MG will return to the sports car segment with an electric coupe

MG’s on-again, off-again electric sports car has received the green light, according to a recent report. Previewed by the 2017 E-Motion concept, the coupe is scheduled to make its global debut before the end of 2021.

Sports cars are a significant part of MG’s heritage, but the British company stepped out of the segment when it ended production of the mid-engined TF for the second time in 2011. Returning to its roots is a way for the carmaker to become relevant again, and not just in China, where it’s currently based. It has global ambitions.

British magazine Autocar learned the four-seater coupe will be positioned as MG’s halo model. It will pick up where the E-Motion (pictured) left off, but it will land with a comprehensively updated design partially revealed in a set of images that leaked out of a patent office in 2020. If the renderings are accurate, the E-Motion — a name that likely won’t be retained by the production model — will arrive with a surprisingly Aston Martin-like face.

The sheet metal will hide an architecture developed in-house and a pair of electric motors that zap the four wheels into motion. Specifications remain under wraps, but MG pegged the E-Motion’s zero-to-60-mph time at under four seconds, and it quoted at least 300 miles of range. MG’s current electric cars are nowhere near that figure, the battery-powered variant of the ZS crossover has a 163-mile range, but technology is quickly improving.

Storming into the electric sports car segment might elevate MG’s image, but it won’t significantly increase the firm’s annual sales. It’s building its volume goals on an electric, city-friendly hatchback that will be positioned in the same segment as the Honda E and the Mini Cooper SE, according to a separate Autocar report. Also due out in 2021, the city car will be about as big as the 3, MG’s current entry-level model, and it will be considerably cheaper than its main rivals. Value, not performance, is the born-again brand’s biggest selling point in 2021.

It’s too early to tell if the hatchback will borrow styling cues from the coupe, if it will channel the design of the company’s previous city cars, or if it will wear futuristic lines. Similarly, we don’t know if either electric model will make the trip to the United States. Executives have repeatedly stated that they want to make MG a true global player, but they’ve rarely indicated that America is on their radar. More details should emerge in 2021.

Looking ahead, we could see the Cyberster concept introduced in 2020 reach production. It will be electric, too, but it will be closer to MG’s well-respected roadsters (like the B) because its soft top.

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