Power to the people! Hot hatches have always been about democratising performance, but even in that context the MG 4 XPower is significant.
This (not so) little electric hatch has a sticker price of less than $60,000 before on-road costs, which is what you’ll pay for a front-wheel drive Volkswagen Golf GTI with a few options on it.
But it has a dual-motor electric setup making 320kW of power, more than the most powerful Holden Commodore Motorsport Edition made from its 6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8, and hits 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds. That’s faster than a Porsche 911 Carrera 4.
No matter which way you spin it, the MG 4 XPower offers a remarkable amount of bang for your buck.
How does the MG4 fare vs its competitors?
View a detailed breakdown of the MG4 against similarly sized vehicles.
The XPower is a bargain, given its performance. It’s $4000 more expensive than the Long Range with its 77kWh battery pack… but it comfortably undercuts anything you could consider a rival.
The all-wheel drive Volkswagen Golf R is priced at $70,590 before on-road costs and doesn’t accelerate anywhere near as quickly as the MG, while the AMG A45 S ($119,900 before on-roads) and Audi RS3 ($93,700 before on-roads) are in a different world on price.
The fastest Tesla Model 3 is currently the Long Range, priced from $71,900 before on-roads with a 4.4-second 100km/h sprint. The rumoured Plaid model will be faster, but it’ll also be pricier.
MG 4 pricing:
- 2024 MG 4 Excite (51kWh): $38,990
- 2024 MG 4 Excite (64kWh): $44,990
- 2024 MG 4 Essence (64kWh): $47,990
- 2024 MG 4 Essence (77kWh): $55,990
- 2024 MG 4 XPower (64kWh): $59,990
All prices exclude on-road costs
The interior of the MG 4 is pretty pared back, regardless of which model you opt for.
Rather than searching for a start button when you hop behind the wheel, you just stand firmly on the brake and twist the metal transmission selector into D.
There’s no frippery here, but it doesn’t really miss out on anything either. The driver and passenger sit in generously padded seats with (just) enough bolstering given how quick the XPower is, and the squared-off steering wheel feels good in your hands.
I’m two metres tall with proportions best described as lanky, and most of the other Chinese cars I’ve driven have clearly not been designed to suit someone my size. The MG 4 is an exception to that rule, with an accomodating driving position that’s all-day comfortable.
Along with the driving position, MG has made big strides on the usability of its infotainment technology.
The slim, widescreen infotainment touchscreen doesn’t have what you call flashy graphics, but it does feature big icons and a super simple layout that flattens the learning curve.
Yes, climate control is operated by touch, but you’re able to sidestep that by programming a shortcut on the steering wheel.
Apple CarPlay looks good on the touchscreen, but you need to be plugged in to use it. Given there’s a wireless charge pad floating below the screen, it’s a shame smartphone mirroring isn’t wireless.
The compact display in front of the driver majors in simplicity, with a prominent speedo and a trip computer.
Storage up front is excellent. There’s a pair of cupholders at the base of the dashboard, along with an open bin on the floor that can be covered with a sliding lid.
There’s also a netted pocket in front of the spacious central bin, and door pockets with room for an oversized drink bottle.
Rear seat space is on a par with what you’d expect of an oversized hatchback. Legroom is solid, with room for kids and tall teenagers to sit comfortably behind adults, and the rear bench is nicely padded for the outboard occupants.
The middle seat is raised significantly, and is best reserved for short trips.
Headroom is good, although the lack of a fold-down central armrest is a shame at this price point. If you’re planning to carry kids regularly, the lack of air vents is also a miss – and is something you do get in the similarly priced Golf GTI.
Claimed boot space is 363 litres with the rear seats in place, expanding to 1165 litres with the 60:40 bench folded flat. The floor is flat, and the space itself is wide enough to take a set of golf clubs with the driver removed.
The MG 4 XPower features an electric motor on each axle making an impressive 320kW and 600Nm combined, good for a 100km/h sprint time of just 3.8 seconds.
Rather than the 77kWh battery in the Long Range, the XPower uses a mid-range 64kWh lithium-ion battery. It can be charged at up to 140kW using DC power, and offers a claimed 385km of range on the WLTP cycle.
We saw as low as 14.5kWh per 100km on a regular low-speed commute, around 18kWh per 100km on a highway run, and 29kWh per 100km when tapping into the car’s full performance potential.
First up, it’s neck-snappingly, eye-poppingly fast in a straight line.
I’ve experienced plenty of fast electric cars, including a recent Tesla Model S with Ludicrous Mode, but the XPower still took some adjusting to at first.
Mat the throttle in Normal mode and it’ll slam you back in the seat, scrabbling momentarily for grip as all 600Nm makes itself known before shooting off faster than the average traffic light hero in a Golf R can say “what on earth was that?”.
It’ll keep pulling too, hauling towards 200km/h like much more expensive German electric limousines. More on that coming to YouTube soon.
Although there’s a dedicated Launch Control function, you don’t really need it. By the time you’ve flicked through the touchscreen to actually turn it on the lights will have gone green, and even in Comfort mode it’s more than quick enough.
Despite the weapons-grade acceleration, the XPower is unthreatening to drive on the daily grind. The accelerator doesn’t feel like a light switch, the brake pedal is nicely calibrated, and the light steering makes diving into tight spaces a breeze.
