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MG TF Gossip

All Press Releases are provided by MG - Rovers Press office unless stated otherwise!

 

3 February 2005 - £100,000 paid for top specification TF
A bespoke MG TF sports car sold for £100,000 in a charity auction at the Retail Trust Ball, hosted by Ruby Wax.

The MG TF achieved the highest bids of any item auctioned during the evening, which raised nearly £250,000 for the Retail Trust charity.

"As the UK’s best-selling sports car, the MG TF is clearly a very popular car. I’m naturally delighted, though not surprised, that individuals are keen to acquire one at any price. This particular highly specified MG is available to order at a value comfortably below £100,000!" said Rod Ramsay, managing director of worldwide sales & marketing, MG Rover Group

The MG TF 160 auctioned was a highly-specified top-of-the-range model, specially painted in the bespoke Monogram Shot Silk paintwork – a colour that ‘travels’ from purple through to green dependent of lighting conditions. Sumptuous Oxford leather trimmed interior, with wood steering wheel and a body-coloured hardtop were key elements that drove the Baugur UK Group to bid successfully for the MG.

About the MG TF

Produced by MG Rover Group at its Longbridge production facility in South Birmingham, the TF is the MG brand’s iconic model, with a lineage that can be traced back through all the great MG sports cars. Monogram is a personalisation programme that allows individuals greater choice of exterior paint colours and other bespoke features. The MG TF 160 with Monogram paintwork, extra wood items, an Oxford leather interior and hardtop is valued at £25, 390.

MG was established in 1924 by Cecil Kimber, then General Manager at Morris Garages (from which the famous letters are derived). MG club membership enthusiasts exceed 100,000 across the world – more than any other automotive brand.

 

16 November 204 - MG GT Concept breaks cover

136708-a-mg-.jpgYou would expect the MG TF's brother to be faster, more rugged and undeniably more handsome and so it is - the MG GT concept. The company's design team has taken the hugely popular TF and turned it into a modern day
expression of the beloved MGB GT from the trendy 1960s.

That car was treated to some more powerful engines in the shape of the 3-litre straight six (MGC) and 3.5-litre V8 (MGB GT V8) and so the engineers have developed this latest concept around the 2.5-litre KV6 engine. Raising power to 200bhp, performance is predicted to give the GT sub six second zero to 60mph acceleration and a top speed of 145mph. The increase in speed is aided by the reduced drag GT style, cutting the aerodynamic drag coefficient from 0.35 to 0.31.

1BMR-1104-1752-.jpgAs engineers and planners consider ideas for the next generation of the UK's top selling sports car they have been researching the 'fixed-head' market. Many of the 'warmer climate' markets prefer sports cars to have anintegrated, coupe style and air conditioning to cope with high summer temperatures. Also, recent models like the Audi TT have shown that hardtops can be highly popular for customers who prefer the style of a fixed-head coupe.

Features of interest specified on the MG GT concept include 17" Gunsmoke five-spoke OZ alloy wheels, similar in design to the MG XPower SV. An extended front aero splitter is balanced by a longer tail-spoiler integrated into the bootlid design, generating reduced lift at speed.

New door mirrors feature integral side direction indicator lamps and the switch for the electronic door opening feature, that in the process have eliminated the external door handles for a clean exterior design profile. The interior is trimmed with Burgundy Red leather seats with the fascia and door casings also following the same colourway.

Peter Stevens, MG's design director says: "We would love to expand the MG TF range with a high-performance MG GT which has inspiring handling, practicality and great looks.

"The KV6 engine combines a superb soundtrack with a surge of power and a wider performance envelope to drive within - perfect for a sports car."

The TF's recent sales performance is impressive. It is the UK's best selling sports car and sales have climbed in each year for the last three. Further improvements will be introduced in 2005 to retain the TF's customer appeal of being a desirable all-round performer.

