MG4 XPOWER: Quick but disconnected

2023 MG4 EV 6

What is it?

As we began this review of the MG4 XPower the company announced that it was switching to national driveway pricing for its entire fleet.

In the case of the MG4 range the new driveaway prices equate to savings of around $3000 to $5000.

The fully-electric MG4 was added to the MG range midway through 2023.

Unlike the ZS and HS EVs, which are modified versions of the respective petrol vehicles, MG4 is a dedicated EV and first to use the innovative Modular Scalable Platform (MSP) that will underpin a new generation of MGs.

MSP features rear-wheel drive, 50:50 weight distribution and thin battery technology.

MG4 comes in a choice of five variants: Excite 51 kWh, Excite 64 kWh, Essence 64 kWh, Essence 64 kWh, Essence 77 kWh Long Range and XPower 64 kWh.

The first four models have a single, rear-mounted motor, while XPower – the one we’re looking at here – adds a front motor for all-wheel drive.

2023 MG4 EV 7

What’s it cost?

Driveaway prices now range from $39,990 for the RWD Excite 51 kWh through to $59,990 for the high-performance AWD XPower.

While the MG ZS and HS models follow the predictable and functional SUV styling, MG4 is easily the most attractive vehicle we’ve seen yet from the Chinese carmaker.

A sleek profile is topped by a two-tone roof and there is an active intake grille shutter – no need for an ugly radiator intrusion up front.

It rides on 18-inch alloys with aerodynamic covers, with LED rear lights, distinctive rear centre light bar and a twin-aero rear spoiler.

There is no specific badging to distinguish the XPower from the rest of the MG4 range, apart from the name being shown on the orange brake caliper covers.

XPower also gets re-tuned suspension for 25 percent extra stiffness, beefier anti-roll bars front and rear, re-calibrated steering and torque vectoring.

Infotainment features across the MG4 range include a 10.25-inch multi-function colour touchscreen, configurable 7.0-inch LCD digital instrument cluster, four-speaker audio, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB and FM Radio, multi-function steering wheel controls and three USB ports.

XPower adds satellite navigation with voice control and EV trip planning, 360-degree parking cameras, six-speaker premium audio with sound field calibration, and wireless smartphone charging.

The MG iSmart system integrates car, internet and communication enhanced by voice activation and remote-control features on XPower and Essence models.

MG4 received the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating when tested last year.

Standard features include six airbags, enhanced ABS brakes with electronic brake force distribution and emergency brake assist, and electronic stability program, reversing camera, hill start assist with auto hold, automatic door unlocking and a collapsible steering column.

Also standard is the MG Pilot advanced driver assistance system which adds lane keep assist and departure warning, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, traffic jam assist, intelligent headlight control, speed assistance system and driver inattention alert.

Unfortunately, MG has followed the growing trend to switch various controls to the touchscreen, including the most commonly-used audio and air conditioning.

While it might suit the stylists it takes far too much of the driver’s attention away from the road ahead.

Interestingly, there’s a move underway in Europe where Euro NCAP are planning to deduct points where certain functions are not easily accessible via physical knobs and/or buttons.

Let’s hope that Australia’s ANCAP assessors follow that lead.

2023 MG4 EV XPOWER 5

What’s it go like?

There’s little inside the XPower to distinguish it from the rest of the MG4 range.

Only the inclusion of a Track Mode feature activated from the touchscreen allows the driver to check lap and stage times, giving a clue to its performance alter ego.

The aforementioned Modular Scalable Platform creates good cabin and storage space, bearing in mind that it’s a compact hatchback and slightly smaller than Toyota Corolla, Hyundai i30 and Mazda3.

The two-level boot floor caters for 363 litres with the rear seats in place and 1177 litres when folded.

XPower is the only MG4 variant to have electric motors for both the front and rear axles to provide the benefit of all-wheel drive.

All others have rear-mounted motors powered by either 51 kWh (Excite), 64 kWh (Excite or Essence) or 77 kWh (Essence Long Range) batteries.

The dual-motor, all-wheel drive MG4 XPower uses the mid-range 64 kWh battery to produce 320kW (150kW from the front motor and 170kW from the rear).

This, together with 600Nm of torque, makes it the most powerful production MG in Australia to date, capable of 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds.

Range is listed at 385km on the WLTP cycle. Not surprisingly that will drop down under aggressive driving.

There are four regenerative braking levels down to one-pedal mode.

The first thing that you notice when you’re ready to set off in the MG4 is that there’s no starter button or ignition key.

Rather, the car is ready to go within a few seconds of the driver sitting down and once the ‘Ready’ light shows on the driver information screen, it’s simply a case of moving a circular knob from ‘P’ to either ‘D’ or “R’.

One of the most appealing features of all electric vehicles is the instant acceleration that can see them leap ahead of the traffic from standstill.

The MG4 XPower raises the bar even further with its stunning 3.8-second 0-100km/h sprint.

The jury’s still out on whether the XPower meets the hot hatch pub test.

While it clearly ticks most of the boxes in terms of its spectacular acceleration and speed, it doesn’t provide the same driver input and feedback as its petrol-powered rivals.

For a start there’s no manual gearbox – well, no gearbox at all – which is such an important ingredient for the driving enthusiast.

Likewise, while silent running is a positive feature for most EV buyers, the XPower misses out on the characteristic hot hatch engine sound track.

Ride and handling, although very good, lacks the feel of established hot hatches nor is it as balanced through corners.

2023 MG4 5

What we like?

  • Stunning acceleration
  • Active intake grille shutter
  • No starter button or ignition key
  • Regenerative braking with one-pedal mode

2023 MG4 EV 9

What we don’t like?

  • No manual gearbox
  • Audio and air con controlled from screen
  • Lacks hot hatch engine sound track
  • Lacks feel of established hot hatches

2023 MG4 EV 8

The bottom line?

Ever since the first of the new Chinese MGs arrived here in 2018, we’ve found ourselves cringing a bit when cornered by devotees of the classic British sportscars that carried that iconic badge for decades.

Not any more … because the MG4 in general, and the XPower in particular, can hold their own in any company.

With prices breaking through the key $40k barrier and range over 400km, depending on the variant, they open the EV market to a whole new customer base.

At just under $60k the XPower offers almost supercar performance at a fraction of the price.

But does it qualify as a hot hatch? We’d say no – not enough driving enjoyment.

2023 MG4 EV 10


CHECKOUT: MG brings in driveaway pricing for EVs

CHECKOUT: MG ZS Long Range: Long may you run


MG4 XPower, priced from $59,990
  • Looks - 8/10
  • Performance - 9/10
  • Safety - 8/10
  • Thirst - 7/10
  • Practicality - 7/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
  • Tech - 8/10
  • Value - 9/10

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