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2003 MG ZT-T+ 190 station wagon (2015-07-24) 01.jpg
2003 MG ZT-T+ 190
Manufacturer MG (MG Rover)
Production 2001–2005
Assembly Longbridge, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Designer Peter Stevens
Body and chassis
Class Executive car
Body style 4-door saloon
5-door estate
Layout FF layout
FR layout (260+)
Related MG 7
Rover 75
Roewe 750
Engine 1.8 L Rover K Series
1.8 L Rover K Series Turbo
2.0 L BMW M47 Diesel
2.5 L KV6
4.6 L Ford Modular V8
Wheelbase 2,746 mm (108.1 in) (saloon, estate)
Length 4,747 mm (186.9 in) (saloon)
4,791 mm (188.6 in) (estate)
Width 1,778 mm (70.0 in)
Height 1,424 mm (56.1 in)
Curb weight 1,400–1,655 kg (3,086–3,649 lb)
Predecessor Rover 800 Vitesse
Rover 620ti
(Rover 75)
Successor MG 7

The MG ZT is an automobile which was produced by MG Rover from 2001 to 2005. It was offered in saloon and estate versions, the latter designated as the MG ZT-T. Styling is similar to the Rover 75, upon which it was based, although various modifications, most noticeably the wheels and tyres, make for a far sportier ride. Production ceased in April 2005, amidst financial turmoil at MG Rover.

Development history[edit]

Pre-facelift MG ZT+ 180 sedan (Australia)
Pre-facelift MG ZT-T+ 190 estate (Australia)

In 2001, three years after the launch of the Rover 75, and less than a year after the de merger of MG Rover from BMW, the MG ZT and MG ZT-T were launched. During the cars' development, the models were codenamed X10 and X11, for the saloon and estate versions respectively.

The basic shape and styling of the MG ZT remained the same as for the Rover 75[1] but with changes to the front bumper, now with an integrated grille, and detail alterations including colour coding of the chromed waistline, a new bootlid plinth, and different alloy wheels and tyres sizes.

The interior featured revised seats and dashboard treatment, with new instrument faces. Engineering changes ranged, from upgraded suspension and brakes to revised engine tuning for the petrol and diesel models. Development of the MG ZT was headed by Rob Oldaker, Product Development Director, with styling changes undertaken by Peter Stevens, who was previously responsible for the styling of the McLaren F1 and X180 version of the Lotus Esprit.


In 2003, the 260 version of the car was launched (codenamed X12 and X13 for the saloon and estate versions respectively), utilising a 4.6 litre V8 from the range of the Ford Mustang. The model was converted from front-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive, and was largely engineered by motorsport and engineering company Prodrive, before being completed by MG. The 4.6 version is regarded as a true Q-car. Apart from the badges, the only visual difference externally between the 260 and other ZTs are the quad exhausts.


Facelift MG ZT CDTI 135 (UK)
Facelift MG ZT CDTI 135 (UK)

During the first few months of 2004, MG Rover facelifted the design of the ZT and ZT-T to a less retro look, at the same time as the Rover 75 received a facelift. While the facelift didn't feature any mechanical differences, the changes were merely aesthetic and the main changes to the facelift, included the replacement of the twin headlamps, with a new, clear single headlamp unit.


The MG ZT (and Rover 75 derivative) were powered by a combination of MG Rover's own petrol and LPG K-Series and KV6 engines as well as Ford's Modular V8 and BMW's M47 diesel engine. The latter was designated M47R to identify the unit as an MG Rover special, having been modified by MG Rover's engineers for transverse installation, with performance and refinement characteristics unique to MG Rover.[2]

