For some years now, MG’s focus has been on providing affordable transport for the masses, rather than sporting vehicles on which the marque cut its teeth under British stewardship. This approach has paid dividends on the sales charts, but until now, nothing in the lineup really catered for enthusiasts.
The 2024 MG MG4 XPower is a very serious effort to capture the performance market and, on paper appears to be a true return to form for the once-hallowed brand. All-wheel drive, 320KW, 600Nm, 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds, and a 12.0-second quarter mile are very serious numbers indeed – that’s 0.4 seconds faster to 100km/h than the fastest HSV ever made!
Building on the solid platform of the MG4 EV – which was the best-selling small car under $40k in October – the XPower dusts off a nameplate from the dusk of MG’s British era. Back then, XPower symbolised the most extreme variants or racing versions of the range, so it’s a fitting nod to the past to see it applied to the hottest version of the MG4.
As you can imagine, we were excited to grab the keys to evaluate what this car is like to live with on a daily basis, as well as put it through Driving Enthusiast’s performance testing regime.
2024 MG MG4 XPower: Specifications
Battery: 64kWh lithium-ion
Output: 320kW / 600Nm
Gearbox: Single-speed auto
Drive type: All-wheel drive
Wheels: F & R: 18×8.0, 235/45
ANCAP: Not tested
Power-to-weight: 5.62:1 (kg:kW)
Official range (WLTP): 400km
Max charging: AC 11kW, DC 140kW0-60km/h: 1.99 seconds*
0-100km/h: 3.82 seconds*
60-110km/h: 2.48 seconds*
1/4 mile: 12.27 seconds at 183.9km/h*
Max acceleration: 1.086g*
100-0km/h braking: 36.38m in 3.01 seconds*
Max deceleration: -1.452g*
Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 73*
Starting price: $59,990
*Figures as tested by Driving Enthusiast on the day. Manufacturers’ claims may be different
2024 MG MG4 XPower: How much does it cost?
Here’s the killer punch: $59,990 (before on-road costs) puts the XPower in a league of its own – it literally has no peers below $100K that offer this level of acceleration (until the BYD Seal Performance arrives). The Kia EV6 GT eclipses its performance, but is almost double the price.
MG will sell you a home 7kW charger for $1199 (not including installation), offering a charging time of nine hours. Alternatively, the MG4 XPower will accept a public fast charger, with a maximum charge rate of 140kW. As always, there is the back-up ’emergency’ charger for 240V home outlets.
Servicing intervals are eminently reasonable too, at 40,000km or every two years. Visits alternate between $296 for a minor and $962 for a major visit – a mere $55 more than other grades of MG4, probably down to the additional e-motor at the front.
2024 MG MG4 XPower: Interior & packaging
The XPower looks striking in Hunter Green tested here – a matte-effect olive green colour which adds $1000 to the price. It contrasts well against the orange ‘XPOWER’ brake caliper covers, peering through 18-inch tomahawk style wheels, shod with Bridgestone Turanza rubber.
Like other models in the MG4 range, the interior is a minimalist affair, with a 10.25-inch touch-screen, and a 7.0-inch screen in front of the driver for the instrument cluster. Equipment-wise, the XPower is based on the Essence, which means heated leather steering wheel, wireless phone charging, electric and heated driver’s seat, voice command, 360-degree camera and more MG Pilot ADAS features.
There’s also an iSMART app that allows remote control of certain functions, but a software update is required to activate this – as well as Bluetooth. It would appear our test car did not have this update carried out.
There’s little to differentiate the interior from the Essence, other than Alcantara seat inserts and orange stitching. It’s not packed to the brim with sporting touches like the Hyundai IONIQ 5 N, for example, but there’s a pleasing subtlety to it.
The infotainment system has a nice look and feel to it, with easy operation of radio, driving mode and the ability to turn off any ADAS systems you might not want to use. Exclusive to the XPower, there’s also a track mode, which shows data on power distribution, lap times and other metrics. At time of publication, it is unclear to DE what the warranty implications are for track use, however – and this information was not available on MG’s online warranty PDS.