 

23 January 2003 - MGR & MIRA show how "Racing Improves the Breed" at Low Carbon Vehicle Testing
134303-c-mg-.jpgThe exciting new hybrid technology of the MG TF 200 HPD is being presented to Energy Minister Stephen Timms at the first anniversary of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership at Millbank today. This vehicle was unveiled recently at the Motorsport Industry Association’s ‘Clean Racing Conference’ by Rob Oldaker, product development director, MG Rover Group and John Wood, managing director, MIRA. The ‘Hybrid Performance Development’ car is a petrol/electric powered MG TF featuring a combined output of 200Ps deployed through its four road wheels. MIRA engineers in consultation with MG Rover Group have produced the ‘200 HPD’ specification, derived from the popular MG TF sports car, producing functional and environmental benefits, with a wider performance capability potential for motorsport and for public awareness.

Rob Oldaker, commented: "The 200 HPD is the culmination of two talented Midlands-based companies, bringing together their expertise to create this MG car, that perfectly illustrates the notion of "racing improving the breed".

John Wood, added: "We conceived the idea to produce an enhanced performance car that anticipated environmental requirements, while expanding today’s sports car driving experience. The car achieves this with ‘responsible performance’ where the innovative hybrid solution sharpens acceleration, at no expense in tailpipe emissions, yet also offers customer benefits like all-wheel-drive traction and the low-speed clutchless operation of ‘City mode’."

Responsible Performance

The holistic approach combines electric traction with aerodynamic advances, driving the perception of hybrid cars forward into the realms of driving excitement. Motorsport has a renowned capacity for efficient development of components and systems while stimulating the public’s interest. This concept is a new opportunity for the industry to accelerate technical progress, supplier capabilities and customer awareness of these hybrid technologies: they are capable of giving a competitive edge with green credentials.

Enhancing the performance of an existing MG TF without increasing the environmental impact was the aim of the project undertaken through a partnership between MG Rover Group and MIRA. The initial development vehicle - the MG TF 200 HPD - reduces the existing 0-60 time from 6.9 to sub-6 seconds, without increasing tailpipe emissions or fuel consumption, yet also offers a range of other benefits high on the customer wish list, such as enhanced traction through all wheel drive, continuous sporty ‘hotshift’ acceleration, and relaxed low speed clutchless option using ‘City mode’.

Working in consultation with MG Rover Group, engineers at MIRA designed and developed a parallel hybrid drivetrain to supplement the existing rear wheel drive 160Ps MG TF, using an electric motor to drive the front wheels. The additional power of the electric motor results in a 25% increase to 200Ps, greatly enhancing the sprint acceleration of the MG TF. The motor, innovatively combined with Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), extends opportunities for advanced all wheel drive active torque distribution.

MIRA’s advanced design, control and simulation techniques have configured the system so that the hybrid system re-charges during part throttle cruising, to deliver clean, additional performance when the driver needs it most. One potential motorsport application envisaged could use the battery pack to provide a finite number of boosted acceleration cycles, allowing evenly matched drivers to overtake and to stimulate spectator appeal.

MG Rover Group and MIRA expect that, once developed, the technologies will move onto the manufacturing design feasibility stage. Indeed, the partnership, which includes MG Rover Group, MIRA Ltd and Powertrain Ltd, has just been awarded a contract by HM Government’s Energy Saving Trust to develop these technologies into production viable passenger cars. The technology and functionality of the sports car project provide a timely ‘stepping stone’ into future designs for volume products that are appealing to consumers.

Project VERVe (Versatile Environmental Road Vehicle) represents the partnership’s £4m commitment to the E.S.T.’s Ultra Low Carbon Car Challenge; to develop a C segment passenger car capable of sub-100 g/km CO2 emissions, while offering a stimulating drive at an affordable price.

"Consumers are demanding cleaner cars," concludes John Wood of MIRA, "and the MG TF 200 HPD technology offers motorsport the opportunity to both increase consumer excitement and accelerate technical progress."

