X80, now the incredible 965bhp MG SV
See also a report in Autocar
MG goes hunting in £60K sports car territory with this
whopping 500bhp coupe.
Autocar 4th September 2002 -
MG Rover is to build a new luxury high-performance sports car for
next year (2002) was the surprise announcement was made after the
Le Mans 24-hour race that MG Rover had acquired part of the business
interests of the Qvale Automotive group, which manufactures the low-volume
but US-certified Qvale Mangusta at a factory in Modena, Northern Italy.
The new MG - codenamed X80 - will be based on the Mangusta's highly
regarded chassis and engineering, coupled to a Ford 4.6 litre V8 engine
which produces up to 380 bhp. The X80's styling is the work of MG
Rover's design director Peter Stevens, and confirms hints given when
the EX257 Le Mans car was unveiled that it signified future MG design
directions. Note in particular the grille aperture, with a slim central
horizontal bar. (Stevens told us previously that he was worried that
the MG grille shape risked becoming too much like a Pontiac; this
is clearly his solution) as well as the triple headlamps, a feature
also seen on the MGF XP500. The MG X80 will give the MG brand a world-class
product in the high- performance luxury sports-car sector. Both coupe
and roadster versions are planned, with manual and automatic transmissions.
Kevin Howe, chief executive of MG Rover said: "The X80 will be
an excellent fit at the top of our family of MG cars. It also provides
an opportunity to look at markets in which we are not currently represented.
In particular the USA, the World's largest sports-car market, where
we can now seriously evaluate the full potential for the MG brand."
Bruce Qvale, president of Qvale Automotive group said: "MG Rover
showed an interest in our Mangusta project in Modena, and we have
since agreed a very good deal for both sides. The power of the MG
brand now takes the project forward on a global basis."
The Qvale Mangusta is the most recent chapter in a long career
for the Qvale family. The business, which was founded by Kjell Qvale
in 1947, has grown over the years to encompass both car sales (including,
incidentally, the US's first west-coast MG dealership) and manufacture.
The Mangusta styled by Marcello Gandini (designer of the Lamborghini
Countach and Diablo), began as a joint project between the Qvale family
and DeTomaso Modena S.p.A in March 1998 to build a new sports car
using the Ford Mustang's 4.6-litre V8 engine, echoing the DeTomaso
Mangusta of the 1960's. Both the Qvale family and Alessandro DeTomaso,
father of the DeTomaso marque, had second thoughts about this arrangement,
though, and so a divorce was arranged in March 2000. The project continued
under the Qvale name and the car was manufactured in Modena.
The following specification of the Mangusta gives a revealing taste
of what to expect from the MG X80.
dohc 32-valve V8 with multi-point sequential fuel injection and twin
bhp at 6,000rpm.
circa 160mph, and 0-60 in around five seconds.
manual Tremac T45 gearbox driving the rear wheels via a BTR speed-
and torque-sensitive hydraulic limited slip differential.
production in the range 300-500 cars per annum, including European
and US sales.
US price $69,500
This news item was published in the August/September 2001 issue of
MG World and is reproduced here with the kind permission of
the Editor of MG World (May 2002).