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|Manufacturer||MG Rover / Rover Group / Phoenix Venture Holdings|
|Assembly||Longbridge, Birmingham, UK / Cowley, Oxford, UK|
|Body and chassis|
|Class||small family car|
|Engine||1.4 L K-Series Straight-4 - Ireland only
1.6 L K-Series Straight-4
1.8 L K-Series Straight-4
2.5 L KV6 V6
The MG ZS is a sports family car. The ZS is essentially a tuned version of the Rover 45 (which was launched in 1999). The 45 in turn is a facelifted version of the Rover 400 which was launched in hatchback form in 1995 and saloon form in 1996. The Earlier version of the 400 (Rover 400 Mk 1) was significantly different to the Mk 2 model. The 45 (Mk 1) had no parts based on the Mk 1 400.
The model was rapidly created from the Rover 45 after BMW sold off Rover in 2000. Development of the model was greatly accelerated by the fact that Rover had already created 400-series prototypes of the car using V6 engines and sporting suspension setups. In fact, MG-Rover developed MG versions of all three Rover cars on sale at the time.
The Rover 45 donor car did not have a reputation for being a driver's car but in fact it was the most suitable car in the Rover range for transformation into an MG, its Honda heritage providing double-wishbone front suspension and fully independent multi-link rear suspension.
As a Rover, the 45 was optimised for comfort rather than handling — however, as an MG the opposite was the case. The MG ZS 180, offering 175 bhp (130 kW; 177 PS) from the 2.5 L V6 engine and acceleration to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds, received favourable reviews in the press, with particular praise for its steering, handling and suspension. Setting the ZS apart from most rivals was the V6 configuration when most of its rivals were using turbochargers. This added to the aural appeal of the ZS and added to the desirability of the MG ZS 180 model 
Variants and updates
A successor to the Rover 45/MG ZS (known internally as RD/X60) was under development in the early 2000s. This was to have been based on a shortened Rover 75 floorplan and was to appear in saloon, hatchback and 'tourer' (estate) bodystyles. Chassis development was being undertaken by Tom Walkinshaw Racing and ceased when TWR collapsed. The non-appearance of RD/X60 meant that the ZS was facelifted and continued in production until the demise of MG Rover.
In 2004 the ZS was facelifted with the rest of the MG Rover range. The retro design cues adopted when the 400 became the 45 were mostly dropped. For the first time the Rover 45 and MG ZS became noticeably different looking cars, all the ZS models had the option of being bodykitted with a kit derived from the MG XPower SV but this must be bought at the time of purchase and was a cost option. The 2004 model year cars also received a revised interior with new seat materials, a new dash design incorporating climate control on the ZS120+ model and the range-topping MG ZS 180 model.
The MG ZS ceased production in April 2005 on the collapse of Rover Group and MG Rover (See John Towers - Rover), and the rights to make the car were soon repossessed by Honda - who owned the rights to the original 1995 design.
Nanjing Automobile of China bought the remaining assets of MG Rover in July 2005. SAIC Motor had previously acquired some intellectual property rights from MG Rover, so the Chinese Government merged the two companies together, which resulted in the rebirth of MG as MG Motor UK Ltd. They then designed a new model in China, announced in 2009 as the MG6. Built in China and assembled by MG Motor UK at the old MG Rover Longbridge plant, sales started in 2011.
Performance data for the MG ZS range:
|Model||Engine||Power||Torque||0-60 mph (0–97 km/h)||Top speed|
|ZS105 (Republic of Ireland and Portugal only)||1.4 L K-Series||102 hp (76 kW) at 6000 rpm||138 N·m (91 ft·lbf) at 4500 rpm||10.1||110 mph (177 km/h)|
|ZS110||1.6 L K-Series||107 hp (80 kW) at 6000 rpm||138 N·m (101 ft·lbf) at 4500 rpm||9.8||119 mph (192 km/h)|
|ZS120||1.8 L K-Series||115 hp (86 kW) at 5500 rpm||160 N·m (118 ft·lbf) at 2750 rpm||9.0||122 mph (196 km/h)|
|ZS120 Auto||1.8 L K-Series||115 hp (86 kW) at 5500 rpm||160 N·m (118 ft·lbf) at 2750 rpm||9.9||115 mph (185 km/h)|
|ZS180||2.5 L KV6||175 bhp, 177 ps (130 kW) at 6500 rpm||240 N·m (177 ft·lbf) at 4000 rpm||7.3||139 mph (224 km/h)|
|ZS TD (discontinued when facelifted)||2.0 L L-Series||99 hp (74 kW) at 4200 rpm||240 N·m at 2000 rpm||10.3||116 mph|
|ZS TD 115||2.0 L L-Series||111 hp (83 kW) at 4200rpm||260 N·m (191 ft·lbf) at 2000 rpm||9.5||120 mph (193 km/h)|
The MG ZS 180 was the flagship car of the ZS range. It was available as a 5-door hatch or a 4-door saloon. The 180 included a number of alterations over and above the standard ZS models, as well as incorporating all of the features of the ZS+ models, the ZS 180 was equipped with a lightweight all alloy 2.5-litre Rover KV6 Engine with quad cams and 24 valves. Uprated front and rear brakes 282mm front discs (up from 262mm) and 260mm rear discs (up from 240mm) as well as ABS and EBD, lowered sports suspension with uprated springs and dampers, uprated bushes fitted to front upper and rear trailing arms, 17" sports alloy wheels with 205/45 r17 tyres.
