- MG Motor, the Chinese-owned British sports-car maker, has released renderings of the Icon, a crossover coupe concept that it will unveil at next week's 2012 Beijing Auto Show.
- The small crossover is similar in size to the Nissan Juke, and is powered by a 135-horsepower turbo 1.5-liter gasoline engine.
- The Icon features rear-hinged rear doors similar to those on the Mazda RX-8 and has no central B-pillars.
LONDON — MG Motor, the Chinese-owned British sports-car maker, has released renderings of a crossover coupe concept that it will unveil at next week's 2012 Beijing Auto Show. Called Icon, this small crossover is similar in size to the Nissan Juke, and is powered by a 135-hp turbo 1.5-liter gasoline engine.
The Icon features rear-hinged rear doors similar to those on the Mazda RX-8 and has no central B-pillars.
The Icon is MG Motor's take on a sporting model for the 21st century, as well as an attempt to define where MG's line of sports cars might have progressed to had the MGB had a series of successors rather than living for 18 years and dying unreplaced in 1980.
Why a crossover rather than a roadster? Partly because most contemporary lifestyle cars need to be more versatile than a roadster can be, reckons MG, and partly because in China a market for open-topped cars has yet to develop significantly.
Although conceptually right up to date, the Icon subtly references multiple MGs from this storied marque's back catalogue, with echoes of the closed MGB GT coupe evident in the shape of its rear pillars, the tailgate, the front fender tops, the grille and the bumper overriders, while the dashboards of the pre-war MG PA and post-war TF are referenced by the twin cowls of the Icon's dashboard. And the concept's pronounced haunches and taillights owe something to the MGA.
Despite all these ghosts of British sports cars past, the design team that developed the Icon was almost entirely Chinese, although it was overseen by SAIC's global design director and Briton Tony Williams-Kenny. The winning design was picked from several proposals pitched by SAIC's all-new — and huge — Shanghai studio and the company's Birmingham, England design department.
The Icon has been developed on a big-wheeled version of the Fiesta-sized MG3 hatchback platform, and has been designed with production feasibility in mind.
The concept's aim is to test the water for a first niche model from MG Motor, with market reaction likely to determine whether it will see showrooms or not.
It will be one of no fewer than four new models to launched by SAIC's MG and Roewe brands at the Beijing show, with a new Roewe 950 sedan, an electric car and the production version of the Focus-size MG5 also seeing public daylight for the first time.
Edmunds.com says: The Icon is further proof of SAIC's major ambitions for the MG brand. China's biggest car company, which builds millions of GM and VW models under joint ventures, continues to develop the wholly owned brands it has in MG and Roewe (formerly Rover), and though sales of both marques are still low, they're unlikely to stay that way if the brands continue to develop products as intriguing as the Icon.