MG TF 200 HPD - Technical Specification

  • K Series 160Ps, 1.8-litre VVC petrol engine driving rear wheels
  • 40Ps high-output electric motor driving front wheels, through CVT drive train
  • Engine driven generator
  • Hawker SBS8 battery pack delivers 72v at 400 amps
  • BRUSA BRMD 506 motor controller
  • Mathworks XPC vehicle management
  • Aerodynamic Cd 0.32, zero front & rear lift
  • 50 / 50 weight distribution

Performance summary

  • Sprint power increased from 160 to 200Ps
  • 0-60mph time improved from 6.9 to sub 6.0 seconds
  • All wheel drive traction, maximum tractive effort and ‘low mu’ handling
  • ‘Hotshift’ delivers continuous power through front wheels during gear changes
  • ‘City mode’ feature enables relaxed urban motoring using electric front drivetrain

 

25 September 2003 - TF Coupe say Auto Express

One of Britain's favourite coupés is set to make a dramatic comeback! A tin-top version of the MG TF is to debut at March's Geneva Motor Show, creating the first MG coupé since the MGB GT was killed off in 1980.

Insiders have revealed that several prototypes already exist, and work is progressing on a concept which will be the star of MG Rover's stand at the annual Swiss expo in the spring. If the reaction is positive, the car is expected to go into production only months later.

The fixed-head MG TF will give the Birmingham-based car maker a budget rival to the Audi TT and Nissan 350Z coupés, for relatively little investment in engineering and development. Creating a tin-top TF would be cheap and simple for cash-constrained MG Rover. However, the newcomer is sure to bring in customers who are currently put off by the impractical nature of the soft-top, and can't quite stretch to the V8-powered SV muscle car.

Besides being more practical, re-fined and secure, the coupé would be even better to drive because it would be more structurally rigid than the roadster. The key to better ride and handling is body stiffness, and few soft-tops can match a coupé in this area. As well as the improved handling, there is another massive benefit for performance car fans, with the lack of a folding hood freeing up room in the cabin and engine bay, making it possible to fit bulkier powerplants.

These could include the new turbocharged 148bhp 1.8-litre K Series engine used in the Rover 75, and maybe a 2.5-litre V6. They would give the Coupé much more punch than the TF, which is powered by normally aspirated 1.6 and 1.8-litre units. But even the lower bhp entry-level models will be pitched as more hardcore drivers' cars than the current TF, with tuned suspension and sharper steering. This will be done in the same way that the MG ZT is differentiated from the Rover 75. Improved aerodynamics will also give the car a slightly higher top speed.

Prices are expected to be roughly the same as for the roadster, starting at below £16,000. The newcomer is due in showrooms in autumn next year.

Hilton Holloway

 

26 July 2003 - TV personality "Kerrie Taylor"  loses her heart to a TF

Television series ‘Where the Heart is’ actress Kerrie Taylor, who recently won the loan of an MG TF 160 loved it so much that she bought it.

Phoenix Muswell Hill donated the three-month loan of an MG TF 160 to a star-studded charity event held to raise money for the NSPCC at Bar Cuba, Kensington.

Kerrie was overjoyed at winning the star prize in the raffle, she loved it so much that she couldn’t part with it so she bought it! Kerrie said: ‘It was great to win the first prize in the raffle whilst supporting such a worthwhile charity. The MG TF is fantastic to drive, a real thrill, I just had to have it!’

Dealer Principal Philip Busher commented: ‘It was an honour to be able to help such an inspiring charity. Kerrie was delighted with the performance and handling of the car and was adamant that she was going to keep it


21 May 2003 - MG Sport & Racing Announce Roll Hoops for the TF.

The MG TF, UK’s best selling sports car, can now be specified with XPower accessory Roll Hoops for benefits in protection and style.

The XPower Roll Hoops, designed by MG Sport & Racing, offer additional protection with the minimum of intrusion to cabin space. They are a real eye catching addition, available in a variety of body coloured finishes as well as a
Hi - line version in stainless steel. The Roll Hoops have been designed so that the existing hood can be operated without modification.

The Roll Hoops are a stylish addition to the TF, which already enjoys great handling, high performing engines, stylish design and open top motoring. Recent class leading scores in the Euro NCAP safety tests and being judged the ‘World’s Most Beautiful Cabriolet’ have also combined to further enhance the appeal of this pedigree British sports car.

