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MG ZR ZS ZT Technical - XPower ZT V8 500Bhp Revealed

See thread in MGF General with same title :)

Steve Childs

The press release for those who cant wait to follow the link:


MG has today (July 2) unveiled another Extreme model – MG ZT XPower 500 – one of a number of Extreme MG cars that have been produced to demonstrate the strength, potential and very soul of their outrageous ability.

MG Extreme vehicles are individual developments, not intended for series production, but developed from prototypes to illustrate the integrity and extremities of the chassis and powertrain engineering, with each one outrageously powerful and road legal.

The MG ZT XPower 500 comes just weeks after the company revealed an equally powerful MGF XPower 500, but this time the power is produced from a muscular V8, producing 500Ps and combined with a brutal 400 lb. ft of torque.

With 108bhp per litre, delivered by a 4.6-litre quad-cam V8, Vortec supercharging and aftercooled, the ZT XPower 500 produces a power-to-weight ratio of 312bhp per tonne. Mated to a T56 six-speed manual gearbox, the MG produces awesome acceleration to 100mph in 8.4 seconds. 60mph flashes past from a standstill in
4.5 seconds, dependent on surface traction.

The V8 installation is the first in the MG ZT and preludes the launch in the spring of road going 260Ps versions, before an ‘ultimate’ version with 375Ps is introduced, itself heavily influenced by the ZT XPower 500.

Front engine/rear wheel drive configuration has a weight distribution balance of 56F:44R, producing an ideal mass distribution and yaw inertia, that allows progressive and proportional breakaway at the limits of adhesion, permitting complete driver involvement and the rewards of a controlled driving experience.

Exterior styling provides a purposeful stance while housing the huge 18” alloy road wheels and 245/40 front and 275/35 rear ZR18 tyres. A new wider front bumper has been profiled with harder-edged forms, integrating the wider wheel arches, side skirts and functional aerodynamic appendages.

Styled under the leadership of Peter Stevens, MG Rover’s Product Design Director, a high mounted wing-type rear spoiler dominates the rear end, and provides essential aerodynamic control, tuned for zero lift, over a spectrum of road speeds and yaw angles. Stability is assured whether the MG is operating at 70mph or super-car speeds exceeding 170mph!

Front strut suspension uses a similar layout to the ZT190 and features a tubular subframe. Bilstein dampers, rated springs, anti-roll bars and large alloy 4-pot AP Racing brakes harnessing 330mm ventilated discs, are all specified to give a truly awesome driving experience.

The rear suspension evolves the ZT’s Z-axle, with a tubular carrier for the Hydratrak torque control differential, which incorporates three transverse and one substantial longitudinal suspension link arms. Both front and rear suspension is tuned to provide complete and precise feel to the driver of road and vehicle behaviour.

Inside, Sparco two-tone sports-race seats and competition harnesses ensure the occupants remain firmly restrained in the company of a product capable of generating outrageous acceleration, braking and cornering forces.

Rob Oldaker, Product Development Director, commented: “The MG ZT XPower 500 is an audacious illustration of the excitement, talent and passion, that was latent in our engineers. Given the opportunity to develop an Extreme MG super-car, high on driving exhilaration, their energy has been unleashed in producing a road going sensation.

“The lid that restrained development of MG products in recent years, has been blown off and the results are truly explosive. MG’s new approach – to be sensational and outrageous – is being seen in blistering style. Stunning performances in the Le Mans 24 Hour race and the amazing pace of new model introductions has attracted phenomenal interest.

“The MG ZT XPower 500 is ‘just another’ example of our engineering capability and enthusiasm for this fast accelerating MG brand. The launch in the next few days of the MG ZR, MG ZS and MG ZT, will give driving enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy the MG brand strengths at first hand.”

John Dalton

I find it interesting that this Extreme ZT has a 4.6 litre V8 engine, exactly the same displacement as the current Qvale Mangusta (and future MG X80?)!! I assume it is the same block from Ford, and that it will also be the one to appear, albeit in a "normal" state of tune, in the upcoming ZT V8, in a few months' time. If you think about it, it all seems to make a lot of sense and it looks like we are witnessing not only some very exciting marketing moves from MG-Rover but also some very rational and clever planing of the future...

