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MG MGF Technical - MGF VVC performance

I swapped my VR6 Highline for an MGF VVC two weeks ago and overall I am very happy with it. One thing that is bugging me slightly though is the performance of the MG.

On paper there is very little between the VR6 and the VVC in 0-60 times (both quoted at 7.0 seconds to 60 mph). But my VVC feels much slower than the VR6 did and from my very crude and unscientific tests seems more like 8 secs to 60.

Before anyone blasts me out of the water for being performance obsessed and a speed merchant etc I do appreciate there is more to car ownership than the traffic light grand prix. I just want to know if mine is slower than it should be or whether the performance figures are exaggerated.

Oh - and yes, I am sure it is a VVC. It has got the right wheels, the right rev limit and the right engine plenum!

Any help would be appreciated!


R Johnson

The VR6 achieves its performance with fabulous levels of torque - it doesn't need to rev. That torque is available instantly and makes the car feel fast.
The VVC hasn't got the same level of torque and only gets the performance by revving hard - fortunately the car seems to thrive on this - and just gets faster.
The VVC can achieve a 7sec 0-60 time(*) - just make sure you use the full rev range - frequently!. A K&N airfilter may help (an airfilter change is the most effective 'upgrade' on the VVC - by far)

(*) as tested by my son and his mate at Castle Combe, without my prior knowledge !

Thanks Steve.

R Johnson

My VVC was sluggish a year ago when purchased used with 9000 miles.
The car needed an air filter change and spark plugs.
The engine is designed to rev to 7000rpm and frequent use should be made to unleash the performance.
Persevere as it will become quicker.
Mine was driven by a timid lady who by her own admission did not drive fast.

A D Harrison

Mine has been driven by an oldish lady carefully for the last 4 years. Rest assured that I explore the full rev range when ever the opportunity presents it's self...

I looked in the service schedule and it says the sparks need replacing after 60K (mine has 48k on it). Maybe it is time for a plug change to give it a new lease of life?

R Johnson

An experienced mechanic once told me that a car engine is rather like the human body. Too much exercise and it wears out. Too little and it gets lazy.

My VVC felt - and was - really sluggish when I bought it at 11,000 kms, and the gearchange was mushy. Also previously owned by a "careful" lady who probably never exceeded 4,000 revs, ever.

A mere 2,000 kms and 3 weeks later of my driving (regular revving to 7,000 revs, always on a warm engine of course, double-delcutching, etc) and the car was, literally, transformed. Throttle response was electric, and the engine even sounded gruffier.

R, yours will probably take longer to loosen up, it's been "straighjacketed" for so long. But it will, and beleive me, you'll enjoy it much more. The consolation is that is has less engine wear than the average F of that age.

Oh and yes, replacing the plugs will probably help too.
Anthony Braham

Oh and you can't really compare a 1.8 4 four-pot with a 2.8 V6. The VR6 is almost double the cubic capacity and has two extra cylinders... .

But on the road the lighter MGF is it every bit as quick as a VR6 Golf up to 60 mph.
Anthony Braham

I went to have a look at 2 VVCs yesterday - both essentially identical (same mileage, age, full MG history, 1 owner, etc). They both drove very differently - one went just as I'd expect a VVC F to, nice and responsive, slightly rubbery but smooth and easy gear change, even into reverse. The other, in comparison, was a bit of a dog - felt very gutless (like driving a "normal" saloon car) and the gearchange was quite notchy. Took a couple of tries to get into reverse.

I didn't buy either (but was very, very tempted by the first car!), the question is if I come across other cars which feel lathargic is this really something which will pass with more enthusiastic use? Is one a better buy than the other from a wear point of view?

Tim Jenner


I'd change your plugs asap, don't bother about the platinum tipped/long life unless you intend not to peer into the engine bay yearly. Swap the air filter - good compromise is the K&N but from your previous ownership I'd say you'd be disappointed by the K&N's performance - lots of noise, better performance but still has a 'lag effect'. Pay more and get an ITG or Pipercross Viper (enclosed filters). I'd also be inclined to change the plug leads. All of these are very simple diy mods do-able all at the same time on a Sunday afternoon.

Consider the T160 alloy throttle body and finally an MS performance exhaust next.

Do these, then come back and tell us what you think then.

Gaz R

My VVC 97 is a ton quicker than my mums trophy. Why? Cos i rag mine and she never hits above 4000 revs. Its simple, K-series engines need to loosen up. Just keep giving it plenty and the car will thank you for it later. And if your worried about the effect on the engine life, BOTH my vvc AND her trophy had head gasket failure with 50 miles of the 45K mark.

But give the engine time to warm up before doing this..... the VVC unit likes oil.......

Lastly the plugs. Definately change them. Quickly. 60K miles? Mine are change every 10K. And if its any consolation, i've kept up with a VR6 in my VVC. You weren't racing an MGF in MK around september last year were you? :)))))


This thread was discussed between 29/04/2003 and 07/05/2003

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