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MG ZR ZS ZT Technical - ZT 190+ Potential new owner

Hi all,

Getting a sensible car next year, took a 160 v6 out with the future wife at the weekend and we both really liked it...

...anyway, I guess from looking at the figures that I'd prefer the 190 (the 160 felt _just about_ powerful enough), as the fuel consumption doesn't suffer much, but the other figures are all positive!!

Loved the sound of the v6 which kind of resulted in us both changing up as late as possible, which didn't help the fuel consumption!

Anyway, have heard a few stories of excesive tyre wear on the (inside) rears due to the z axle(?), is this true, hearsay, fixable etc?

Is it a really thirsty car, or is it just cos we were test _driving_ it!

What about other running costs?

Any other comments welcome, just for the full picture, we're thinking about spending 12.5k on a 2nd hand car, rather than suffer the inital depreciation!

Cheers, CH

C P Hawkins

Buying second hand is a good idea fiscally, initially, but like all performance cars how has it been driven and maintained? Different of course with a 75, you don't assume it's had it's nuts ragged off. That's why I decided to buy new (and also because after 12 months in June 02, most of the second market was still as much as the same price as the Priviledge discount scheme available on some forums and MG clubs.

I settled for the 160 V6, like yourself, I loved the growl. You do need to work the gearbox, in 5th at 70, it's just below peak torque so trying to accelerate in 5th is slow, but 3rd and 4th around 50-70mph, they produce some brilliant performances! But yes, this affects fuel consumption. Mine is often around 250-280 miles to a tank or 20-24mpg. I managed 40mpg once in 5th at 70 on a m/way run, but interestingly, doing it at 60mph it only offered 34mpg!

Whilst 30 extra bhp would be an improvement along with extra torque, I find the 160 satisfying, but the 160 turbo would offer fractionally better performance, and significantly better fuel economy, as would the ZT 135 CDTi, but with a buzzy 4 pot! The CDTi might lack outright power but it's torque is awesome.

As to tyres, I had 25k on all 4 tyres and the dealer says he didn't swap them front to back, so I assume the alignment does affect the rears, but then I prefer to change all 4 at once. I have heard that the wear is resolved by checking rear alignment with a full tank of fuel.

The 190 has a different gearbox and several people confirm that the 160 V6 box is better spaced than the 190. The 190 also sufered a few bearing failures as a result of a bad batch, but that is resolved, or at least sorted on new (post 01) cars.

If you do go second hand then shop around for the best spec to include the toys and leather to help maintain your residuals, and Anthracite and Trophy Blue colours are the most popular so will affect price a little. The cars have a transferable 3yr/60k warranty so make sure there is still some left! That should give you some peace of mind on second hand. Also on pre-Aug 02 models they will have the original firmer suspension as standard. Whilst I don't mind it and see it as part of the sports credentials, it can be a bit jarring and induce a few irritating rattles on bumpy roads. Later cars have a softer set up which doesn't compromise handling too much apparently, but are a lot more comfortable.

Running costs: Servicing is not hugely expensive compared to other premium brands, so far at 34k miles I had an early oil change at 2k (70) and then two services which were around 180-200 each) although I supplied the oil (Mobil 1). My brakes did not need attention at the second service but I am dreading this at the third service since it will probably include discs as well! Most cars seem to show the service indicator at 12-14k instead of the quoted 15k. Insurance on the 160V6 is Grp 14 which works out around 450 for me. The 190 is Grp 16. Wiper blades were reasonable (Bosch 20) after 12 months. I also run it on Optimax but I think that helps maintain optimum performance, so my fuel costs are high.
Tyres are not cheap, the original fit Michelins are 180-200 each, but the apparently equally as good Pirellis are around 130 each.

If you plan track days, then watch out for advanced brake wear and tyre wear! The aftermarket side of the ZT is reasonably well catered with some aftermarket exhaust boxes. Not many air filter replacements that I know of yet, but as the second hand market grows and cars come out of warranty expect more products. I mention this because you may want to consider the 160 and add these to get some extra power. Also, bear in mind, a well run-in 160V6 like mine is a very different car to a new tight 160. It takes up to 15k miles to really loosen up and perform. What mileage was the one you test drove?

