MG, the famous British automobile marque now owned by SAIC, announced this week that two new electric vehicles are coming to the European market this year. Actually, make that 1½ new vehicles. The MG5 electric station wagon, sometimes referred to as an estate or a shooting brake, has actually been shown before, but hasn’t been generally available to customers yet. Now the company says it will be in showrooms in October of this year. The Marvel R promises decent range, fast charging, and advanced digital features, all at a very competitive price.
In a company blog post, Matt Lei, CEO for MG Motor Europe, writes,
“When we relaunched the British MG brand under the banner of our parent company SAIC Motor, we made a promise to European drivers: making electric mobility accessible to drivers who are young at heart and ready to embrace a new electric lifestyle. Offering smart, practical, safe and technologically advanced cars is our main focus. With the new MG Marvel R Electric and MG5 Electric, we introduce two next-generation battery electric vehicles that meet the demands of the most discerning European motorists. Such as an attractive range, fast charging capability, advanced safety features and smart pricing. In addition, they are particularly modern and attractively designed.”
The Marvel R Electric SUV
The Marvel R is a battery electric SUV that offers modern styling that bears more than a passing resemblance to earlier examples of the BMW X5, especially in the rear three-quarter view. In its top configuration, it has three motors, one in front and two in the rear, with a total of 212 kW of power and 665 Newton-meters of torque. The base model still has a motor for each rear wheel and adds a 150 liter frunk. The car is 4.67 meters long, which makes it a C segment vehicle. Range using the WLTP standard is said to be 400 kilometers. Here’s the best part. It has an onboard 11 kW 3 phase AC charger and can go from a 20% to an 80% state of charge in about 30 minutes using a Level 3 fast charger.
Inside, drivers will find a full complement of digital features, including a 19.4 inch touchscreen and a 12.3 inch digital instrument panel. The MG Pilot digital driver assist package handles many of the routine driving chores. The car can tow up to a 750 kg trailer and features a 2500 watt vehicle to load center that allows it to power tools and electronics in remote locations. It can also charge up electric bicycles or other vehicles. Carrying capacity of the rear cargo compartment is 357 liters. The Marvel R is expected to go on sale in Europe in May of this year.
MG5 Electric Station Wagon
MG Motor calls its MG5 the world’s first all electric station wagon and says it will start selling the vehicle to customers in Europe in October of 2021. Many of the specs are that same as the Marvel R — 400 km range, 30 minute 20% to 80% recharging capability, MG Pilot, same 2500 watt external power supply and so on. The MG5 makes do with a single 135 kW motor that has 280 Newton-meters of torque. Towing capacity is therefore somewhat less at 500 kg, but cargo space is greater at a whopping 587 liters. There’s a reason why the lowly station wagon is still one of the most practical vehicles ever invented.
Our own Maximilian Holland reported last September the MG5 would be priced at £24,495, “all-in, on-the-road price.” That’s why this is only half a reveal. The car has been introduced previously but not actually on sale. At that price, the MG5 is fully price competitive with many gasoline or diesel powered vehicles. Figure in the lower operating and maintenance costs of an all electric vehicle and the question becomes, why would anyone buy anything else?
The MG5 breaks no new styling ground but is modern and refined in appearance. It doesn’t have any hyperactive design cues like the new electric cars from BMW. For the money (official prices have not yet been released), it would seem to offer good value. Assuming reliability is on a par with other electric cars, it should find a willing audience among European customers.
As a former MGB owner, I was saddened to see the company pass into foreign ownership. But SAIC has done a good job of dragging the company into the modern era. The Marvel R and MG5 are both worthy cars. Hopefully, they will be far more durable and reliable than their namesakes ever were.