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MG ZR ZS ZT Technical - Look OUT MG here comes Ford

Saw "TOP GEAR" last night, quick (Very) perview of the Focus ST 170. What little i saw was enough to worry MG.

It has a 6 speed box
It has a spot driving polistion
It has Recaro seats
It has Gas Discharge (Xenon) headlamps

Wakey Wakey MGR!

Yeah MEGA, saw it too ..... but , but it's a ... F O R D .... ;-)

PS. Who do you work for?

PPS. My old MGB GT had six ratios and that did not include reverse. Whatever happened to overdrives - a delight to use - just a switch and a smooth transition and rev drop or rise .... luverly!
John McFeely

Lets just hope the ZR Extreame gets a good make-over
David Harasym

Recaro seats, Hmmm, methinks you like these Mega!

It is quite enlightening to see what and who the company Kieper Recaro actually is an who they supply now, and complete seats are not the mainstay of the business. Metal seat parts, trimmed by others and even just some small mechanical parts of the seat sees more volume. The New Mini has by definition 'Recaro' seats as does Range Rover, and a number of other mundane cars, being as the contract to supply is with Kieper Recaro (Mini - Kieper Spain and Range Rover - Kieper in B'ham) Both see much made by other companies.

So in the whole run of things Recaro is much like the cars they go into, a multi national conglomorate which has bits and pieces from all over the place, leaving just a name which isn't what it used to be.

They do do some of the best orthopedic seats still though.

Roger Parker

I just TRYING to get the message to MGR!

They are simply the best seat around, every great car has them, the US navy use them, even "Star Fleet" (YOU must hav seen them in DS9). They hold you well, with out crushing you, you surport all the right areas of you body.

I you like high "G" connering you must have the right intervaze with the car. Recaro seats, MONO Streering wheels, AP BRAKES etc etc.

i wouldn't get that excited about it, i know someone thats worked on it. at best it will only just match the 180 and when you consider how much money ford has chucked at the st170 & rs focus they should be good!
remember 6 cylinders are better than 4

The problem is this matey, It has Recaros+ a good driving polistion, the zs,zr DON'T

It has Xenon headlamps (you need for good fast night drivng) the ZS,ZR Don't

The ZS HAS a lovely V6 with a great sound track, but its expensive on fuel and insureance 700(16).

the Ford will be easyer on the fuel and insureance (14/15). I love the 180 but a lot of people will be put off the fuel costs. The 120 is a bit slow, its a shame that there is not a ZS 140.

Mind you i couldn't belive the cost to insure a Civic type "R" 1200.00 (18)!!!


For what its worth, I think the real measure of competition between the two makes will be held between the ZS-extreme(or is it ultimate?) and the FOCUS Cosworth (if/when they become available).

I say this because although these 2 top of the range varients for the cars will be out of the financial reach of the majority, they will be the figure head cars and as such be likely to draw most of the comparisons from the motoring press etc whenever articles are written. They also represent the pinaccle of each marques product and so will have a lot of "image" kudos riding on them.

This has the effect of either reinforcing or deflating the rest of the range of performance models in the general public eye (althought he marque enthusiast will usually stay loyal)

Remember how everyone raved about sirra cosworths and how this bolstered the sales of the RS Turbo escorts and fiestas etc and XR models etc?

Personally, (and this is only my opinion) I think its imperative that MGR ensure that the extreme or ultimate ZS (I get confused with all theses names) is better than the FOCUS cossie in every dept. This will be a massive + for MGR and really stamp the marque into the marketplace (and then at least top gear will be unable to slag it off hehehe).

I would love to see a head to head comparison test on prime time TV with the MG slapping the FOCUS silly in every handling/performance test....:-))

On this topic, does anyone have any prelim power/performance figs for the Focus Cossie and ZS extreme??

dave m
David Morris

When the FOCUS first appeared a few years back, it was the first Ford to appeal to me for many years ..... as a people carrier estate style car, not a saloon car. To my eyes that is what it is and that's it's appeal for me. Even if the promised sportier version appears and is able to match or outperform the equivalent MG-R product, it will still be a performance people carrier for me UNLESS there's a serious styling update.

How do others see it?

John McFeely
John McFeely

I think your right John, its a bit of a bread van. However its not as bad as the new civic, i mean "Blakes Seven" stying or what!


ditto most of the latest Hondas. Seemed to have lost the plot a bit of late but HEY! if they keep selling ..... even so, bet old Soichiro's turning in his grave with some of these latest Honda styling (or lack of ) efforts..... :o))
John McFeely

I saw the focus st170 on Top Gear too. Pitty they didn't test drive it.
The last I heard, Ford were aiming for a 0-60 time for the st of about 8 secs, which the MG has beat. However the standard focus is already great to drive, many, many times better than the 45. If ford do some good work on the chassis and handling then MG should worry.