Maybe Ford's (alledgedly cancelled) plans to create closer ties with Lotus are going to be replaced by a purchase of MG-Rover? Like others, I reckon MG would sit rather neatly in Ford's Premier Automotive Group, somewhere just below Aston and Jaguar, and the supply of Land Rover engines from Powertrain would be secured...

Hmm... it almost looks too perfect to become true...


oh god no. as much as Ford did for Jaguar, I do not want to see any blue ovals on MG. However, perhaps there is some "swapping" going on, where MG is granted easy access to the 4.6L 8 in exchange for Ford using the KV6. I scratch yours, you scratch mine. However, MG-Rover seems to be enjoying that they are the only "large" (well, certainly not "small") independent _British_ car company left. A sellout to Ford would not help this image.
Aaron Whiteman

I don't want to divert this thread from its original intent, but I must speak out on the speculated Ford buyout of MG Rover.

People that I have spoken to here in the USA are always aghast when they learn the truth about the Jaguar being built on the same platform as a Lincoln, utilising a Ford V8 with a different top end. If the American public was commonly aware of this reality, Jaguar sales in the USA would collapse. As a distinct brand with distinct engineering, Jaguar no longer exists. Today the name continues to exist for the sole purpose of getting more profits out of existing Lincoln tooling.

People are also horrified when the learn that Aston Martins are no longer lovingly assembled by craftsmen from the ground up to the buyer's individual specification as a Rolls-Royce once was, but rather are rattled off an assembly line like a Ford Escort.

If MG is bought up by Ford, we can expect the same.

May God Forbid It!
Steve S.

Good points by Aaron and Steve S but I can't help thinking - as the current MG-Rover management has said itself - that the future of the company will be dependent on links being established with some other manufacturer. If given the choice, I would much prefer seing MG in the Premier Automotive Group rather than it becoming just another badge within a VW-Audi-Seat-Skoda type of company. At least Ford seems to understand the concepts of brand value and differentiation.


> Good points by Aaron and Steve S but I can't help thinking - as the current MG-Rover management has said itself - > that the future of the company will be dependent on links being established with some other manufacturer. If given

I think we are seeing these links already. MG is using a Ford V8, Ford is using the KV6. If that isn't establishing links, I don't know what is. In the future, I am sure we will see more of the same.
Aaron Whiteman

Just returned yesterday from the MG saloons press launch and while we weren't able to drive the ZT V8 we were able to crawl all over it and hear it fire up. Yummy! I even taped the sound! Yes, it is the Ford Mustang V8, but with a supercharger bolted in. The MG Rover people said that 500hp wasn't enough - they want to make it 700...
David Knowles

700 hp! So this is what it’s like to have MG financially unshackled. I’m glad there are some insane engineers at MG and I hope they don’t kill themselves.
George Champion

I think you are greatly distorting the relationship between Jaguar and Lincoln. Shared platforms exist for only the S type and the new X type. The S type platform was developed for the Jaguar and adapted for the Lincoln LS and also the new Thunderbird. If you order the S type with the optional 4.0 liter engine it is a Jaguar designed and built engine top to bottom, the same engine used in the XK8. The standard 3.0 liter V6 in the S type is a Ford block but has Jaguar designed heads and induction system distinct from the Lincoln. The optional 3.8 V8 used in the Lincoln LS is a modified Jag V8 with a sleeved block and different induction system. The X type is derived from the Ford Mondeo platform but has a completely different suspension (and quite frankly rides and handles better than the S type or any Mondeo IMHO ). It's 3.0 liter V6 is a slightly modified version of the S type 3.0 liter. However, the Jaguar XK8 and XJ lines are completly and exclusively Jaguar designed and built.
People indeed ought to be aghast if you are telling them that all Jaguars are on Lincoln platforms with Ford V8s under the hood because that is simply not true.

