ZT 260 V8 - the return of the practical British muscle car
An impressive car with V8 power. (Photo: MG Rover)
MG Rover Group has today (September 23rd 2003) launched the V8 powered
MG ZT 260 V8. The rear-wheel drive vehicle, available in ZT saloon
and ZT-T estate car, powered by a 260bhp 4.6-litre V8 engine and with
an awesome 410Nm of torque to deliver class-leading acceleration,
is now available for customer order in the UK. With an on-the-road
price starting at £27,995, the ZT 260 offers an unbeatable combination
of price and performance.
MG Rover Group's Product Development Director, commented: "The
MG ZT 260 V8 demonstrates our commitment to deliver cars of true pedigree
and character. This is a truly rewarding car to drive. Our choice
of a big, torquey engine has been vindicated as this is a deceptively
quick and efficient cross-country car. The more you drive it, the
more you appreciate its unique 'muscle car' character that flies in
the face of our competitors' trend towards buzzy high-revving engines".
"Its introduction means MG now has the broadest range in its
80-year history. The new V8 heralds the return of the practical British
muscle car, and as an MG it's obviously great value too."
The ZT 260 is a fully engineered evolution of the front-wheel drive
ZT. Clever installation techniques have permitted the larger capacity
engine and rear-wheel drive power-train to be incorporated within
the robust bodyshell, without major visual changes. Below the skin
the platform is largely new with significant changes to many functional
vehicle systems to accommodate the revised drive-line layout, to produce
a car of great driving character. Recently a development ZT-T V8 was
taken to the Salt Flats at Bonneville, Utah where the MG achieved
a maximum speed of 225mph from a specially tuned V8 engine variant.
Design and Development
The development engineers were briefed to deliver the ultimate antidote
to an anodyne world. The challenges involved in transforming the drive
platform and packaging a large capacity V8 engine into the existing
front-wheel drive vehicle should not be underestimated. Advanced computer
techniques were used to package the new hardware without sacrificing
the strengths of the established ZT platform. Sophisticated modelling
techniques were used to refine the kinematics of the completely new
multi-link rear axle configuration and to ensure that despite the
revised engine installation, the car continues to meet the latest
standards for occupant protection in all its markets. Given
the magnitude of the changes, it is no surprise that ZT has been extensively
tested, seeing action in climates ranging from the bitterly harsh
conditions of the Swedish winter through to the burning heat of high
speed testing in Arizona and Australia.
Externally there is little clue to the extent of body structure changes
necessary to accommodate the new rear-wheel drive powerunit, indeed
ZT 260 shares the same acclaimed style of the front-wheel drive ZTs.
Extensive changes have been made to the underfloor, with new designs
for the front and rear floor, as well as an enlarged transmission
tunnel to accommodate the in-line gearbox. A new manufacturing facility
has been commissioned alongside the existing sophisticated ZT manufacturing
line to ensure these changes to the body are delivered to consistently
high quality standards.
The ZT 260 utilises Ford's proven 4.6-litre V8 engine, widely used
in North America to power the iconic Ford Mustang. Modifications have
been made to the powertrain to assist in packaging the engine while
MG's engineers have also developed new intake, exhaust and emissions
control systems to ensure the vehicle complies with stringent European
noise legislation with no loss of power or torque. A new electronic
engine calibration helps ensure the car exceeds current European emissions
system, twinned for most of the length of the car, is distinguished
by new quad-tailpipes. Outside the system produces a classic V8 burble,
while inside the cabin remains quiet until aroused by the throttle
when it resounds to the sporting note of a true thoroughbred.
ZT 260 features Tremec's TR3650 five-speed manual gearbox, manufactured
in North America. The unit has been extensively modified to meet MG's
needs and features unique gearing to suit the demands of European
driving. MG's engineers have also developed an all-new gear selection
system and bespoke hydraulic clutch actuation to ensure precise and
positive gear changes.
The rear axle features Dana's Hydratrak® limited slip differential
system, which utilises vane-pump principles to ensure continuous and
seamless torque transmission to both rear wheels in the event of wheel
The ZT 260's steering and suspension systems have evolved radically
to match the performance of the V8 power unit. Developed by driving
enthusiasts for enthusiasts, the team focused their efforts on honing
the car's classic rear-drive handling to provide seamless, fluid and
adjustable attitude control under the widest range of conditions.
The result is a car that blends day-to-day ease of use with the driver-rewards
of a true thoroughbred.
Power steering, driven by a higher capacity pump, is now via a new
forward mounted rack layout providing excellent feel and driver feedback
to the leather-bound wheel.