Final point, I have a Magazine (I think it is Car or Autocar) where they take a bunch of good drivers cars and throw them around a circuit, and try to decide which is the best. The MG ZS 180 come in 20th, but they do say it was brilliant that it made it to the top 20.
It lapped in 1m 29sec (and I forget the milleseconds). Just for refecnce the fastest car (Porsche GT2) lapped in 1m19sec
Martin Leach, the Focus RS main man took a prototype RS and lapped in 1m24sec (and a half i think) Beating the Subaru Impreza by 8/10ths of a sec, and was only 2/10 slower than an Lancer Evo 7. Now I know it was a prototype, but it has to worry MG cos it beat every other front wheel drive car by at least 3 seconds, and managed to beat a 4 wheel drive impreza WRX, which is at least a second faster to 60.

Worrying times. If an RS managed that, What will the cossie be like?

>> Worrying times. If an RS managed that, What will the cossie be like?

There may be a bit of confusion here... I remember the group test referred to above, and am sure it was a prototype Focus RS, not the Focus ST170. Let's compare like with like and not expect the ZS180 to match the RS.


As one who who currently has an ST200, and is thinking of a ZT-T, I have a couple of points.

1. The Recaro's in the Mundaneo are Fantastic
2. It comes in at 23.8k with no extra's i.e ACT, elctric driver's seat, 6 CD Changer, Traction control (switchable), Recaro's, 17" Alloy's, Metallic paint, self levelling suspension, blah, blah, blah are all standard.

This makes it a very attractive propostion to lease (which is what my company does)

I understand MGR's ethic of affordable fastness, with the ability to add the extra's, but the problem is, when I added these and took a ZT-T 190+ up to 24k, the lease cost became prohibitive. Also The FAB 18" Alloys are a huge killer, but last I heard MGR were thinking of putting more fleet friendly 17" wheels on.
The ST is also more powerful and quicker than the ZT-T. However, the ZT-T is definately more classy on the inside, looks better on the outside and it's an MG not a Ford.
Lots of pro's and cons for the ZT-T. Lot's of pro's for the ST...the ONLY con ? It's still a Ford....

Anyway, these are just my personal points, and if people can get past the blue oval, I'm sure all the ST's to come will be liked a great deal (If not loved in the same way as the Z's).


Kieren Gibson

With all these other manufacturers piling in, I have a feeling that these market niches will be saturated by next summer so MGR need to be working on their other products & markets for MG--and also offer something new for the more sedate Rover customer, if they want to maintain their current sales momentum.

Fair point Brian
I started comparing the ST170 and ZS, then moved on a tangent. I thought that review was weird, most others say the zs is the best of the 3 mgs on the track. They criticised it for the things I thought were good. Still, I personally haven't driven any of them.
But I assume that, apart from the engine, the RS and the ST170 will be similar.

I was answering to the 6th message by Kev, "Ford Research Center" who commented (about the st170) it will only just match the 180, and with the money ford have thrown at the st170 and rs they should be good.
I am saying I think they prob will be, but we shall wait and see.

Anyway, it was only a few thoughts. No one has test driven either of the fast fords yet, and the MGs have turned out brilliant, with all reviews I'v read praising their drivability.

Last thing. How will the ZS and Mucas (focus) compare on price and spec? I heard a ball park of 16,000 ish for the ford, but I have no idea of the standard spec.

Dimski, I can't be 100% sure yet, but if I had to guess, I would say the spec of the new ST's will be very similar, if not identical to the existing ST200 mentioned above. BTW, I left out the trip computer as a standard feature on the ST200 too...


Kieren Gibson

I am on my second focus now and those that know me will know I am MG through and through, I have a Maestro Turbo and Metro Turbo which I cherish and give up a lot of time to the cause.

So with that in mind I can tell you that I liked the focus so much I bought another one. First I had the 1.8 as that was the biggest engine Ford did in the 3Dr it haddled brilliantly, braked well and just was great fun round the Essex lanes. It just lacked a bit of power so when the 2.0 ESP 3Dr came out I changed mine to one of these which I have now had 6 months. It is great fun to drive and the 16v unit certainly more pokey and revvy than the 1.8 variable valve that I had. I have been enquiring as to a real performance version since the launch of the T230 then (T180 and T330) model, and have my name down as a strong possibility for the RS version which will be around 22k I am reliably told.