Commenting on this addition, Kim Johnson, director, MG Sport & Racing, said: "Demand for the MG TF is such that we have increased production to its highest rate ever. The TF proves that in addition to performance, buyers are equally impressed by safety and style. The XPower Roll Hoops do this with great effect."

The Roll Hoops can be ordered from MG Sport & Racing. (Tel: 0121 482 2790 or 0121 475 6217 Quoting Ref: Part Number VUB003300MKW)
The supply only cost is £280.59 inc. of VAT & UK P&P or alternatively supply and fitment is only £339.34 inc. VAT. Prices outside the UK can be provided on application.

 

 
9 May 2003 - TF reaches record production figures.

MG TF, the UK’s best selling sports car, is on the increase due to customer demand.  Sales in March 2003 reached their highest level since introduction and that of its predecessor the MGF.  The increased build rate rises by 130 to 430 units per week. 

 

The TF represents the attractive combination of great handling, high performing engines, stylish design and open top motoring.  Impressive performance and economy extend this desirability still further.  Recent class leading scores in the Euro NCAP safety tests and being judged the ‘World’s Most Beautiful Cabriolet’ in Milan have combined to demonstrate the appeal of this pedigree British sportscar.

 

Commenting on the increased production, John Sanders, MG Rover Group Sales and Marketing Director said: “The TF has proved to be another great success for MG. With the special offer in our spring campaign ‘Bring us any genuine offer and we’ll beat it’, there has never been a better time to buy one of these superb sports cars.”

 

18 May 2003 - MG TF now officially the worlds most beautiful cabriolet.

The MG TF has been judged the 'World's Most Beautiful Cabriolet' at the awards ceremony held by L'Automobile più Bella del Mondo, in Milan.  A panel of
13 international judges, made up from design experts outside the automotive industry, credited MG TF with the class win 'for blending great originality and typical elements of MG tradition, with a strong casual and dynamic character'.

The World's Most Beautiful Automobile title is an established award, now in its 10th year.  It recognises design significance from a non-automotive perspective.  Judges included leading art critic Bruno Alfieri and art-photographer Gianni Berengo Gardin.  Thirty-three car product designs are judged in nine categories.

John Sanders, sales & marketing director, said: "This accolade is an outstanding achievement particularly in the light of such an impressive body of judges and another example of how the company's talented styling and engineering teams have developed the MG TF into a car of both substance and style."

The Rover 75 won the high-class saloon category in 1999.  The MG TF has also been awarded 'Cabrio of the Year' at last year's Geneva Motor Show and recently performed exceptionally well in Euro NCAP tests with a four-star occupant and three-star pedestrian result. It is available in four specification models, priced between £15,750 and £19,995.
 

28 February 2003 - MG TF wins accolade in New Zealand.

MG TF, the UK's best-selling sports car, has been voted Performance Car of the Year by Driver Magazine, at the Annual Motoring Industry Car of the Year Awards in New Zealand.

Selected for its "truly sporting chassis and brisk performance", Driver Magazine said that it "really liked the MG TF and found it both fun and a serious performer". The MG TF beat the HSV/Monaro, Maserati Coupe/Spyder and Mitsubishi Diamante Ralliart.

Allan Dick from Driver Magazine commented: "The MG TF 160's new suspension set-up, improved body torsional rigidity, more powerful engines and attractive new styling were key influences in the judging panel's decision to vote the TF Driver Magazine's Performance Car of the Year."

John Tweedy, International Markets Director at MG Rover Group, said: "This success in the first few months of our re-entry in to New Zealand is another example of the great enthusiasm for our products shown in new markets and bodes well for our expansion in international markets."

 
13 February 2003 - MG TF recalled to check front suspension bolt.

MG is approaching owners of MG TF sports cars, built in 2002, to check the torque of a suspension bolt.

A few reports have been received that identify isolated instances of torque relaxation on the bolt used to attach the damper to the upper suspension arm. 

To protect the long-term integrity of the suspension system, MG is implementing a recall action on all TF models within the affected VIN range.  Owners are being requested to have the suspension bolt examined by an MG Rover dealer at the earliest opportunity.  The inspection and any remedial action will be carried out free of charge.