Vision out the front and sides is decent, but there’s a pretty significant blind spot over the shoulder thanks to the chunky C-pillar. The blind-spot monitor helps when you’re on the move, and the reversing camera is excellent when you’re parking.
The ride errs on the side of sportiness, but the XPower is far from uncomfortable. It occasionally smacks hard into a pothole or expansion joint, but MG hasn’t ruined the daily drivability of the 4 despite 25 per cent stiffer springs and dampers than the base car.
Aside from a hint of whine from the motors off the mark, the XPower is very quiet in town. It’s nicely insulated, and there’s minimal wind whistle from the mirrors or road roar from the tyres. At 100km/h it’s a bit noisier, especially on Australian coarse chip highways… but in the context of a Golf R or AMG A45 S, it’s actually pretty refined.
Overtaking is a breeze, because there’s so much performance on hand. The XPower leaps forward without any lag, from any speed in a way an internal-combustion hot hatch just can’t match. Just keep your eyes on the speedo, because it’s easy to look down and realise you’re going much, much faster than you’d expect.
As a daily driver and a straight line weapon, this electric upstart is every bit a rival to the hot (or should that be hyper?) hatch establishment. There’s still a bit of refinement to do when the road gets twisty though.
It’s a very fast way to get from one place to another, with the sort of point-and-shoot pace we’ve come to expect from a Golf R, but when you really want to have some fun the 1800kg kerb weight makes its presence felt.
Combined with light steering, a decent serving of roll, and a tendency to push wide when you squeeze on the power mid-corner despite the torque vectoring and electronic differential lock, it makes the XPower feel more like a fast version of a regular car and less like a dedicated performance car.
With that said, you can use the weight and roll to pitch the car into corners with a bit of attitude and feel it moving around under you. It’s engaging, but it’s not a conventional hot-hatch experience.
MG Australia has announced it has paused deliveries of the XPower to roll out an additional vibration dampener to the steering system to “further enhance the driving experience through improved handling and steering response without compromising safety” – read more here.
MG 4 Excite highlights:
- One pedal functionality
- Four-mode regenerative braking
- Five-link independant rear suspension
- 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster
- 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Keyless entry
- Automatic stop and start
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- 4-speaker sound system
- Black fabric upholstery
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Automatic high-beam
- Electric side mirrors with heating functionality
- 6-way manual drivers adjustable seating
- MG Pilot
- iSmart Lite connectivity
MG 4 Essence adds:
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Black roof
- Rear light bar
- iSmart connectivity
- 6-speaker sound system
- Satellite navigation
- Wireless phone charger
- Synthetic leather/cloth upholstery
- Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
- Height-adjustable load floor
- EV trip planner
- Heated front seats
- Heated steering wheel
- 360 degree view camera
- Two-tone roof
- Active grille shutters
MG 4 XPower adds:
- Orange brake caliper covers
- Black roof
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Polished trim accents
- Alcantara interior trim
- Dover White
- Brixton Blue
- Black Pearl metallic
- Camden Grey metallic
- Doamond Red tri-coat
- Volcano Orange tri-coat
- Sterling Silver
- Hunter Green ($1000, XPower)
On the back of 2022 testing in Europe where MG 4 received a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, it’s been awarded the same five-star ANCAP safety rating for Australia.
It scored 83 per cent for adult occupant protection, 86 per cent for child occupant protection, 75 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 81 per cent for safety assist.
Standard safety equipment includes:
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
- Pedestrian, Cyclist detection
- Lane departure warning
- Lane keep assist
- Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
- Front, rear parking sensors
- Tyre pressure monitoring
- Front, rear seat belt reminders
- ISOFIX child restraint anchorage points (outer rear seats)
- Front, front side, full-length curtain airbags (6 in total)
MG 4 Essence adds:
- Surround-view cameras
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic assist
All MG 4 models are backed by a seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.
There’s also seven years of roadside assistance included. Uber or other ride share/commercial drivers also get a seven-year warranty, but it’s capped at 160,000km.
Maintenance is required every two years or 20,000 kilometres – whichever comes first.
MG 4 service pricing:
- 40,000km/24 months: $296.00
- 80,000km/48 months: $962.00
- 120,000km/72 months: $296.00
- 160,000km/96 months: $962.00
- 200,000km/120 months: $296.00
The MG 4 XPower offers a staggering amount of performance for your money.
It’s lightning quick in a straight line, putting more expensive hot hatches like the Mercedes-AMG A45 S in the shade, although there’s still some work required to make it go around corners in a way that’ll make the AMG nervous.
It remains a practical, well thought-out family hatchback too. In fine hot hatch tradition, you could easily drive this car every day and not feel like you’re making any compromises.
There’s room for improvement, though. Going that quickly requires a lot of energy, and the mid-range battery pack on the XPower limits how long you’ll be able to enjoy it. It’s a shame MG didn’t fit the 77kWh pack featured elsewhere in the range, even though it would have added weight.
I’d also love a bit more from the interior, be it proper sports seats or some more colourful trim bits. They’re not deal-breakers. When it comes to bang for your buck, nothing can come close to the XPower in Australia right now.
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