Update: ‘Production model’ sub-section of ‘Design,’ ‘Waterfall-type center console’ sub-section of ‘Interior,’ ‘Range’ sub-section of ‘Specifications,’ and ‘Price & Release Date’ section updated.
At the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show, MG showcased its vision of a two-seater sports car using the MG Cyberster concept. To celebrate MG’s centenary (2024), the brand is looking to fast-track the production version of the Cyberster to offer an ‘affordable sports car’ for enthusiasts, according to an Autocar report dated February 7, 2022.
The development is no surprise as an MG electric sports car has been anticipated since 2021. CarAdvice Australia stated in April 2021 that the exciting MG Cyberster would enter production for both left- and right-hand drive markets. The information was communicated to the publication by a spokesperson for the brand.
SAIC’s London design center did most of the MG Cyberster’s design (concept version), ensuring the car turned out as British as possible. According to a report from Auto & Design, the first studies came up in the UK, where the designers drew to a large extent on the brand heritage and the core of European driving culture. The exterior work, from sketching to digital mock-up, and scale modeling, almost entirely took place in the UK. In the final stage of the design process, the London-based team members visited their counterparts in Shanghai, China.
The Cyberster concept is a proper European roadster design with a long and low nose, a steeply raked windscreen, and a rearward cabin. The two-door, two-seater electric sports car concept, which the company says takes a few design cues from the MGB roadster, comes with ‘Magic Eye’ headlamps that open when turned on. The black grille, dubbed ‘Windhunter’ (as reported on cardesignnews.com), is a nod to the past, with the headlights positioned above the grille. MG says the electric sports car features flattened ‘kamm tail’ rear, and stands out with the ‘hacker blade’ alloy wheels.
The production MG Cyberster lacks the concept’s dramatic design, but it has a special appeal. It looks to have adopted proportions similar to entry-level sports cars car like the BMW Z4. Be that as it may, it does not appear as fluidic from the rear as the Toyota Supra or Nissan Z.
The silhouette resembles the concept, but that’s about it—the rest of the car has been extensively redesigned to comply with the global homologation rules. The gaping front grille has been replaced with a more conventional unit. It appears aggressive with sharp lines and it features a prominent splitter to improve downforce.
There are large honeycomb-shaped openings in the bumper that give it the appearance of being split in two. It could be housing sensors for L2/L2+ autonomous driving features. There are triangular vertical air inlets on the corners, right below the headlamps, that resemble BMW’s Z4.
The production MG Cyberster has a rollover protection unit integrated behind the seats. The sculpted back features swanky but distinctive-looking full-LED taillights. Lit up, the primary LED strip surrounds the pronounced arrow-shaped turn indicators on three sides. The spy photo also reveals a comprehensive diffuser that could help improve aerodynamics, besides the car’s street presence.
In contrast to the concept version, the production model has a proper roof. The certification picture below suggests customers will get a choice of two roof colors: black and red. There’ll be various brand logo, hub cap, model badge, and wheel options, too. With smaller wheels and higher ground clearance, it looks more compact and less aggressive.
Among the appealing characteristics of the concept version was its steeply sloping roofline, which didn’t translate to the production version. In the concept car, overhangs were extremely short, but this is not the case with the final product. It is a good thing that the scissor doors have made the cut, the door handles are hidden, and the sharp tail lamps have arrow-shaped structures that are wider than those on the show car.
On the production MG Cyberster, the roof can be folded out and stowed back in with ease thanks to the electronic operation. The fabric roof will be lighter and more convenient than a metal roof. Additionally, it will be cheaper to manufacture, making the car more affordable. MG UK’s design head Carl Gotham told Autocar earlier that the production version would wear a more ‘toned down’ design compared to the concept. He added that the new electric sports car would capture the brand’s sports car DNA and be technologically advanced.
Interior & Features
As expected, the interior of the production MG Cyberster is far less radical than the concept. Even so, it looks strikingly more futuristic than some of its gasoline-powered competitors.
Triple-screen setup & steering yoke
Behind the steering yoke, there is a triple-screen gaming computer setup with all displays on a single panel. This steering yoke has an F1-inspired design that gives the driver an open view of the main driver information display and the road ahead. A bridge-type center console appears to house a touchscreen for controlling the climate control and infotainment system functions. The two-tone red and white color scheme and the shiny metallic finish of the rollover hoops further enhance the premium look.
