A version of the MG 5 sedan will now enter Australia’s small car segment early next year, having previously been earmarked for a late 2022 launch.
However, CarExpert understands the vehicle may have a different name when it arrives here.
“We are currently reviewing the MG 5 for the Australian market and exploring different variants. At this stage, we can expect to see this model in Q1 2023,” said a spokesperson for MG Motor Australia.
The company confirmed the MG 5 will feature an internal combustion engine, but may not wear the MG 5 nameplate.
The MG 5 (or whatever it is called) will be the company’s second passenger vehicle sold here alongside the smaller and cheaper MG 3, which is the long-running light car top-seller.
The company plans to expand its non-SUV range significantly next year, with its Volkswagen Golf-sized MG 4 Electric hatchback – designed from day one for worldwide exports – also due by mid-2023.
It’s unclear what the MG 5 will be sold as here, though in the Chinese market there’s a more powerful, more aggressive-looking version of the MG 5 called the Scorpio.
In the Chinese market, the front-wheel drive MG 5 is offered with a choice of a naturally-aspirated 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine producing 88kW of power and 150Nm of torque or a turbocharged 1.5-litre with 127kW and 275Nm.
The less powerful engine is offered with a choice of five-speed manual or continuously variable transmissions, while the turbo mill features a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
The MG 5 Scorpio features a higher-output 133kW/285Nm tune of the turbocharged 1.5-litre four, with a claimed 0-100km/h time of 6.9 seconds.
It’s unclear whether MG still plans to source the Australian-market MG 5 from its plant in Thailand, though the company previously indicated this would be the case.
Should it do so, it’ll be the first MG to be exported to Australia from the company’s plant there rather than China.
In Thailand, the only engine is the naturally-aspirated 1.5-litre four, mated to a continuously-variable transmission.
In a segment in Australia where, thrifty Toyota Corolla hybrid aside, every rival sedan produces over 100kW of power, that would be an unusual choice.
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 MG 5 features a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system and an available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, while the Chinese-market Scorpio has a restyled interior featuring dual 12.3-inch screens situated within the same assembly.
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.
The MG 5 will give the Chinese-owned brand a rival to the likes of the Hyundai i30, Kia Cerato, Mazda 3, Subaru Impreza and Toyota Corolla sedans, though the small sedan market has fewer options nowadays following the departure of entrants from Ford, Holden, Honda and others.
MG currently sells only one passenger car in Australia in 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.
The company confusingly sells two different vehicles globally under the MG 5 name: the new sedan, which entered production in 2020, and an electric wagon based on the Chinese-market Roewe ei5.
It sells both models in Thailand, though the older wagon is badged EP Plus there.
MG has been known to sell vehicles under different names outside of China. That previously mentioned MG 4 Electric is called MG Mulan in China, for example.
The MG logo is also affixed to both Roewe and LDV/Maxus models, with the LDV T60 sold as the MG Extender in Thailand and the Roewe Marvel X electric crossover badged as an MG in Europe.
The upcoming introduction of the MG 5 – or whatever it’ll be called – sees the brand return to the Australian small car segment.
The almost mid-sized MG 6 sedan and hatch 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.