2003 MG ZS 180 2.5 Litre V6 from UK and Ireland


An utterly brilliant performance machine


The speedo stopped working at 1700 miles, fixed under warranty.

General Comments:

This car is in stark contrast to my previous car, a Honda Civic Type R. I got fed up with everything rattling and squeaking on the Civic so, after reading all the good reviews of the ZS, I decided to flog the Type R and get one of these.

I was a little sceptical of this car when it was launched and therefore decided to buy a Civic, but now, I wished I had bought one of these in the first place.

I chose to go for the hatchback (I need the space) in X Power Grey and it's amazing how much meaner it looks when compared to ones in Trophy Blue. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't resist the high rise spoiler.

I gave it 1300 easy miles and then I took it out one sunday morning for a good thrashing (that is, after all, what it's built for). At first I couldn't get the best from it as it was so different to the Honda. I hit the limiter a few times and it took me a while to adjust to the fact that it doesn't rev to 8,000 rpm. However, when you do get it right, it's great. The V6 sounds brilliant and doesn't feel strained at the top end of the rev range. The ZS is far easier to drive quickly than the Honda and far more rewarding. The wet conditions actually suit the MG as well as the dry, it's really confidence building.

The fact that the MG develops less power than the Civic (175 bhp as opposed to 197) doesn't mean it's any slower. In the real world, on any give and take road, a Type R driver just cannot get away from an equally well driven ZS 180.

There are naturally some things wrong with the MG, like the fact that the cabin just looks so old when compared to a new Corolla (the T sport was also on my list) or a Focus.

But, if, Like me you love a good hot hatch, you'll love one of these ZS 180s. Don't be put off by the fact it looks like a 45, this thing will make mincemeat of most other standard hot hatches when the road gets twisty. It's pretty good away from the lights too. Just don't expect it to be too light on your wallet when it comes to fuel though. When I put my foot down, I get about 25mpg.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd August, 2003

26th Oct 2005, 10:03

Why did you wait 1300 miles before giving it good thrashing?

My right foot was twitching from the moment I stepped inside on the forecourt and I nearly trashed it in the first 5 minutes of ownership when I'd (thought) over-cooked it on a twisty near the garage!! The car stuck to the road like chewing gum to your shoe and this boosted my confidence ever since! I bought from new and it has now done 60000 miles without fault and the engine purrs like it's just run-in. That is until I slam down the accelerator and get that throaty roar coming through the bulkhead letting me know I'm in the 20 mpg zone!!!