost immediately the decision was made to develop an MG model based on the Rover 75. That became the MG ZT, which got its smaller and also sporty brothers in the ZR and ZS. These were also Rover derivatives. The MG ZT was available in several versions. Buyers could also choose from (BMW) diesel and (MG Rover) petrol variants with four and six cylinders. In addition, a ZT 260 with rear-wheel drive and Ford 4.6 liter V8 engine was added to the menu, parallel to the Rover 75 V8.

Similarity, and yet very different

The MG ZT had a lot of similarity with the Rover 75 in profile. But all things considered, it was really a different car. A lot of chrome disappeared, trim parts painted in body color came back. The grille sections were carried out in mesh trim, a subtle spoiler was mounted at the rear. Each ZT version also got its own set of light metal. Speaking of which: the 18 ”rims with eleven spokes look fantastic on our ZT 190, they really finish the car.

Club feeling gives way to sportsmanship

A lot of changes were also made within the interior, and we are mainly talking about the decoration. The design remained the same in several respects as with the Rover 75. Within the ZT you will also find the oval accents of the Rover in various places. They are therefore also in line with the curves and shapes on the outside. But the Rover 75's club feel disappeared from the MG. This was done, for example, in favor of wonderfully sporty and beautifully upholstered furniture and a different panel trim. The art directors made this MG so both inside and outside got its own character. They took it with gusto concept and graduated cum laude.

Performance upgrade

The fine KV6 Rover 2.5 liter engine received a performance upgrade for the MG ZT. In the automatic transmission (ZT180) the power source had 177 DIN-PK. In the manual ZT 190 that we drive, the motor delivers 190 DIN-HP. The ZT has a chassis with MG specifications. This means, among other things: thicker stabilizers, more rigid rubbers in the wheel suspension and stiffer dampers. We notice that, together with the excellent seat, it is an astonishing combination. And that comes in the ZT met by us + -Pack and its naturally aspirated KV6 engine on the surface in an addictively tasty way.

Phenomenal handling, fantastic handling

The MG specification also makes a difference in terms of driving from the already captivating and original Rover 75 concept. The donor is highly attuned to comfort, within the MG sportiness and comfort come together very closely. The aforementioned suspension adjustments make the ZT really rock solid on the road. Both straight ahead and in the curves you feel grip and solid stability that go hand in hand with pure decisiveness. In combination with the counter pressure of the precise and vibration-free steering, this front-wheel drive MG is a driver's car in optima forma. He follows the curve directly, steadily and carefully as you use it. The border range is also far away. At no time do the chassis and steering behave nervous or intrusive. The brakes also slow down decisively and are fine and can be dosed with feeling. The MG ZT communicates excellently and pleasantly powerful in every respect. And what also suits a real driver's car is that wonderful 2.497 cc V6 engine. After the MG strength cure he received 190 DIN-PK. Thanks to the power source, you can also complete the acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h in eight seconds.

Torque, power and transmission beautifully matched

At least as pleasant is the nice build-up of the torque, which quite quickly reaches a value of over 200 Nm. The peak of 245 Nm is revealed further on, at 4.000 revolutions per minute. In combination with the fairly short-spaced Getrag five-speed gearbox, the torque is often readily available. Using a speed accelerator is child's play, you can quickly reach speeds that can jeopardize a driver's license without a push in the back. The intermediate acceleration thus takes place powerfully and steadily, regardless of the chosen resistance. And all without the help of a turbo or a compressor. The muscular engine feels very natural and energetic.

Autonomous sports saloon

You can experience it all from the fine furniture with excellent support from the side and upholstered in leather and Alcantara. That is mounted in a cockpit that you can comfortably enclosed. In everything this MG ZT 190 is an excellently balanced car. It is very well composed and adapted. Moreover, he does appeal to the history of the beautiful British brand that appeared on the scene in so many guises.

Optimal form

We dare to say: the MG ZT 190 is one of the best and most autonomous sports saloons of its time. They haven't been made like this for years. Just ride it for a day. Then you know what we mean. And why this last of the European MG Mohicans is really a classic in the making.

You will read in in a while Auto Motor Klassiek much more about this car, its technical and other backgrounds

The photos were taken by Bart Spijker and Dijkstra Classic Cars & Youngtimers, Sexbierum


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  1. Hm, not ugly but really much prefer my Subaru Impreza WRX from (this time) 2003 which is also much spicier with a virtually newly built block. But that will be taste and perhaps the V8 version is more attractive to me.

    • That is comparing apples to pears. My R32 is also faster. But thinks this has something to offer. The classic design is reminiscent of the Jaguar from the sixties.

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