Would I buy another? Very definitely, but I would also look at 190 or even better a 260 if funds permitted otherwise, if financially restrained, I would look at the CDTi. Great car, well screwed together, awesome looks (IMHO).



Cheers Martin,

I'm currently running an Elise, but need something more practical, what I really liked about the ZT was the way that it handled really well for a big car, and didn't feel too big and unwieldy! We had an Astra as a rental car for two weeks this summer and that was more of a pain, bad handling, etc... (I could go on - but I won't!).

Anyway, servicing / running costs aren't too big an issue, I expect insurance will also be cheaper, and as long as it isn't really thirsty, ashouldn't be a problem, I'm not a high miler anyway.
Part of the thinking behind getting the 190 over the 160 was that the economy doesn't seem to suffer much comparatively (and I'd love a v6!), and in the 190 I'm less likely to end up pushing it as much - so should see a better return.

I know the 1.8 4-pot turbo gives v. good performance and good economy, but the v6 thing is like a siren calling to me!

Perhaps when I get a chance I'll take out the 160 and 190 back to back...

I've always liked the 75, but personally for me I like all the extras on the ZT, and that huge chrome grill (and mrs CH takes a lot of convincing over cars - but she drove it and really liked it too). I liked the hard suspension, but then coming from the Lotus it's positively soft!

Finally, the one I drove had 6k on the clock, so it probably did have a bit more loosening up to do, i didn't realise that the v6 160 was a grp 14 ins... that might be an influence as I'd like to get mrs CH insured on it (and she's only 23!).

Thanks for your comprehensive reply, it's been very helpful.


C P Hawkins

Have you considered the ZS?

If you're coming from an Elise and you want the V6, then it sounds just up your street.

It's lighter, better performing and better handling than the ZT, although I must concede that it doesn't realy have the "showroom appeal" of the bigger car.
P Sangster


Not much I can add to Martin W's comments, except to say that I have just clocked up 2K miles on my new 190+, and am absolutely delighted with it. It's the best car I have ever owned by a country mile.

What do I like most about it? Well, I could go on for hours, but I'll give you a few points that stand out. First and foremost, I love the head-turning, lane-clearing, aggressively elegant looks (especially in the darker colours, like Anthracite). Secondly, the grin-inducing handling, which is nothing short of astonishing. Thirdly, the high level of interior comfort combined with the exhaustive list of optional equipment available. And finally . . . that wonderful V6 exhaust note! :-) :-) :-)

So what do I dislike? Well, nothing really, but if I wanted to carp I would prefer a lighter clutch and slicker gearchange (although that might just be me; I have driven an automatic for years). It's also a tad thirsty for my liking -- according to the car's trip computer, I struggle to get 30mpg, but this may improve as the car "loosens up", and if fuel consumption is going to be a deal-breaker for you, you need to forget all about six cylinder motoring and get the CDTi!

I'm very fortunate in that I was able to order my ZT pretty much fully-specced. I can therefore give you some advice on the many options I mentioned. I would certainly recommend the "High Line" Alpine audio and satellite navigation, as well as the Harmon Kardon upgrade if you're an audiophile. I have also found traction control, cruise control and the "Driver Intelligence Pack" to be worth the extra I paid for them. Similarly with the Xenon headlamps, which make night driving a real pleasure and enhance the outside lane presence of the car. You may also want to consider the electric sunroof -- it's pricey, but is excellent, and really opens up the dark cabin.

My bottom line regarding the ZT is that it is a very fine car indeed, and you'd be hard-pressed to find anything to match it at the price point (especially with if you have access to the Privilege Discount Scheme and three years free servicing). In summary, I have no regrets about buying one, and can recommend the car unreservedly.

Have you checked out yet?