The money Ford has to develop these cars puts MG-R well and trully in the shade, so expect the RS and the later Cossie 4WD version (30k) to be awsome driving machines although now Nasser has left Ford and they need to cut serious costs I wonder whether we will ever see the Cossie version.

Love or hate Ford the Focus is a great car and with a new version due next year MG-R need to be on top of their game and make their top end varients extreme drivers cars at the sacrifice of economy to give them the image that Cosworth gave ford in the last two decades and Scooby's (Imprezza's) have now.
Tim Martin

Look out Ford -Here comes MEGA !

I have tested a MG ZS180 and a ST200, though driving them on the roads all the time is no comparison to just testing them (and I mean proper standard quarter miles, 0-60, handling tests) in my opinion they are the best two cars in their category by a long way. The handling of both is really good and no other car in in the category comes close.. I would say the MG ZS180 was more powerful, and was clocking faster 0-60 and standard quarter miles.. but only just and other variables could cause the difference. I think it is good that both cars are fantastic. Though I do prefer the Ford on the inside as the switches seem better designed and a heated windscreen is brilliant at this time of year. Also with a moveable steering column (forward and back) puts the driving position of the Ford clearly ahead of the MG.
Still I race an MG and so will be biased and prefer an MG badge pulling my race car and driving around than a Ford.. as always its down to personal taste!

Just my,
2 pence
2 pence

Interesting Comments 2 Pence. I have the ST200 estate, have test driven the ZS180, and we now have a Trophy blue one sitting in the car park belonging to one of the SE's.
I agree with pretty much everything you say actually. I guess the main reason for the better interior on the Ford comes down to cost. The ZS180 5dr was around 15.5k I think, while the ST200 was 23.8 - Big difference, and it's gotta show somewhere. The other very noticable thing between them is the colour. When the ZS180 in tropy blue is clean and sitting on it's own everyone says how lovely it looks...until the for pulls up next to it. Without exeption, and including the ZS180 driver, everyone says the ST200 has a far nicer paint job. It's a much richer, deeper, shinier, blue.
I guess the ZS180 feels more powerful because it's quicker and lighter. In fact the ST200 has 25bhp more, and IMHO (and most of the staff here) it sounds WAY, WAY better than the MG...

Just my 2 pence too...


Kieren Gibson

On the Focus. Not noted this mentioned anywhere but a tad worrying. In the last three months on motorways I have seen two Focus on their roofs. Both accidents almost identical. No other car involved that I could see (the more recent one was before police or accident personnel arrived, on the M4 going east - I was travelling west) had somehow I presume hit the central barrier, how else could it have flipped over and gone about 200 yards on its roof.
Is there a problem not being aired about the Focus???? Tyres were intact and wheels still spinning as I passed so it was not a blowout.
Has put me right off them.

The ST170 is the same as the Focus SVT here in the States. I have seen them in person, and they really aren't anything to worry about. 170 horsepower I4 engine with a Gertag 6 speed. A nice combination, but the car still weighs around 3000 pounds. Ford should have given us 190+ HP or a turbo to play with.

Besides, the MG is a better looking car.
Brian Salazar

You got any performance numbers for the 170 Brian?

mega,can you read spanish? it does not make good reading if your a ford fan!
0-100 8.2 tops out at 215 kmph
145lbs torque at 5500 rpm hardly enought to worry a MG ZR160/ZS180 in fact you might find yourself worried by 1.8 MG's too :o)
i see one on a low loader yesterday ,looked quite nice but it just aint got the "presence" of a MG!

Nice one Kev...But I don't think MEGA'll let the facts get in the way of his ideas.............!

dave, did you see the state of the interior?
low rent or what!
looks like the zs180 will hit the st170 for 4 will the ultimate zs hit the rs for 6? :o)

Ford is claiming somewhere in the low 7's for a 0-60 time and probably low 15's for the 1/4 mile. But, as with the Contour SVT (Mondeo ST200), the car is built for curvy road hugging goodness, not stand-still drag racing. Preliminary results have shown the Focus SVT to outmaneuver the Mustang SVT sibling, but obviously gets smoked on the straights.

Check out for more info.

The interior is a poor excuse for 'leather', but it will probably sell like hotcakes here since they market the Focus so well.

R.I.P. Ford Contour/Mondeo
Brian Salazar

<<did you see the state of the interior?
low rent or what>>

Eeuuugghhhh - I was wrong!! I'll definately keep the Mundaneo Thanks !


Kieren Gibson

This thread was discussed between 09/11/2001 and 27/11/2001

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