The geometry of the ZT's MacPherson strut front suspension has been
tuned to the requirements of the new chassis platform. A new design
of upright is matched to Eibach linear rate springs and a new, larger
diameter anti-roll bar. Wheel response is controlled by Bilstein monotube
struts, which combine a large piston area for fine tuning resolution
with very high bending stiffness for improved camber control. The
design employs a significantly revised subframe, which provides a
stable operating platform for the chassis while also acting as a key
loadpath in the event of a major impact.
A new multi-link rear suspension has been developed specifically for
the ZT 260 V8. A new six-mount subframe houses the Hyrdratrak®
differential, while each wheel is located by three lateral links (two
steel and one light-alloy) and a light alloy trailing arm. Compound
rate springs, also sourced from race specialist Eibach, work in conjunction
with Bilstein monotube dampers to provide excellent wheel control.
Roll behaviour is controlled by a new anti-roll bar.
Both ZT 260 models feature 18" alloy wheels; the attractive 'Straights'
design is specified on the ZT 260 with a new 'Apex' 10-blade design
on the ZT 260 SE. Contisport 225/45 ZR18 tyres balance excellent lateral
stability with crisp, precise steer response.
ZT 260 has a new H-split braking system providing excellent
stopping power. At the front, proven large capacity 325mm ventilated
discs and sliding-pin callipers are specified. At the rear a new AP-Racing
sourced brake system is specified with 332mm ventilated discs and
opposed piston alloy callipers.
Footnote: we hear through the grapevine that a more powerful
version of this model is coming which will be interesting to see later
An impressive car from all angles. (Photo: MG Rover)
equipped cockpit. (Photo: MG Rover)
A new HEVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) unit is fitted
to the ZT 260. The new unit is a water-blend design featuring a dedicated
electronic control unit to drive servo-motor valves to regulate the
water flow around the heating circuit. This system has been refined
to offer similar levels of response and control to the existing ZT's
acclaimed air-blending system. All models feature ATC (Automatic Temperature
Control), using the familiar user-friendly interface of other ZT models.
V8 badge in the centre of the fascia differentiates the interior of
the car, while other aspects of the cabin environment are broadly
similar to the existing ZT models.
A new moulding below the boot floor accommodates the relocated battery
and the CD autochanger (standard on the ZT 260 SE). Major controls,
which include steering, clutch and gear selection have all been refined
to suit the ZT 260 V8's more muscular character.
Black leather trim, highline satellite navigation that includes a
Teletext equipped TV tuner and park distance sensors are but a few
of the features that distinguish the SE.
ZT 260 V8
ATC air conditioning
Electric front windows and heated door mirrors
Front fog lamps
Leather steering wheel and gear knob
Driver, passenger and side (thorax) airbags
18in 'Straights' multi-spoke alloys with 225/45 ZR18 tyres
Lip spoiler (on ZT saloon)
Thatcham Category 1* approved
alarm immobiliser system. (*Subject to final approval).
ZT 260 SE models
include the following additional features:
High-line satellite navigation
Teletext equipped TV tuner
Side head impact protection (ITS) for front seats
18in 'Apex' 10-blade alloy wheels
A choice of 'lip' or 'wing' boot lid spoiler (on ZT saloon)
Moveable load restraint net cassette system (on ZT-T estate)
Electro chromatic self-dimming rear view mirror
Electric front seats
Black leather seat trim
Parking distance control
The range is launched in both ZT saloon and ZT-T estate models and
is available in two trim specifications. The MG ZT 260 V8 starts from
an on-the-road price of £27,995, with the higher specified
SE model £32,750 OTR. MG ZT-T 260 V8 estate models start from
its large displacement engine offering 410Nm of torque, its rewarding
driving experience and excellent feature specification, the ZT 260
V8 will attract buyers from established premium sports saloons such
as the BMW 330i, Jaguar X-TYPE 3.0 and Volvo S60 T5.
ZT 260 V8
ZT 260 V8 SE
ZT-T 260 V8
ZT-T 260 V8 SE
The ZT 260 will initially be offered first in the UK, then progressively
across export markets.
ZT 260 shares the wide range of options and accessories available
across other ZT models, with the addition of an optional, factory-approved
'Trackstar' (stolen vehicle tracking) system available to supplement
the ZT 260 V8's sophisticated, standard fit theft prevention systems.
specification and performance
multipoint electronic fuel injection
multipoint electronic fuel injection
power @ engine speed
torque @ engine speed
302 lb ft
302 lb ft
- 1,770 kg