It might annoy you to have people say it's a 25 with bits added on, but it really is. The engine is exactly the same, the difference is really only the suspension and aesthetics of the car. It would be fair to say MG Rover did a good job on the suspension, but not to the extent that it's a completely different car.
I've had my MG ZR for two years now, it's a 51 plate in red and I love the car, although I've had a number of problems with mine too. In fact it's in the garage at the moment having the head gasket replaced. While it's there, I'm also having a new water pump, cam belt, sparks and leads.
People who say the 200 and 25 are the same are wrong, while my car is being fixed the garage have loaned me a Rover 25; it may have the same engine, but is completely different to drive, the gear ratios are different, the handling on my ZR is far superior, it's as if it's on rails (unless in the wet).
The Rover 25 is a normal everyday car, whereas the ZR is a head turner, it stands out when clean.
Since I've had my ZR, I have had a lot of problems such as the radiator needed changing recently, the center section of the exhaust, last year the gear box went that cost me £900 for a re-conditioned one with a new clutch, both the electric window motors broke, whenever it rains the spare tyre space in the boot fills with water (any suggestions on how to fix that appreciated), and obviously now the head gasket.
I think I've been unlucky with mine, I bought the first one I saw, and I should have been more patient as there are good ones out there.
Adding to the point about its top speed, I've had 118mph with more to go.
I'm hoping once I've sorted this problem, it will be OK until I can afford my next car, the Mondeo ST 220 TDCi. And I can't wait to get my ZR back and give back this horrible looking green Rover 25.
The Rover 25 is so close to the MG ZR in its make-up that you can make a 25 into a ZR with almost entirely cosmetic additions and a suspension change.
The ZR is a nice looking car, but with anything other than the ZR160 engine it doesn't make sense - looks faster than it is and can't back up its image.
Also the MG ZR with the same engine as the Rover 25 and rover 200 will be almost identical in performance, if not slower due to the extra weight.
On a side note, there is no ST 220 TDCi, either an ST TDCIi (155bhp) or the Mondeo ST220 (220bhp), I'm guessing you meant the diesel.
Finally, if the MG ZR you were driving was the 1.4k series, you won't get more than 118mph, although it may well say you can on your speedo, but if that's the case it's definitely over reading.
In reply to you boot space filling with water.
This is most likely a drainage problem. That is there is a drainage pipe that runs from the sunroof down to the spare wheel hole and out of the bottom of the car.
Most likely is the pipe has split or come away from the hole exiting the car.
Had the same problem on an old Polo, but not expensive to fix.
Reply to comment dated 1st Jan, you say these cars are the same with some "changes", but I'm saying without those "changes" they are completely different.
As I said, I own a ZR, but am driving a 25 at the moment, so I should know.
The ZR handles 100 times better, and the gears are set up differently to give you better performance; I can feel the differences.
I have beaten many Rover 25 and 200's off the mark, and on cornering because of these factors, and finally I'm not an idiot, I know speedos are not always accurate, which is why I clocked it on a sat nav. What car do you drive? Perhaps a Rover 25?
I have a MG ZR+ 120. I think this car is fantastic in the summer with nice hot roads that are sticky, but in the winter, it's a Rover 25 and you have to treat it like a Rover 25; keep the revs low when cold and wet, below 2500rpm, always check your coolant every 3 days, and take it easy. If you do all this, when the summer comes back round, you will have a car that will have most other cars off inc some GTis, Fiesta STs and Audis.
If you mistreat it at the winter time, your head gasket will blow and your car will be pants, so think about it, if you treat it good when the engine is cold, your HG will never ever blow. It only goes if you turn the key in the morning and bladder it, as the pipes are from a 1.1 Rover 25, so it needs time to heat up, so the liquids are warm and thinner. Believe me, and you will have some great fun in a ZR...!
My car is so impressive. One of my older friends went out and bought a MG ZT 2.5 190, just on the basis of being a passenger in my ZR 120.
To the 5th Jan comment.
I don't own either actually, but have driven both, and if you think that the ZR with the 1.4 engine is faster than a 200 or 25 with the same engine, then you're wrong.
The changes I mentioned were 'mostly cosmetic'-meaning visual. The only real difference is the suspension, which I will admit makes the car handle better, but simply put - if you slap ZR suspension on a 25 with the same engine, it will go around a track in the same time as a ZR.
To say that the suspension transforms the car is fair enough, but it is still just a spruced up Rover 25, no matter how you look at it.
As for the gearing, it depends on the gearbox fitted. If it's the PG1 or the R65, you will find that the ZR is not alone in its gearbox. If you are driving a Rover 25 at the moment, maybe you have the restricted throttle body one, which is 84bhp as opposed to the 103bhp one (both available in the 25/200 shell).
Also notice you didn't refute my point on anything other than the 160 making sense in the ZR shell, or deny that you own the 1.4 of the range...
OK I see your point, the 160 version suits the car best, the 1.4 though is a more affordable option for a young driver who wants a nice looking sporty car.
I think we should agree to disagree about the differencs between the 25 and the ZR, I understand the points you made about them too, I was just saying both cars standard are different to drive, (mainly handling).
Also I found out today that the head gasket on my car was fine, the reason I had low compression in the 1st and 2nd cylinder is because the exhaust valves on those cylinders were knackered.
What car do you drive out of interest?