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Rover gets sporty

Red-hot Rover: The ZT 190 is powered by a 142kW version of the 2.5-litre KV6 engine.

The MG name surfaces on a tuned 75 and we could see it here

17 Jul 2001

THIS is the MG ZT 190, the sports version of the Rover 75, and if you see it on the MG Rover stand at this year's Sydney motor show, it means you should be able to buy it from about March, 2002.

Powered by a 190 PS (hence the name) version of the 75's 2.5-litre KV6 engine, the 190 pumps out around 142kW in our language, up about 10kW on the standard car.

MG Rover has backed up the beefed-up power levels with stiffer suspension and a sports styling kit that includes 18-inch wheels.

"We are looking at the market and working out what we would need to sell the car for and then we go to the UK and they work out if they make any money on it or not - and that's the procedure we are right in the middle of," said MG Rover Australia marketing and communications general manager David Watson.

"If we have the car at Sydney it will be a confirmed model program, but we won't have it on sale until early next year with a launch at the Melbourne show." Mr Watson said the Estate version, the ZT-T, was also under consideration for Australia, along with a rear-wheel drive V8, which will be launched in Europe in Autumn 2002. He also wouldn't rule out the smaller Rover 45-based MG ZR, which has just been unveiled in the UK also.

While Mr Watson was not prepared to speculate on pricing, thanks to the challenging UK pound exchange rate, or volume levels for the ZT 190, he said if given the go ahead, it would most probably be offered in Australia at two specification levels and it would be "good value".

ZT 190 styling cues include the use of bright mesh grilles, front fog lamps, a rear spoiler and stainless steel heatshield for the large-bore exhaust pipes.

The interior focuses on a "technical" look with fascia panels and console finished in Rhodium silver, with matching silver finished instrument dials. The traditional MG octagon badge features at the centre of a black leather trimmed steering wheel.

Equipment levels are high, including twin front and side (thorax) airbags, ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), alarm and immobiliser, driver's height and lumbar adjustment, remote central door locking, electric front windows and door mirrors, air conditioning with pollen filter or automatic temperature controlled (ATC) air-conditioning, electric rear windows, an aerodynamic enhancing rear boot spoiler and CD autochanger.

The V8, meanwhile, will initially be offered with a 190kW engine, and later with a storming 280kW! If it gets to Australia, it wouldn't go on sale for some months after its European unveiling because of the need to conduct hot weather testing.

"The V8 would be great to have and you could get away with slightly richer pricing because the dollar becomes less of a problem as you go up the range, so in many ways the V8 may be easier to introduce than the base models," Mr Watson said.

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