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MG6 1.9 DTi road test: only the name is a blast from the past

A quietly competent alternative to the usual business car options in this sector.
Surprisingly good to drive, bags of room, and with a modest price tag that will keep your company car costs under control
Car review: DAVID WILKINS<br


27 November 2012

Little old British brand meets huge Chinese car manufacturer. The MG6 is a foretaste of what may come from Londbridge


MG6 DTi TECH 1.9 D S

What is it?

THE MG6 got off to a quiet start when it was launched last year. In part, the low-key introduction was deliberate.

MG6 GT on company car tax

  • Since writing this review, MG has updated the engine and improved the CO2 emissions of the MG6
  • CO2 emissions are now 129g/km
  • The 2014/15 company car tax band is 21%
  • For more tax details use our Company Car Tax Calculator
  • Ralph Morton, editor


The MG badge had been absent from the new car market for six years, and today’s MG Motor is a very different creature to the old MG Rover which went bust in 2005.

Today’s company is owned by SAIC, a giant Chinese outfit which turned out about four million cars last year. It acquired many of the assets of the old MG, including the Longbridge factory site in Birmingham and much of the intellectual property.

But in most respects this is a fresh start, not a continuation of the old MG.

There’s plenty of room, and MG has improved on the quality of the interior since the launch of the petrol version. It’s pretty well equipped across the range, right up to the full leather, climate controlled, Bluetooth enabled, heated seated TSE

Another brake on progress was the lack of a diesel option on the MG6. The original petrol car, with its single turbocharged engine option, wasn’t very attractive to CO2-conscious, tax-aware business buyers.

But this new DTi TECH diesel version of the MG6 is much more interesting for company car users. It’s available as a five-door hatch, badged the GT, and as a saloon called the Magnette.

The hatchback is called the GT but for the saloon MG has reached way back and dusted down the old Magnette name. Those with grey hair may remember the original

MG thinks that about 70 per cent of Magnettes and hatches in top TSE form will go to businesses, although cars with the lower trim levels will appeal to company car drivers who want to minimise company car tax yet drive a large family car.

What’s hot?

    • The new 1.9-litre diesel engine, which produces 150 horsepower and 350Nm of torque, provides strong and mostly refined performance.
    • The diesel gets a fuel-saving stop/start system and a six-speed gearbox in place of the five-speeder fitted to the petrol. The new gearbox provides very long gearing in top, which makes for quiet, relaxed motorway cruising.
    • MG is claiming low servicing and insurance costs (Group 14E for S and SE trimmed hatches, 15E for the range-topping TSE and Magnette saloon)
    • The diesel model retains the excellent ride and handling of the original petrol engine version, thanks to a host of tweaks to the suspension, steering and brakes.
    • The MG6 offers usefully more space than most Golf-class cars. Like the Skoda Octavia, a favourite benchmark of the MG team, it feels half a size bigger inside.
    • Equipment levels are generous. The base £16,995 S hatch gets alloys, air-con, rear electric windows and hill-start assist. The £18,195 SE adds parking sensors, sat-nav, cruise control, and a leather steering wheel incorporating audio controls.


The diesel engine has transformed the MG’s appeal as a company car. It’s not a class leader, but the modest P11D value means your tax bill will be £64 a month if you’re a 20 percenter
  • The top-of-the range TSE hatch costs £20,195 and gets full leather, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, heated front seats and bigger alloys. The £21,195 Magnette saloon is similarly well equipped.
  • The diesel’s cabin quality is greatly improved compared with that of the first petrol models, which was disappointing. The basic dash architecture is unchanged but better materials and detailing have mostly neutralised the problem.

What’s not?

  • The diesel is a much more attractive proposition for business buyers than the original petrol MG6 but in initial launch spec, emissions of 139g/km and fuel consumption of 53.5 mpg put the new car in the middle of the pack rather than right out in front.
  • Not all of the improvements that have been introduced on the new diesel – the six-speed gearbox is one example – will be made available on the petrol model.
  • Compared with the big players, MG has a fairly small dealer network, although the company is recruiting more dealers in big urban areas. And there are the usual uncertainties that surround a new – or in this case reborn – brand. That said, despite the apparently slow build up, MG seems committed to making a go of it, and in SAIC, it has a powerful parent.


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Matt Morton

Matt Morton

Matt Morton is an automotive content writer for Business Car Manager

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