Frank Graham

>>Good points by Aaran and Steve S but I can't help thinking - as the current MG-Rover management has said itself - that the future of the company will be dependent on links being established with some other manufacturer<<

Ah, but Per, who ever said that MG-Rover need necessarily get into bed with another auto-maker? It could also find a partner (or partners) in the automotive component industry...
Rob Bell

Currently 500PS equates to a relatively mild 108bhp per litre, which is nothing special for any forced induction motor these days. 700 would raise that to 152 which is just above the level VW Audi is aiming for the next incarnation of forced induction 4 cylinder 20 valve engines.

Remember that these are headline grabbing one off (or at best very very low numbers) specials to make high profile points to the world. This is working very well.

The view I had of the detail engineering work on this first car showed a very neat packaging operation with many very interesting technical details. It also shows to the world that creating a RWD 190mph version from a previously smooth riding FWD cruiser is more than the company press office hot air. In fact hot air is very well dealt with by a very neat chargecooler system.

The sound was awesome and I doubt any recording will do it justice. Perhaps reference to local building window replacement would give a more accurate representation of the energy from those exhausts.

Roger Parker

Before this thread gets any further -

There's been a couple of assumptions on Ford's ownership of the Jaguar and Aston Martin, which dismiss the strong positive things Ford ownership has done for both Jaguar and Aston Martin.

Let's clear one simple thing up first - Aston Martins ARE NOT being punched off an assembly line "like Escorts". I've been to Newport Pagnell - in lieu of the ancient (and loss producing) hand hammering of panels and hand welding of tube frames, the new Vanquish is put together using completely new, state of the art techniques appropriate for such a supercar. The aluminum and carbon fiber tub are precisely put together using ultra-high tech adhesives, similar to race cars, only much more robustly, given than the real world is a tougher one than the relatively benign world of the race track. Exterior panels are created by aluminum sheet being super heated and vacuum-formed over precise molds - no more panel to panel variation. The whole is assembled by craftsmen on purpose built asembly jig to precise dimensions.

No - it's not the way it used to be - it's better. Much more like a modern race car or a Ferrari, than a fifties car. And not at all like an Escort.

As far as Jaguar goes - well, there would be no Jaguar without Ford. There's no question. No Browns Lane, nor Halewood for that matter, either. One can go on forever about sharing platforms - but there isn't a car company who doesn't. And those that don't quickly go out of business. The question does become, "How well are platform and component sharing handled?" Are you really adding Jaguar character into a Jaguar? Are you making differences where they count for your customer?

One thing Ford cannot be accused of is badge engineering. Everything visible to the eye is different S-Type to LS, X-type to Mondeo. Even the parts invisible to the eye, but can be felt, are changed. The engines, even if they share a common basis, are different, with different character. Would that VW did as good a job differentiating their brood of Audi, VW, Skoda, and SEAT as Ford has done.

Of course, there are quibbles - the interior of the S-Type is a bit plain. It needs a little more "heft" in its luxury touches. There's probably a fault or two in the X-type (although I haven't found it yet).

No, on this side of the grave nothing is perfect, and there wil always be shortcomings to anything done by Man. But, please! There's much to criticize Ford about - but it's handling of Jaguar and Aston just aren't two of them.

Now - would Ford treat MG as well? First off, I don't think MG is even on Ford's radar screen. The engine deal is probably just another of many deals Ford has supplying the specialists in the UK. My guess is that if MG does meet its targets, then the checkbook might come out in Dearborn. But as a not-quite-premier brand, it's hard to tell if Ford's stewardship would be of a "preserve the brand at all costs" approach, like Aston, Jag, Volvo and Land Rover. Or a "yes, carve out an identity, but for your own sake you'd better get your costs in line" like Ford in Europe and Mazda in Japan.

As always, be careful what you wish for. . .

John Z

Not the prettiest engine bay is it? Doesn't exactly make you say "WOW"? Then I suppose it is a development vehicle. All the same I think on the production V8's, taking more care with the aesthetics of the engine bay wouldn't hurt. After all it is a big feature of the car.

Also the colour is DISGUSTING. I think a MG should be more subdued. I think the ZS is nice though, a little more subtle, although the grill looks like Skoda and the headlights and general profile are very BMWesque.

Anyone else agree?