Petrol engines
Years Made By Model Engine Power Torque Top Speed
0-62 mph
2001–2005 Rover 1.8 120 Manual 1,798 cc - L4 - NA 120 PS (88 kW) 160 N·m (120 lb·ft) 121 mph (195 km/h) / 119 mph (192 km/h) 10.9 s / 11.3 s 36.2 mpg‑imp (7.8 l/100 km)
2002–2005 Rover 1.8 T 160 Manual 1,798 cc - L4 - TC 160 PS (120 kW) 215 N·m (159 lb·ft) 132 mph (212 km/h) / 130 mph (210 km/h) 8.5 s / 8.9 s 34.9 mpg‑imp (8.1 l/100 km)
2001–2005 Rover 2.5 V6 180 Automatic 2,498 cc - V6 - NA 177 PS (130 kW) 240 N·m (180 lb·ft) 134 mph (216 km/h) / 132 mph (212 km/h) 8.9 s / 9.3 s 26.9 mpg‑imp (10.5 l/100 km)
2001–2005 Rover 2.5 V6 190 Manual 2,498 cc - V6 - NA 190 PS (140 kW) 245 N·m (181 lb·ft) 140 mph (230 km/h) / 137 mph (220 km/h) 7.7 s / 8.2 s 28.4 mpg‑imp (9.9 l/100 km)
2003–2005 Ford 4.6 V8 260 Manual 4,601 cc - V8 - NA 260 PS (190 kW) 410 N·m (300 lb·ft) 155 mph (249 km/h) / 153 mph (246 km/h) 6.2 s / 6.3 s 23.1 mpg‑imp (12.2 l/100 km)
2003–2005 Ford 4.6 V8 260 Automatic 4,601 cc - V8 - NA 260 PS (190 kW) 410 N·m (300 lb·ft) 151 mph (243 km/h) 7.0 s 22.1 mpg‑imp (12.8 l/100 km)
Diesel engines
Years Made By Model Engine Power Torque Top Speed
0-62 mph
2001–2005 BMW 2.0 CDT 120 Manual 1,951 cc - L4 - TC 116 PS (85 kW) 260 N·m (190 lb·ft) 120 mph (190 km/h) / 115 mph (185 km/h) 11.0 s / 11.5 s 50.0 mpg‑imp (5.65 l/100 km)
2001–2005 BMW 2.0 CDT 120 Automatic 1,951 cc - L4 - TC 116 PS (85 kW) 260 N·m (190 lb·ft) 118 mph (190 km/h) / 112 mph (180 km/h) 12.2 s / 12.6 s 40.9 mpg‑imp (6.91 l/100 km)
2001–2005 BMW 2.0 CDTi 135 Manual 1,951 cc - L4 - TC 131 PS (96 kW) 300 N·m (220 lb·ft) 121 mph (195 km/h) / 119 mph (192 km/h) 10.3 s / 10.6 s 50.0 mpg‑imp (5.65 l/100 km)
2001–2005 BMW 2.0 CDTi 135 Automatic 1,951 cc - L4 - TC 131 PS (96 kW) 300 N·m (220 lb·ft) 118 mph (190 km/h) / 117 mph (188 km/h) 11.0 s / 11.4 s 40.9 mpg‑imp (6.91 l/100 km)


The MG ZT and MG ZT-T were assembled at MG Rover's Longbridge plant in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The production figures [3] for each year are given below

Year Number
2001 3,510
2002 6,914
2003 8,011
2004 6,844
2005 1,870
TOTAL 27,149

Land Speed Record[edit]

This MG ZT-T became the world's fastest (non-production) estate in 2003

Also in 2003, the MG ZT-T became the World's Fastest (non production) Estate Car, with a top speed of 225.609 mph (360.9 km/h). It achieved this at 55th annual Bonneville Speed Week Nationals, on the Salt Flats in Utah, United States. This car used an 800+bhp Roush V8 engine, with other heavy modifications.

MG Sport & Racing[edit]

XPower 385[edit]

The XPower 385 ZT, was a set of concepts created by MG-Rover to show the "Ultimate" version of the 260 V8. The 385 was equipped with a 385PS 4 Valve Ford Modular V8. A similar engine that was fitted in the 385 concept car and the "ultimate" ZT was later fitted in the MG SV. The development of the cars was undertaken by Prodrive but the cars never appeared as MG-Rover closed in 2005. The cars were fitted with a wide bodykit and featured a spoiler on the rear of the car.

XPower 500[edit]

Before the ZT 260 was launched, MG created a special concept car: the MG XPower ZT 500. This car was intended to show off what MG can do with the ZT's chassis and was never intended for mass production. The XPower ZT is fitted with a 500PS supercharged 4.6 litre Ford Modular V8 similar the engine fitted to the 260 ZT. The XPower 500 has a more aggressive wide bodykit with larger spoiler similar the 385 concept car. The car was saved by the MG owners club and rebuilt using their extensive facilities and expertise. The car was allocated VIN no 001.

Competition cars[edit]

The last competition car built by MG Sports and Racing was a racing version of the V8 MG ZT260. This car was highly modified and lightened it had more power than the standard V8 and a lightweight racing bodykit. The car is now owned by an Australian MG Enthusiast who races it competitively. It is painted dark grey in colour.

Chinese production[edit]

Nanjing Automobile of China purchased MG Rover in July 2005, three months after the company went bankrupt. Production of the MG ZT effectively resumed in the beginning of 2007, though in the form of the MG 7.[4]


The MG7 is a sports saloon that is built by Chinese carmaker MG Motor, derived from the MG ZT. Production started in March 2007. The MG7 received praise from British car magazine Auto Express, who test drove it in May 2008, although it has not officially been sold in the United Kingdom.

The MG7 comes in two variants, the first which resembles the Mark I MG ZT with twin front lights, and the second, which resembles the Mark II Rover 75 V8. A long wheelbase version, called the MG7L, features the deeper radiator grille of the Rover 75 V8.

Roewe 750[edit]

Also released at the same time as the MG7, the Roewe 750 appeared from the company SAIC, of which SAIC & Nanjing later merged. The Roewe 750 showed how the two companies worked, while the MG7 retained the classic looks of the Mark 1 ZT, SAIC opted for the Mark 2 Style Rover 75 style exterior.

Owners Clubs[edit]

The cars are still actively supported by an owners club[5] and an owners group specifically for the V8 model.[6]


External links[edit]