Welcome to our resource for MG Car Information.



MG parts spares and accessories are available for MG T Series (TA, MG TB, MG TC, MG TD, MG TF), Magnette, MGA, Twin cam, MGB, MGBGT, MGC, MGC GT, MG Midget, Sprite and other MG models from British car spares company LBCarCo.

MG ZR ZS ZT Technical - My ZS-180 Test drive.

Wow, starting to float back down to reality now. I had the ZS-180 out for a great time yesterday, with a brilliant sales lady, who egged my on to try and find the cars limits. The whole experience was fantastic. Originall I had my heart set on the ZT-T (I currently run a ST200 Mondeo Estate), but now I'm not so sure.
Where do I start. OK not so hot stuff first. Not a huge amount of room for a tall driver like myself (6ft 3), and the steering adjustement doesn't have a great range. That said, it was adequate. The gearchange, was short, firm and precise, great firm (but not too heavy) gearbox, although I felt the clutch could've been a bit meatier.
Anyway, that's about the only stuff I wasn't 200% happy with.
The engine noise was good, quite when you need it, loud when you wanted it. The seat are great. Not Recaro's but just as good as the ST200 AND they have adjustable lumbar support.
Nice big boot AND the rear seats fold down ( got a little nervous about this being ex- Accord Type-R owner.
OK, so now the good stuff - What AMAZING handling !!! I have to say, it exceeded my expectations by miles. The Accord's rear seats didn't fold, as there was a solid plate behind them to keep body stiffness and ridgidity...the ZS doesn't need this. There was practically NO body roll, point and squirt and off it went like a thing possesed. Try as I might (egged on very enthusiastically I might add) the back end just would not break. We got into some lovely 4 wheel drifts though...
And the brakes - oh the brakes..I don't think I'm allowed to say from what sort of speed I initially hit them hard - but WOW!!! If anyone knows Wilbury hill coming from Letchworth to Hitchin, they'll know what I mean...The only improvement I would like to see to them, would be to have Nice big RED calipers.
So, the acceleration, grip, brakes, noise, handling all top banana stuff...anything else ?? Oh yes, I can get my paws on a 2.5 V6 180bhp sports car for under 16,500 !!! How ??? I am now seriosly thinking about one. Just think of the tax I'd save by not spending the other 8,500 in my allowance...OK so inside it's not an Accord Type-R. It doesn't have quite the same gearbox, or manic rev range, but most of that's personal taste anyway. The ZS is so much more cost effective than anything else I think I could compare it with, it's just gone to number one on my wishlist.
I do get to try the ZT-T in October, but by the time i've finished adding bits to it, I'll be back at 25k anyway, so this is ONE HELL OF A CAR for the money...actually no it isn't - It's simply ONE HELL OF A CAR!!!
I'll shut up now....



ps Thanks Lady sales person..keeping you anonymous, unless you want otherwise...
Kieren Gibson

I thought you named her on the MGF general board?

What else went on in that car?
David Bainbridge

David, nice write up! I loved the ZS and when the guy asked me what I thought at the end of it "F**K Me" sprang into mind. It really did meet all the expectations I had and then blew them away.

Speaking to the sales guy, the ZT-T actually handles better than the ZT, although I don't know what that's like yet as I haven't been able to find one to drive!! If the ZS with the V6 is this much fun @ 180bhp, I can't wait for the supercharged 1.8 version next year with hopefully nearly 230.

Better still, drop a 500bhp V8 into it ;)

Just imagine that V6 though in the F!!! Life's not fair is it! ;(

Still, hopefully we'll get the Supercharged 1.8 into the F next year :)

Steve Childs

I've only driven one around the block so far- hardly a comprehensive test, but my brief experience with it seems to tally exactly with yours Kieren :o)

I was struck by how comfortable it was- which when one considers the handling of the car is truely staggering. It is FWD- and the car pumps out 180 bhp- so is there torque steer? Er, no. The *only* time I felt any tug on the steering wheel it was on a tight lock with the loud pedal brutally mashed to the carpet in 1st gear. Impressive.

For someone used to living with an MGF (and a 214Si- Yimmy's car) the boot is huuuuge. You coould camp in there!

Oh yeah, I liked that car. The Rover may have to be chopped in for one next year. :o)
Rob Bell

David - DOH!! Must still be too ecited - hence all the spelling errors 'n' typo's aswell.
mmm V6 'F'
Steve - I heard that too about the ZT-T. We're all like kids waiting for Christmas at the mo. I really, really NEED to win the lottery, and make everyone happy, by building a track, buying a fleet of MG's and letting everyone blat around in them to their hearts content...


Kieren Gibson

I know this isn't the 'proper' thread, but how do you get on with the 214 Rob ? I'm thinking of surprising wifey for Christmas by swapping the Integra for a 214 Convertible. I've seen 3 or 4 1995/96 models with power hoods, under 50k miles, for under 4500...


Kieren Gibson

Kieren, I looked at a 200 cabby before I found the 'F. Scuttle shake is rather bad on them, but otherwise great. I know of a 216SE (leather / power hood / etc..) going for around 6K I think - its just turned 3 years old, although they are having trouble selling it I think, over priced it IMO.

214 does benefit from a lower insurance braket though :)

Steve Childs

Steve, Insurance is one of the main things I'm looking at. Being a Honda and a 1600 Twin cam, it does push the insurance up. Which wouldn't be to bad, except it's only done 10k miles in the last 2 years.
Also, if they're around 4.5k now, they should loose a lot more than the Integra, in the run up to Christmas.