I have been running a ZT +190 for a 18 months, no problems at all with the tyres. I would highly recommend one, great fun if you dont mind a few minor niggles. Frstly there is a slight wind noise around the wing mirrors, especially on the offside possibly due to the sweep of the wipers. The titanium dashboard facia never quite seems to fit although it does press back into place reasonably easy! The covers for the rear lamp assemblies in the boot fall off all the time, and I mean all the time! Despite these minor niggles I would get another, in fact I am considering a V8 260. It is possible that as mine was an early model +190 that MG have sorted out the niggles.

Hi Martin

where do you get your ZT serviced, I have had mine (190+ in Le Mans Green) for about 8wks now its got 6k on the clock and i will have to start thinking about service soonish, the last time i had the old ZS serviced it cost much more than you specified. just as a side issue mine used no oil between 0 and 1500 miles, 150 ml between 1500 - and 3300 and a further 300 ml to 6k is the normal. I had expected to switch to mobil 1 as you did but not if it is going to burn oil like its going out of fashion.



Hi CH,
I've had my 190+ for about a year now and when I bought it it had 13k on the clock. It's now got 25k on the clock and had no serious problems. It had a pair of front tyres at 13k from the dealer who sold it to me at my request (they had slight uneven wear when I test drove it) and I put a pair of rears on her at 24k (just after a 4 day track session at the Nurburgring). It's nearly due for its 2nd service but has had 3 oil changes since the 13k service (Castrol RS Synthetic), oil consumption been nil between changes.
As for fuel consumption I manage to average about 22 mpg but on a run to Germany she averaged 38.
If you're buying second hand then try to go for one with toys, I managed to get Sat/Nav, Xenons, Air/con, Sunroof, Large Boot Spoiler and Half leather Alcantara interior. The Large spoiler looks much better than the lip spoiler and the Xenons do work really well, only opened that sunroof once!
Already booked a V8 test drive at the dealer but may wait unti the 365bhp is launched before I buy my next ZT.

Steve Tyler

Cheers all,

waiting to see what happens with my current job, and have a couple of other cars to test drive, but MG looking best at the moment.

Fuel consumption isn't a deal breaker, I guess whatever I get after is going to seem thirsty after the Lotus, but i'm more prepared to put up with a bit of extra cash and get the lovely sounding v6!!!

Mrs CH noticed the wind noise on the test drive, but we're still talking very minor niggles here!

Tell me more about these discount schemes (I get a Ford discount and as said earlier, basically negates the first year of depreciation!)... if you can that is!

Just thinking about practicality over the weekend, I know it's a big car, what little experience of parking it I got on the test drive wasn't too bad, but is it quite wide? It seemed to fill up a lot of space at sainsburys....

advice as always, appreciated,

ta, CH
C P Hawkins

Mine is serviced at James Edwards of Chester.

It's no wider than any other car in its class and one thing that helps this is that the thickness of the metal they produce the panels in is greater than most other exec cars. In normal life it's hard to find really wide parking spaces so my ZT has had other car doors opened onto it a fair few times and had no distortion (dings+dents) appear at all. The paint marks they leave behind polish out and leave no other marks.
Discount is being given on new cars if you're an MG owners club member, MG car club member, and a few internet groups have also managed to get a discount scheme of some sort introduced. You'll still be better off going for a used car if your budget is around 12-13k, mine was an x-MGRover Managemant car which is why it was loaded with toys but had a few miles clocked up. It came from Beadles of Dartford which seemed to do the best deals at the time by a long shot.
Steve Tyler

You could try - they are selling the ex-management cars direct. The down side (isn't there always one?) you need ot hoof it to Longbridge to view and collect the stock. They've got 4 190+'s just now.

If things work out I may also be in the market for a similar car, but at the minute I can't see past a Lexus, or a new RX8 perhaps when they are out.

Derek Meldrum

Motorpoint Glasgow were selling a silver MGZT V6 with 240 miles on the clock for 13995 a couple of weeks ago! Might be worth checking their site. I dont expect depreciation would be too sore on that.

Alan Dunlop


haven't checked the forum for a while... still waiting for an interview which will decide if i need to run a decent car or not (next thursday!).

Anyway, the Mazda garage (next door to work) just got in an rx-8 yesterday... very nice, test drive booked!

C P Hawkins

This thread was discussed between 10/10/2003 and 31/10/2003

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