Update: ‘Driving Impressions’ section added.
At the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show, MG showcased its vision of a two-seater sports car using the MG Cyberster concept. Ahead of the brand’s centenary in 2024, the final version that customers will be available to buy has arrived.
The 2024 MG Cyberster debuted at the brand’s UK headquarters in Marylebone, London in May 2023, but only the media and company officials were invited. Its global public debut took place at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2023, which took place between July 13 and 16, 2023. Here’s everything we know about the road-ready electric convertible sports car:
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 features a prominent splitter to improve downforce.
There are large honeycomb-shaped openings in the bumper that give it the appearance of being split. 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 Cyberster has a rollover protection unit integrated behind the seats. The sculpted back features swanky but distinctive full-LED taillights. Lit up, the primary LED strip surrounds the pronounced arrow-shaped turn indicators on three sides. The comprehensive diffuser helps improve aerodynamics, besides the car’s street presence.
In contrast to the concept, the production model has a proper roof. The Chinese certification chart suggests that customers will have a choice of two roof colors: black and red. There’ll be various brand logo, hub cap, model badge, and wheel options, too.
In the concept car, the overhangs were extremely tight. However, in the final product, this has changed. The scissor doors have been retained, the door handles are concealed, and the sharp tail lamps now feature wider arrow-shaped structures compared to those on the concept vehicle.
On August 25, 2023, Shao Jingfeng talked about the MG Cyberster during an interview with Yiche. Jingfeng is the Design President of SAIC Motor R&D Innovation Headquarters, General Manager of SAIC UK Technical Center, and General Manager of SAIC UK Holdings. The most complex aspect in the development of the Cyberster were the scissor doors and soft top. A lot of radars were installed to prevent the scissor doors or their paint from getting damaged, and thanks to their electric operation, they’re easy to close, Jingfeng added.
On the soft top
Soft tops are often prone to water leakage, but the Cyberster is safe from that common problem. During the second day of the Auto Shanghai 2023 press conference, the media drive took place in heavy rain, and according to Jingfeng, not a single drop of water entered the cabin. He also noted that the Cyberster has undergone rigorous rain tests, with intensity far exceeding typical real-life downpours.
The roof can be folded out and stowed back in with the electronic operation. The fabric roof should be lighter and more convenient than a metal roof. Additionally, it will be cheaper to manufacture.
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.
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. A regular steering will likely be required, one that may hinder the view of the display.
As you can see in some of the images in this section, MG has created a slightly different version of the interior for markets where it’s not feasible to offer a steering yoke. This version has a flat-bottomed steering wheel instead.
Waterfall-type center console
A waterfall center console houses a fourth screen in the car. It’s a tablet-like portrait for adjusting the temperature, changing speaker volume, and operating various other controls of the car. The gear selector is tucked into the same panel, on the right side of the touchscreen (in the RHD version). The floor console houses two cupholders and a closed storage box, adding some practicality.
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.
The MG Cyberster is based on the EV-exclusive 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.
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 is 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. In China, reports claim the range, depending on the configuration, will be anywhere between 501 and 580 km (301 and 360 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)|
Select motoring journalists have driven the Chinese-spec Cyberster in a single-motor RWD variant and shared their reviews. If the Euro-spec model does turn out to have a different chassis tuning, we believe the changes could be more in favor of improving driving dynamics than comfort.
The Cyberster feels much lighter and much more agile than what one would expect from a car that weighs over 4,000 lbs. It’s quick to respond when making turns and doesn’t require a lot of concentration, which makes it easy and fun to drive. Accelerating from 0 to 62 mph takes just 4.5 seconds, and the dual-motor AWD variant would be even quicker, meaning the Cyberster will lock horns with the upcoming Porsche 718 Boxster EV.
MG knew the Cyberster would be the first sports car for many customers, so it has engineered the electric roadster such that even novice drivers can have plenty of fun behind the steering wheel. The car turns into corners precisely and offers superb acceleration, but it feels effortless. The Cyberster is just as pleasurable on the passenger seat, brilliantly soaking road undulations and offering great comfort despite a stiff suspension setup.
Price & Release Date
The MG Cyberster will likely be priced at over GBP 50,000 (USD 61,200) in the UK. 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 plans 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.”
During the interview with Yiche, Lu Jiajun, General Manager – MG, SAIC (passenger vehicle), said that the Cyberster should be available in the UK in April or May 2024.
Officially, the MG Cyberster will arrive in 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
China will be the world’s first market to get the MG Cyberster, Jiajun indicated during the interview with Yiche. He said that the domestic launch of the electric roadster is expected in Q4 2023 (October-December 2023).
The MG Cyberster is expected to be priced quite attractively in the brand’s home market, as per an Autohome report dated July 24, 2023. An alleged leaked document states CNY 239,800 (USD 33,330), CNY 254,800 (USD 35,414), and CNY 269,800 (USD 37,499) as the prices of the electric roadster in its base, mid-level, and top-end variants, respectively. If the figures are accurate, that would mean it’ll cost 51% less than the BMW Z4 (in the base variant), which is a gas model. For reference, the German roadster starts at CNY 493,900 (USD 68,647).
The MG Cyberster will be available even in Thailand, where it was available to reserve between 2021 and 2022. According to a post dated February 5, 2022, on mgevs.com, the Thai launch of the electric sportscar will take place by the end of 2023. However, we think that the timeline may have changed to 2024 by now.
The Cyberster is likely going to Australia and New Zealand as well. Quoting an MG spokesperson, CarExpert reported on August 2, 2022, the company is reviewing the Cyberster for Australia and New Zealand and is exploring various configurations of the same.
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 of returning 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 a 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