Kieren Gibson

Still no sign of the MG Z appearing down here in NZ :o(
I can only dream at the moment, but one thing is for sure, I'd trade in my 230bhp 220 GTi turbo tomorrow for an MG ZS!
Gary Boxall

Gary, I have a feeling quite a few 220gti owners over here will be doing the same :) - a few might wait until next year though until the supercharged version comes out :)

My brother has a 220GTi turbo, but not the money to get a ZS :(

Steve Childs

>>but how do you get on with the 214 Rob ? <<

We've had two versions of the Rover200- the original shaped one (216) and the last one (the 214- the same shape as the current 25)- but never the body shape of the convertible! But based on the experience of these cars, we love them. They've really been completely painless to own- nothing more than routine maintanence (when Yimmy remembers! ;o) Both were reasonably good fun to drive too.

I personally have never driven a convertible 200- but there seems to be plenty around in good nick, which I guess is a good sign.

Completely off the line of the thread is that I have a soft spot for a Rover BRM. IMO they look far superior to the ZR- and would make a far more economical alternative to a ZS... but the engine doesn't sound as nice...

Decisions decisions. Marriage and the potential for sprogs is making me think of practical family cars- and frankly I can't think of many better alternatives to a ZS180! ;o)
Rob Bell

Taken a ZS180 out twice for test drives now.. first time was just to get the experience of the car to see if it is as good as Tif Nedell said. Couldn't wipe the smile off my face for two days.. and felt disapointed when I had to drive away from the show room in my Mondeo 2.0 Vetec.

Second time I took it out with a g force monitor, a nice little device that works out the 0-60, standing quarter mile and terminal speed at standing quarter. Figures for several runs are (with 3 people in the car)

0-60: 7.35 secs
1/4 mile: 15.45 secs
MPH at 1/4 mile: 91 mph

Did several runs but the above are about the average.. just a shame I cant take it out on my own to see what times i could get then.

As for Torque steer Rob I could feel quite a bit going through the gears on acceleration.

Thanks to the dealer for letting me try the car out and maybe I will buy one from them third time of trying!

All i have to do is decide what colour to buy.. me thinking blue (common) or anthracite (cant spell).

Anyone seen a MG Z in LeMans Green or Silver yet or even pictures (calling Steve C)?

Still smiling,
Peter Dignan

Peter, I have some pictures of a ZR in Lemans Green on the site, "Image Gallery / Motor Shows / Sports car '01" - but that's the only one I've seen. I'll be going around the dealers next week trying to find some in every colour, so I can have them on the site. Apparently most seem to have been sold in Yellow, Blue, Red or Athercite [sp].

Personally, I would go for Lemans Green, if its half as good as it looks on the ZR, it will be awesome.

Certainly will be my choice if I get a new 'F next year, well, the 2nd choice. 1st will be a chromaflare-type job that we might be able to get next year! :D - Depends on the cost.

Steve Childs


Interesting to see the LeMan Green.. for some reason I had in my mind the car being the bright green on the LeMan Race car.

Though the green doesnt look as 'Police can see you coming' bright as I thought it might.. might change the colour I am going to buy to green.

Another thing.. I will be out sprinting and hillclimbing the car next year (hopefully last events this year if the waiting list doesnt go up too much )

Peter Dignan

Peter, re: sprinting - Cool. I'll hopefully be sprinting something next year, depends on money really.

See you around if you do :) I wonder what class you would get put into! If enough people want to, I guess they would start a Z Series class. I would have hoped that more F owners would sprint them, but I guess the cost (of the car!!) has something to do with it.

Steve Childs

Peter- it certainly sounds as though you had a much better opportunity to drive the car than I, you lucky chap you!

It'd be good see the car sprinting... are you, by the way, any relation of John Dignan Peter? The idea of sprinting a ZS had crossed my mind too, although perhaps not quite yet!
Rob Bell

>>>>Second time I took it out with a g force monitor, a nice little device that works out the 0-60, standing quarter mile and terminal speed at standing quarter. Figures for several runs are...


Take a crash helmet to your third test drive, and look at the salesman's face when you walk in.

David Bainbridge

Rob - yes I am John Dignan's son.

I would of been out sprinting this year but with the F&M I thought I would scrap it and stick to racing the MG midget.

Steve - I was wondering what class they would put me in too.. hopefully a special MGZS180 class if there are enough.. though the performance wouldnt be far off the MGF VVC so maybe in there.. well I will enter and see what they do.

David - I was thinking of wearing a full Sparco race suit as well... then again they are trying hard to sell the car to me so probably wouldn't mind.. quite suprised how hard they are trying seeing as I am 23, though they might see me as another tyre kicker but my Dads reputation proceeds me.

I do think the car will be a bit of a handful up somewhere like Scamadon Dam Hillclimb or Batings Dam. But Colorne and Wethersfield will be great fun. It will be interesting to see how it compares to my sprint times in a Road Modified MGB from couple years back.

Peter Dignan

>>I would of been out sprinting this year but with the F&M I thought I would scrap it and stick to racing the MG Midget.<<

I don't blame you Peter- been a bit of a diaster making for a rather fragmented/disjointed season. I'm looking forward to next year now, and just enjoying the few remaining events I can get to.

I reckon the ZS would be terrific fun for the purpose of sprinting/hillclimbing. Plus, if you can persuade the powers that be to create a new class for the car, there's a good opportunity to get a good number of points!!!

Perhaps see you later in the year then if the ZS arrives in time. :o)
Rob Bell

This thread was discussed on 21/08/2001

MG ZR ZS ZT Technical index

This thread is from the archive. The Live MG ZR ZS ZT Technical BBS is active now.