Using the Modular Scalable Platform like other variants, it carries with it the excellent head, shoulder and leg room you would expect, without a transmission tunnel to take up space for the middle occupant.
Ergonomically, it is brilliant, with a wide range of adjustable motion for the steering column, and clever use of directional controls on the steering wheel. You can select a favourite with the star icons, as a shortcut to driving modes, HVAC or re-gen, for example. Voice command prompts are helpful when you don’t want to dive into the infotainment screen to make adjustments.
It’s not without its criticisms, however. The wireless charging mat is not grippy enough for the kind of g-force this car generates, which could see your phone violently flung into the passenger footwell. It also takes a while to load the infotainment screen when first started. We’d also like a bit more adjustment from the seats, but things like this would make the price creep up.
2024 MG MG4 XPower: Powertrain & handling
Now for the juicy part. The XPower combines a 150kW front e-motor and 170kW rear, for a combined system output of 320kW and 600Nm. To handle the extra thrust, tweaks to the suspension have been made, which includes a unique spring and damper calibration, quicker steering rack, stiffer anti-roll bars and more, which contribute to a torsional rigidity increase of 25 per cent.
To slow it all down, upgraded braking hardware consists of ventilated 345mm discs, but the caliper specs remain concealed by that orange caliper cover. We can attest to the effectiveness of the uprated anchors, with a stopping distance of 36 metres.
Other changes include an electronically locking differential and torque vectoring for all four wheels. Launch control helps get all that grunt off the line effectively, but we expect this is embedded into the DSC system, as we couldn’t find a setting for this specifically.
Now for the driving impressions. Around town, the XPower surprises us with how fuss-free and similar to an Excite or Essence it is around town, absorbing bumps with a taut but compliant feeling, well isolated from NVH. This is testament to the suspension geometry of the multi-link rear and McPherson strut front ends of the standard car.
But it’s time to unleash the XPower’s full potential, because that’s what we’re all here for, right? Putting the car into Sport mode is a prosaic affair, like its lesser brethren – but the ferocious animal it unleashes is different. Press the go pedal and it seemingly rips a hole in the space-time continuum, as you are pinned back in your seat, wheels intermittently screaming for grip. It’s very fun but how does the chassis cope with all this?
Better than expected, actually. MG has selected a good compromise between everyday usability and usable performance. Lateral grip levels are high, and you can feel the e-differential and electronic systems apportioning torque to the wheels with maximum grip.
The torque vectoring engagement can be mildly disconcerting however, as it can occasionally interrupt power delivery and momentum during a hot corner entry, and then a sudden rush of power can catch you off guard on exit, if you still have your foot on the accelerator. Thus we would encourage you to get to know the dynamics gradually, rather than get in and go hell-for-leather straight away. Turning the DSC off will give you more linear and natural feeling, if you are an advanced driver.
As with other MG4’s, the ADAS systems work superbly well, with adaptive cruise, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, traffic jam assist and autonomous emergency braking. These play a more crucial role with this much grunt on tap, and if you do come unstuck, there’s a five-star ANCAP rating (based on regular MG4). You can read the full report for that here.
The all-important grin factor we were looking for is definitely there, however. The power is well-harnessed by a competent chassis and it is a ball to drive. We’d like to see a more hardcore version with a more serious suspension setup and adaptive dampers, better tyres, and grippier seats. But that could be to the detriment of daily usability.
2024 MG MG4 XPower: Verdict
So, all-wheel drive, affordable price, a new performance benchmark and user-friendly. Does this sound familiar to you? This is a genuine Subaru WRX STI /Mitsubishi Evo moment for the electric era, potentially representing democratisation of supercar performance for the masses.
Forget about all the MG3s and ZSs you see buzzing around in a miasma of woefulness because MG is finally back to its sporting roots. Welcome back, old chap.