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New models - MG - ZR 160

MG's Z range now the full quid

Top seller: The ZR 160 is expected to be MG Rover Australia's most popular model.

The ZR 160 hot hatch completes the MG Z range in Australia

15 Feb 2005

THE Poms love it and now Australians can too. MG’s full Z range is available Down Under following the Brisbane motor show release last week of the MG ZR 160 hot hatch.

Priced at $30,990 for the three-door and $32,990 in five-door form, MG’s ZR light car will be available here later this month in manual-only guise following its recent facelift, after seven years on sale overseas.

Leather trim is the only option available, at $1850.

Based on the Rover-badged 45 hatch, the ZR is MG Rover UK’s top selling model and, with a 2005 Australian sales forecast of 300 examples, it’s also expected to be MG Rover Australia’s most popular model here.

Powered by the same 1.8-litre all-alloy 16-valve VVT four-cylinder K-Series engine found in the MG TF 160 and Lotus Elise, ZR 160 produces 118kW (160bhp, hence the name) at 6900rpm and 174Nm of torque at 4700rpm.

Driving exclusively through a five-speed Getrag manual transmission, it’s good for claimed 0-100km/h acceleration of 7.5 seconds.

Aimed at driver-oriented males aged between 22 and 39 years old, MG ZR battles for $30,000-plus European hatch sales in the UK with the likes of Peugeot’s 206 GTi 180 and the Renault Clio Sport 182.

MG ZR joins the MG ZS 180 mid-sizer launched late last year, plus MGA’s flagship ZT V8 and V6 models.

Standard equipment for both models includes air-conditioning, six-CD sound system, remote central locking, twin front airbags, ABS with EBD, power front windows/mirrors, volumetric alarm with automatic super locking and security alloy wheel bolts. Complementing the sports-tuned suspension is a sports bodykit including high-mount rear spoiler, side skirts, twin exhaust outlets, black mesh bumper inserts, fog lights, colour coded mirrors and 17-inch alloys with 205/45 tyres.

The sports theme continues inside, where there’s technical grey/ash interior finish, sport seats, perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, and satin-finish rotary air vents.

The 2004 ZR marks the third makeover the Rover 25 has received since the series started as the Rover 200 in the UK in early 1996.

Along with a revised nose with new twin headlights behind a clear lens and new bumpers, modifications were made to the suspension, steering and braking, while the cabin revamp finally banished the ZR/25’s 1990s Honda Civic interior origins.

A five-door ZR120 with a CVT automatic transmission could follow the ZR 160, depending on its popularity.

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