Aston Martin - you are both right. Yes, some models are lovingly produced by the craftspeople at Newport Pagnell, but others aren't. Did you talk to the people there, John Z? I was there before the Vantage was announced and people were complaining "there'll never be another model like this".

Jaguar - the X-type contains the Mondeo drive-train as well as the platform. It is solely for this reason that it is 4WD, the only other alternative would have been FWD, and who would buy a FWD Jaguar? It is made at Halewood, for heavens sake.

Ford are a totally cynical company who have bought the heritage and cachet of Aston, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo and whatever because their own badge is so down-market, then proceeded to wrap up their own components in a shell that resembles something else.

I hate Ford, and have done since the age of 10 at least for some reason. All the more annoying that the XR3i handled so well on the track ...

Paul Hunt

>> Also the colour is DISGUSTING. I think a MG should be more subdued. I think the ZS is nice though, a little more subtle, although the grill looks like Skoda and the headlights and general profile are very BMWesque. <<

I personally like the colour scheme, green on black/grey is quite contrasting and believe it or not, if this was an option, I would be tempted to buy it. The headlights and general profile are very Rover 75. If anything, BMW took the headlight design for their more recent cars from the 75.

Although if I had the choice, I would prefer the MGF Extreme over the ZT Extreme.

Steve Childs

Paul Hunt,

Wow - a kindred spirit. When Ford obtained that fine Brit company Cosworth back, IIRC, in the 1970s and then started putting Ford ovals on the Cosworth engines and Cosworth on their own power plants - cynical was the word then that immediately came to mind. Never forgiven them for that and have not bought a Ford since - company car or private. At that time, I'd only just come to terms with their putting GT badges on most of their humble saloons back in the 1960s, thus, IMHO, devaluing for ever the meaning of those letters: GT. Most of the punters appear like them though. But on Brit roads of late, excluding Fiestas, BMWs appear to outnumber Fords - or is that just in my area!

John McFeely.
John McFeely

For some reason, I don't know why, I don't like Fords either, perhaps I got it from my Brother, he hates Fords as well. I have to grin (can't help it) when a tit in an XR3i tried to out drag me on a dual Carridge way in Birmingham. LOL

Steve Childs

I don't think Ford have ever owned cosworth!(well not all of Cosworth) Cosworth were contracted by Lotus/Ford to produce the DFV in 1966. Colin Chapman allowed the other teams to also be supplied by Ford much to his merit. Not all the DFV's had "FORD" on their cam covers either. The Williams Ford did not. They were sponsored by British Leyland, who stipulated that FORD must be removed. Thus making it the only "Cosworth" DFV.

By the way Look up Ford Falcon GT for a real muscle car.

Paul - My business has taken me to Newport Pagnell, and I have spoken with several there, as well taken a couple of tours.

It is true that the "superleggera" carbuilding has stopped. The sort of hand craftsmanship required to build in this way will not be used again - on a production vehicle. On the other hand, these techniques will be well-used on the restoration side of the house, and with Ford's ownership Aston's prospects for the future have improved, values of the older cars seem to be advancing quite smartly, and the need for these craftsmen's services will be assured.

With Ferrari's now build on aluminum and carbon fiber tubs, and Porsches (still) built on mini production lines, it's not hard to see that the "old-style" production is just that - old. As many times as I'd wish the world would stand still - it doesn't.

Also, Paul, I don't know what happened in your formative years to cause you to "hate" Ford. It may have been something specific to its UK operation, a product, or a series of mistakes made there. On the other hand - it's a big and complex entity. But I can say this without contradiction, the Ford Family are dyed-in-the-wool Anglophiles. Their puchase of Jaguar and Aston were driven as much by emotion as business sense. Which means woe to the man (or woman) who ruins these "crown jewels".

The Ford people I know do know appreciate that their brand needs pumping up in Europe. And Nick Scheele has the responsibility to do just that. But when you look at it from the Dearborn perspective, Ford has had a pretty good reputation (up until recently with this Firestone contretemps) in its home market, and a leadership position in many ways - safety, quality (among US makers), profitability.