The triple-screen panel behind the steering yoke has rounded corners, and its curvature isn’t exactly subtle. The steering yoke has gamepad-like joysticks, paddles, which may adjust regenerative braking intensity, and a red button, to engage a boost function.
A more recent spy picture (view on Cochespias.net) has given an even better look at the interior of the Cyberster, showing two of the three clubbed displays turned on. The instrument cluster displays a red-colored Cyberster in a setting. Red is the communication color of the Cyberster, which works well for MG in China, where it’s widely associated with good fortune, celebration, and prosperity. The steering wheel is upholstered in matching red material, and while it’s not the case with this particular prototype, the dealer-bound car will likely have the same on the dashboard and door panels, too.
Waterfall-type center console
A waterfall center console houses what looks like analog controls for the car’s climate control system. There’s a fourth screen in the car, a tablet-like portrait unit tucked into this console. The floor console houses two cupholders and a closed storage box, adding some practicality. According to a report CAR published on May 11, 2023, it houses the door release buttons and gear buttons (D, R, N, and P) as well.
Features of the MG Cyberster concept that could be relevant to the production car include intelligent driving modes, ‘active-upgrading’ technology, 5G connectivity, and level 3 autonomous driving capability.
According to the CAR report, the steering yoke is unlikely to be offered in the UK, as it doesn’t come with a steer-by-wire system, which means maneuvering the car with it would be difficult on UK’s B-roads. Regular steering will likely be needed there, and that may block some view of the central display of the wraparound screens. Thus, the wraparound screens might be set higher.
Reports say that the Cyberster is based on the Nebula platform, called Modular Scalable Platform (MSP) in Europe. The new platform, which debuted in the MG4 Electric, is suitable for vehicles with 2,650-3,100 mm wheelbases, allowing SAIC’s car brands, including MG, to create models with various body styles. On September 13, 2022, during the digital premiere of the Euro-spec MG4 EV (MG4 Electric), Xinyu Liu said that the MSP allows launching “various kinds of cars, from A to D segment, sedan, SUV, and even a sports car.” Liu is the CEO of SAIC Motor Europe.
According to a report from autohome.com.cn, Nebula is a dedicated EV platform. Models based on it can get 800-volt charging technology that allows adding 200 km (124 miles) of range in just five minutes and charging up to 80% level in only 15 minutes. The low-end EVs with 400-volt charging technology will gain 100 km (62 miles) of range with five minutes of charging and take half an hour to reach the 80% level.
In February 2023, a spy photo on Facebook page Ev DriveX showed the Cyberster with a small boot, which could be good for a few shopping bags. The top-load design will make it hard to fit large objects in, but at the same time, the skateboard platform could maximize space. In the same spy shot, silver rollover protectors can be seen, as well as an all-black interior.
Dimensions & capacities
The MG Cyberster measures 4,535 mm (178.5 in.) in length, 1,913 mm (75.3 in.) in width, and 1,329 mm (52.3 in.) in height, and it has a 2,690 mm (105.9 in.) wheelbase. It tips the scale at 1,850-1,985 kg (4,079-4,376 lbs.) depending on the configuration.
The production Cyberster’s other commonality with the MG4 could be the One Pack battery system, called Rubik’s Cube battery system in China. The compact hatchback uses SAIC’s flattest battery, one that measures 110 mm tall. That’s an industry-leading height (the lower the better), MG claims. Plus, One Pack battery packs are swappable, meaning customers can opt for a smaller unit initially and then replace or upgrade to a longer-range battery pack when needed.
The production Cyberster may come with 64 kWh and 77 kWh (gross) battery pack options, as per the CAR report. The maximum possible WLTP range of the road-ready electric roadster will likely be 330 miles.
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has published data indicating there are at least three variants of the production MG Cyberster. The base configuration sports a 231 kW (310 hp) rear motor and has a 193 km/h (120 mph) top speed. The mid-level configuration uses a 250 kW rear motor and is only slightly faster, being capable of clocking 195 km/h (121 mph).