Steve Hudson, quality director, MG Rover Group, emphasised: “MG Rover Group takes the safety of its customers and their cars very seriously.  For this reason, we are embarking on a recall action to ensure peace of mind.”

 

28 January 2003 - EURO NCAP makes the TF safest car.
MG TF, the UK’s best selling sports car, has today (January 28) been awarded the class-leading Euro NCAP safety result. The car has achieved an excellent four-star occupant safety rating complemented by a class leading three-star pedestrian protection score. All other sports cars registered just a single star. The performance is even more impressive considering the recent introduction of much more stringent Euro NCAP pedestrian test criteria.

The TF is an excellent design for pedestrian safety, with its attractively proportioned and aerodynamic front end. If a collision were to happen, the front of the car is designed in a way to reduce injury to pedestrians. The mid-engine layout, with no engine beneath the bonnet, provides an absorbing area reducing further the risk of head injury.

Euro NCAP conducted tests on the MG TF produced the following points rating for crash performance:

Frontal 10.48
Side 15.55
Occupant safety protection total 26.03 (a four-star rating)
Pedestrian safety protection 19.34 (a class-leading three-star rating)

 Adrian Guyll, vehicle safety protection manager at MG Rover Group, said: "Sports cars are enjoyed for their motoring freedom, but customers can be confident that our engineering development fully ensures the MG TF performs extremely well in safety tests, as demonstrated by the Euro NCAP safety tests. Quite apart from its high four-star occupant safety rating, the three-star rating for pedestrian impact – two stars better than the competition – is an exceptional performance and one that will be respected by MG owners and the general public alike."

Note: The MG TF is the UK’s most popular sports car. Its iconic personality is true to the brand’s traditional respect for safety


18 May 2002 - The sharper, sleeker MG TF really works, unlike it's cupholders.

By Giles Smith of The Guardian

The MG TF . . . looks like a sports car and now drives like one too.

The MG TF is a revised version of the MG F, the two-seater sports car that was launched in 1995 by MG Rover Group and has been Britain's best-selling roadster since. Given the traditional nervousness about winning formulas and meddling with them, one wouldn't have been unduly surprised if the new MG F had turned out to be the old one with a slightly bigger ashtray, a new, improved keyfob and an extra T in its name.

In fact, the alterations go deeper. Obviously, anybody hoping to see a genuinely radical reappraisal of the original, involving the introduction of some new upstairs seating and the provision of in-car cinema and some wings, is going to be at least mildly disappointed. But there are changes to the car's aspect and feel that, for once, you don't need to have been in on the blueprint stage to discern. Essentially, the MG F has, over its seven years, undergone a slow evolution into the sportiness that it wasn't quite born with. The launch model had many of the typical characteristics of a sports car - a shortage of seats, a roof that came off, an engine behind the driver - but turned out to be far politer than that on closer inspection. It offered an upright driver's position and a spongy suspension, and drove like a saloon car that somebody had sat on.

What's more, though sharp and aggressively tapered at the front, the car grew strangely fat and lumpy at the back, where it tended to exude all the sporty dynamism of a 2lb bag of sugar. Fortunately, the 2000 version of the MG F sorted that out by slimming the boot down and, for this latest model, it has been planed off even more smoothly and given a nice new lip. The MG TF also gets a new front bumper, a bigger grille and a cluster of very serious, silvery circular headlamps. The side air-intakes have been reshaped, the exhaust pipes have got bigger and the car appears to be hunkering down slightly lower on to the ground. As a result, it now finally looks - from front to back - like a vehicle that was built all at once, rather than in two separate factories, by two different teams, one of which thought it was building a fork-lift truck.

In keeping with its looks, the car now drives more like a sports car, too. Clearly, the MG F has always been designed to appeal to the kind of driver who fancies travelling quickly and close to the ground, but who doesn't share the purist's enthusiasm for being thrown about like a marble in a tin box. It could be argued that, in the beginning, that desire led the car to compromise itself out of a character. Early MG Fs were so uncomplicatedly cosy to drive that they shared almost none of the traditional sports car excitements, other than the fact that you couldn't get lots of children inside them.