Was it "cynical" for Ford to buy its Premier brands? Or was it shrewd investment in the future of the motor industry? After all, something had to be done with all those SUV profits. To Ford's credit, they didn't hive off that money and go off into some dot-com or other business, but put it back into automotive - and by the way, billions of investment into the UK in the bargain.

Yes - over pint I could list my issues with Ford with you - and there are plenty. But everyone I run into from Jag, Aston, Volvo and Land Rover are pretty happy they landed under Ford's big tent.
John Z

Steve Childs said: "believe it or not, if this was an option, I would be tempted to buy it."

Well ... you may get your chance ... ;)
David Knowles

.... it's a far better place to be than GM it would seem. At least the shakers and movers at Ford are 'car' people. Like us.
If I were to take the optimistic line, I think that future Jags will be much better and more individual products than the dissappointing (to me) range of cars- not least because the industry's concept of what a 'platform' consists of is so radically changing. Look at the Fiat model to see what I mean.

No, I think that of all the big car companies to be joined with, Ford is the most sympathetic to the companies/marques they run. Much better than say VW...

FWIW I've never been a Ford fan either. Not sure why. I think it is a character thing- BMC/ BL/ etc etc always seemed to create more interesting/ quirky cars... except for a dull period in the late 70s. One of those things I guess...

Rob Bell

>> Well ... you may get your chance ... ;)

uh oh.. David's in tease mode again ;)

Cool! - I'll start saving then :D

Steve Childs

Engine deals are just that - engine deals, and if you look closely enough, you'll find that just about everybody is in bed with everybody else, in some way shape or form.

PSA just inked a deal with Toyota to help them build cars in France in exchange for some engine and production technology.

Toyota has just inked a deal to produce a car with GM - the Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe, which will take the place of the now-defunct Chevrolet Prizm.

GM is planning on allowing Lancia to use a Cadillac Northstar V8 block for part of the range of it's upcoming Thesis flagship.

Fiat, which owns Lancia, will continue to produce Minivans with PSA Peugeot-Citroën.

PSA is now producing Diesels in cooperation with Ford for the Focus, Mondeo, 307, and upcoming Citroën Xsara replacement.

Ford, meanwhile, produces Minivans with VW AG that are marketed by VW, Ford, and Seat, vans which compete directly with the PSA/Fiat products.

See? We're all connected.

I have to agree with many of the rest of you in saying that I too feel Ford has done wonders for Jaguar & Aston Martin. Ford knows what Aston Martin is all about and really just provides the cash and anything else they need. Jaguar has exploded back into the world market thanks to Ford. How much longer could the XJS have lasted? I like the S-type and it certainly hails back to the marques early sports sedans. It could use a bit more to be perfect, but otherwise a nice looking car. And the new baby jag, go ahead and kick the ass of every BMW you can find. All wheel drive, classy looks and a great price? Ford has done very well here. I just hope they don't screw up Volvo (many rumours of using a lot of Taurus components in new Volvos...... yikes!!!)

Paul Fucito

>>>> Well ... you may get your chance ... ;)

uh oh.. David's in tease mode again ;)

Cool! - I'll start saving then :D>>>

Don't expect it on this years Christmas list though!


Roger Parker

>> Don't expect it on this years Christmas list though!

Thank god for that, I couldn't save up that quick anyway!! I need a new clutch for my F first :(

Steve Childs

Just to clarify, I was thinking of colour schemes, not oily bits ....
David Knowles

Frank G. and others, An article in new Automobile [Aug 2001} "Parts is Parts" expounds on the use of Bin Parts. Talks about the use of Ford parts in both
Jaguar and Aston Martin Vanquish and gives examples of where they were used properly and inproprely.[In the author Robert Cumberford's opinion.] The article is presented in conjunction with an article on the Panoz Esperante which uses a Ford driveline [4.6L DOHC]. Sounds like another hand built we have been hearing about? I guess Ford will sell that engine to anybody . Haven't the British manufacturers been known to do that in the past? I like the door inside door pulls on the cobras. Interesting Read.

ZT Extreme

the whole Idea of a Supercharged RWD quad cam V8 MG is totally awesome!
6's just dont cut it


This thread was discussed between 02/07/2001 and 16/07/2001

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