The top-end configuration employs a 150 kW (201 hp) motor at the front and a 250 kW (335 hp) motor at the rear. While the other two configurations have a RWD drivetrain layout, it has an AWD drivetrain layout, which makes it more practical for year-round usability. Plus, it has an even higher top speed – 200 km/h (124 mph). Additionally, we expect different wheels, tires, brakes, and other exclusive features to please performance enthusiasts.
|Aspect\Specification||Base MG Cyberster||Mid-level MG Cyberster||Top-end MG Cyberster|
|Length||4,535 mm (178.5 in.)||4,535 mm (178.5 in.)||4,535 mm (178.5 in.)|
|Width||1,913 mm (75.3 in.)||1,913 mm (75.3 in.)||1,913 mm (75.3 in.)|
|Height||1,329 mm (52.3 in.)||1,329 mm (52.3 in.)||1,329 mm (52.3 in.)|
|Wheelbase||2,690 mm (105.9 in.)||2,690 mm (105.9 in.)||2,690 mm (105.9 in.)|
|Curb Weight||1,850 kg (4,079 lbs.)||1,885 kg (4,156 lbs.)||1,985 kg (4,376 lbs.)|
|Gross Weight||2,075 kg (4,575 lbs.)||2,110 kg (4,652 lbs.)||2,210 kg (4,872 lbs.)|
|Front Track||1,616 mm (63.6 in.)||1,616 mm (63.6 in.)||1,616 mm (63.6 in.)|
|Rear Track||1,629 mm (64.1 in.)||1,629 mm (64.1 in.)||1,629 mm (64.1 in.)|
|Front Overhang||955 mm (37.6 in.)||955 mm (37.6 in.)||955 mm (37.6 in.)|
|Rear Overhang||890 mm (35.0 in.)||890 mm (35.0 in.)||890 mm (35.0 in.)|
|Tire Size||245/45R19, 275/40R19, 245/40R20, or 275/35R20||245/45R19, 275/40R19, 245/40R20, or 275/35R20||245/45R19, 275/40R19, 245/40R20, or 275/35R20|
|Front Motor||No||No||Yes, 150 kW (201 hp)|
|Rear Motor||231 kW (310 hp)||250 kW (335 hp)||250 kW (335 hp)|
|Top Speed||193 km/h (120 mph)||195 km/h (121 mph)||200 km/h (124 mph)|
Price & Release Date
The MG Cyberster will likely be priced at over GBP 50,000 (USD 62,138). It will only be available in well-equipped trims, as, according to CAR’s source, an entry-level grade doesn’t make sense. The person privy to the unannounced details has suggested electric doors, electric roof, and all the screens will come standard. The difference in the configurations will be the performance levels, which allow going “really fast” or “crazy fast.”
Officially, the MG Cyberster will arrive in the UK and other European markets in Summer 2024. According to a report Autocar published on November 2, 2022, deliveries in the UK will commence in H1 2024. Thus, June 2024 could be the month customers start receiving their cars in the brand’s original home market.
Asia & Oceania
The MG Cyberster’s target markets will include Thailand. MG was accepting reservations for the upcoming electric roadster in the region between 2021 and 2022. According to a post on mgevs.com, the company plans to conduct the regional launch of the electric sportscar by the end of 2023.
The Cyberster is likely going to Australia and New Zealand as well. Quoting an MG spokesperson, CarExpert reported on August 2, 2022, that the company can confirm that it is reviewing the Cyberster for Australia and New Zealand and are exploring various configurations of the same. The electric roadster “is definitely on the cards” for Australia, David Giammetta, MG’s PR manager in the country, said at the MG4’s local debut recently, Chasing Cars reported on March 12, 2023.
MG in the United States
In 2018, British publication The Telegraph spoke to Alan Magnuson, who managed UK liaison for the MG Car Club in the United States. He estimated that there could be about 30,000 families in America that own MG cars. He claimed that MG produced 511,000+ MGs from 1962 to 1980, and 60 percent of the production was shipped to North America and that more than 50 percent of the MG cars produced after World War II were sold in North America. The MGB and the MGA appear to be local favorites.
MG relaunched in the North American market by entering Mexico in 2020 with two crossover SUVs. In the U.S., the MG brand has been absent for about 40 years. While it has hinted at the possibility to return to the United States at least since 2006, previously having aborted plans to set up a production facility in Oklahoma (as reported by NYTimes.com), the EV-friendly Biden administration policies could spark conversations at the highest levels in the Chinese HQ to reopen the file.
Sports cars are loved by the public, but they hardly ever buy them. The business case for this body type has weakened over the years, leading to the discontinuation of many fabled nameplates, and options have evaporated in the mainstream segments. In the case of MG, the brand is taking a long-term view and not discounting the big PR and marketing gains that an electric sports car launch brings with it.
While MG stands to benefit from revitalized brand perception among Europeans and others abroad, the Cyberster is sure to also be a major win for consumers who are looking for an electric roadster that won’t burn a hole in their pocket!
Featured Image Source: SAIC