Externally the 180 can be identified with deep front bumper with front bib spolier and fog lamps and sculptured side sills. A large rear spoiler could be substituted for a standard size as a no cost option.
The MG ZS 180's 2.5-litre (2497 cc) V6 engine producing 177 PS (130 kW; 175 bhp) & 6500rpm with 240 N·m (177 lb·ft) @ 4000rpm. Giving a 0-60 mph of 7.3sec, and a top speed of 139 mph (224 km/h) with a combined fuel economy reading of 29 mpg.
The ZS has been raced in the British Touring Car Championship from 2001 to 2008. The West Surrey Racing (WSR) team enjoyed 'works' status for several years and initially ran cars with a two-litre version of the Rover KV6 engine, later switching to four-cylinder K-series derived two-litre engines (the largest production K-series engine was 1.8 litres). Ex-WSR V6 cars have appeared in other hands, and a 'junior team' was run in 2002. The first 3 sessions as the official MG works team and the other sessions under different sponsors.
MG BTCC drivers to date have been:
|2001 (partial season)||MG Sport and Racing (WSR)||Anthony Reid (2), Warren Hughes (20)|
|2002||MG Sport and Racing (WSR)||Anthony Reid, Warren Hughes|
|2002||Team Atomic Kitten (semi-works junior team)||Colin Turkington, Gareth Howell|
|2003||MG Sport and Racing (WSR)||Anthony Reid, Warren Hughes, Colin Turkington|
|2004||West Surrey Racing||Anthony Reid, Colin Turkington|
|2004||Kartworld Racing||Jason Hughes|
|2005||West Surrey Racing||Rob Collard|
|2005 (Partial Season)||Kartworld Racing||Jason Hughes|
|2006||Team RAC (WSR)||Rob Collard, Colin Turkington|
|2006||Kartworld Racing||Jason Hughes|
|2007||Kartworld Racing||Jason Hughes, Fiona Leggate|
|2008||KW Racing (Kartworld Racing renamed)||Jason Hughes|
What the press said
"Drive a ZS180 back to back with a Golf V5, probably the sportiest of the line, and the Rover (based car) stomps all over the Volkswagen, its steering, chassis and engine beating the German into submission over the sort of lumpen road surfaces that make up the British B-road"
"When young lads start lusting after what's basically a re-bodied and re-engineered Rover 45, it's obviously something special. It is no exaggeration to claim that the MG ZS 180 was the biggest surprise of the lot when the new range was launched in summer 2001."
"At first glance it might appear to be a simple case of badge engineering, but the transformation from ageing Rover 45 to exciting MG ZS is a lot more than simply swapping metal monikers. Beneath the wire-meshed MG nose and bespoilered tail lies a lot of skilful engineering by Longbridge’s finest."
- Evo magazine March 2002
- Holloway, Hilton (2010-01-29). "MG6 to go on sale in the UK". Autocar. Retrieved 2011-03-26.
- Mg Rover technical bulletin TB0027
- "MG ZS Saloon 2.5 (180ps) 4d – Facts and Figures". Parkers. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- Head Tec
- The first ZS club in the world for the MG ZS.
- Rover400-45.info - Online community for owners of post-1995 Rover 400/45s and MG ZS
- theMGZS.co.uk - Online Forum dedicated to the MG ZS.
|MG road car timeline, 2000s–present|
|Supermini||MG 3 SW||MG 3|
|Compact car||MG ZR||MG 350*|
|Family car||MG ZS||MG 6|
|Executive car||MG ZT||MG 7|
|Roadster||MG F||MG TF||MG TF|
|Supercar||MG XPower SV|
|Note||*Roewe models sold under the MG nameplate in South America|