MG’s new small sedan has been spied in Sydney ahead of a launch in the first half of 2023.
The spied example features a red interior and a prominent Turbo badge on the boot lid.
The MG 5 was approved for sale earlier this year with two powertrains listed in government documents seen by CarExpert.
One of these is a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine, which in China produces either 127kW of power and 275Nm of torque or 133kW and 285Nm in the sportier-looking MG 5 Scorpio. In both cases, it’s mated with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
The base atmo engine is also a 1.5-litre, with 88kW and 150Nm and a continuously variable transmission. This engine is also offered with a five-speed manual in other markets, but this transmission didn’t appear on the approval documents.
While government approval documents sometimes list variants that don’t end up going on sale, MG has previously confirmed it’s looking at offering both naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines.
Though MG has previously indicated it would source the car from Thailand, it’s now understood to be coming from China.
It’s also coming later than had been planned. When the MG 5 was first announced for Australia in late 2021, it had been earmarked for a late 2022 launch.
The unrelated electric MG 5 wagon, offered in Europe, has been ruled out, leaving EV duties to the existing ZS EV and the upcoming, small MG 4 hatchback.
The latter is due here in the second half of this year.
At 4675mm nose to tail, the MG 5 is 45mm longer than the Corolla, and 14mm shorter than a Skoda Octavia liftback. That puts it at the larger end of the small car segment.
The Chinese-market MG 5 features a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a standard 3.5-inch instrument cluster screen and available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, while the Scorpio has a restyled interior featuring dual 12.3-inch screens situated within the same assembly.
In contrast, MG specifies a 10-inch touchscreen and a 7.0-inch instrument cluster screen in the Thai-market MG 5.
A full suite of active safety and driver assist technology is available, including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a surround-view camera.
While sedan sales are declining every year now, the MG 5 will nevertheless give the newly minted top 10 sales player an incremental boost, and likely undercut all competitors.
MG currently sells only one passenger car in Australia: the ageing but hot-selling MG 3 hatchback. The ZS family of SUVs, including the electric ZS EV, is Australia’s top-selling small SUV, while the HS has carved out a chunk of the mid-sized SUV segment.
In contrast, it has the slightly larger second-generation MG 6 in China, as well as a new mid-sized sedan called the MG 7. That gives MG more passenger cars than SUVs in its home market.
The company confusingly sells two different vehicles globally under the MG 5 name: the new sedan, which entered production in 2020, and the aforementioned electric wagon based on the Chinese-market Roewe ei5.
MG’s last foray in the Australian small car segment was also among the larger in the segment.
The MG 6 sedan and hatch, almost identically sized to the new MG 5, were introduced here as part of the brand’s unsuccessful first launch under Chinese ownership in 2013, and the hatch was part of the brand’s more successful relaunch in 2016.
Featuring underpinnings that could be traced back to the Rover 75, the MG 6 (later MG 6 Plus) wasn’t as popular as the brand’s other models. Just 900 were sold between 2017 and 2019, when it was discontinued.
We didn’t get the first-generation MG 5 here, which was a small hatchback sold in China from 2012 to 2018.