MG SV-R: MG SV-R roars again

200mph-plus claimed for 525bhp supercharged version

MG is back. Or is it? It’s hard to tell these days. You can read all about MG’s ‘official’ return on the right, but what’s got our attention is the resurrection of the SV-R.

Remember MG’s flagship? It had a fairly convoluted gestation, starting life as a De Tomaso Bigua at the 1996 Geneva motor show, then becoming the stillborn Qvale Mangusta before MG stepped in during 2001. Even then the SV-R didn’t appear until the end of 2004, by which time it was no longer an accessible £45,000 TVR rival, but a full-on carbon-bodied supercar costing £85,000.

A few did find their way to owners (we even ran one on the Fast Fleet for a while), but when MG Rover bit the dust in 2005 everyone assumed the SV-R was dead. And so it would have been were it not for the determination of Will Riley (of Riley cars fame).

He stepped in and bought the leftover chassis from MG Rover’s administrators, Pricewaterhouse- Coopers, and for the last few years has been redeveloping them with new composite bodies and setting up for production in a new facility, trading as MG Sport and Racing Europe Ltd.

Leaving aside questions over his claim to be able to use the MG badge – hotly disputed by Chinese firm NAC, which is about to bring back the MG TF (there’s an on-going court case, see below right) – Riley is making some grand claims: not least the fact that he’s developing an electric version.

But it’s V8 power that underpins the model-range – specifically the Ford Mustang’s 5-litre V8, available in three states of tune, from 375bhp up to a mighty 525bhp for the supercharged WR-SVS flagship.

Claimed figures for the latter are 0-60mph in 3.6sec and a 207mph maximum, the acceleration aided by the carbonfibre bodywork keeping weight down to 1400kg.

Prices range from £75,000 to £86,000, and there’s talk of a stripped-out ‘Club Sport’ version with 585bhp. Also in the pipeline is a convertible and an entry-level glassfibre-bodied £35,000 3-litre model.

So plenty to keep the new facility, at Tenbury Wells in Worcestershire, busy. So far only three firm orders have been placed, although Riley, whose background is as an automotive consultant, ultimately hopes to produce 2000 cars per year.

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