No one will suggest that, even in its spruced-up form, the new MG TF delivers the kind of white-knuckle, oil-in-the-hair, backside-on-the-Tarmac style experience that keeps companies such as Lotus in business. Indeed, the storage box between the seats opens up to provide two hollowed-out cup-holders. These would be anathema in a performance car, and there couldn't really be a better emblem of the MG TF's indecision between pro sport charisma and traditional middle-class comforts. (By the way, the cup-holders don't work. I tried one with a grande latte and promptly had the biggest on-board coffee disaster of my driving life, pebble-dashing the entire interior, including the windscreen, with hot milk. And all I had done was move aside slightly to allow someone to pass in a narrow road.)

Inside the cockpit, little has changed. There's still a whole barren field's-worth of sloping plastic between the driver and the bottom of the windscreen. There is still quite a lot of plastic pretending to be aluminium and failing. The clock faces are still white. And the clock - which is actually a clock - has hands and numbers, evoking that golden, pre-digital age of long ago when MG owners wore cravats, brewed their own beer and spent as much time under their cars as inside them.

But definite steps have been taken to discourage the driver from dozing off, which was an option in the old MGF on longer journeys. Apparently, the rigidity of the car's body has been increased overnight by 20% - the equivalent of going to the gym three times a week for two years for most of us. The steering - which, though electrically power-assisted, still offers a nice weight and resistance - has been shortened from lock to lock, which means it responds more snappily than it used to.

And the suspension, which used to involve "Hydragas dampers", is now done with coils, as in old Victorian beds. Gone, then, is the old soppiness. Hit a speed bump at the right angle in the MG TF and you almost feel it emerge through the seat cloth. None of this would frighten Juan Pablo Montoya. But it means that the regular MG TF customer can now get some fruitiness out of the car that goes beyond merely having a close-knit gearbox and a short-sprung handbrake. Just finish your coffee before you get in.


17 April 2002 - Landmark MG has links going back to 1924

The Birmingham Post


Flag waving and cheers brought an MG TF 160 off the production line at Longbridge yesterday. But the car was special and was MG number 1,500,000 built since the marque started in 1924.

The Jubilee gold-coloured MG TF at the centre of the celebrations was the one millionth roadster to bear the MG name. A total of 500,000 MG saloons have been built since 1926. Ken Howe, chief executive of MG Rover, said 50 MG saloons and roadster types had contributed to make MG a respected motoring brand.

The event was taking place at a time when MG was at its strongest and most exciting with the introduction of the MG ZR, ZS and ZT range and it also commemorated the Queen's Golden Jubilee. Mr Howe said the roadster would take part in a motoring cavalcade in London on June 4 and before then would be used to raise money with the proceeds going to one of the Queen's nominated Golden Jubilee charities.

Chris Bowen, operations director of MG Rover, said the production launch of the MG TF had exceeded expectations. 'We are working the maximum amount of hours allowed under our flexible working time agreement and the production line is running at full tilt with a production rate of about 430 cars each week,' said Mr Bowen. Moving from zero production to where we are now took us six weeks. A normal ramp-up would take two months. 'This quicker ramp-up has not affected the quality of the build - we know the car insideout. 'In terms of training this is done in the real surroundings of the production line and not in the prototype shop., This also comes with work evaluation.

'The European launches are now completed and sales are going well.' To single out its special production significance the car is registered MG020TF.

 
16 April 2002 - Golden Jubilee TF  - marks 1.5 millionth MG TF

 

MG Rover announces today (16 April), the building of the 1.5 millionth MG car since production began in 1924. Over its 78-year history many characteristic varieties and designs of MG have made their mark on the enthusiastic motoring public and made this one of the most famous motoring brands. The 1.5 millionth MG produced today is the new TF 160. In celebration of H.M. Queen’s Golden Jubilee, it is fittingly painted in new Monogram Supertallic paint ‘Jubilee’ Gold and finished with special Jubilee badging.

MG has long been the by-word for sports car motoring and over its history, as illustrated in the attached listing, the proportion of roadster and sports saloon models produced runs at exactly 2:1, with the MGB itself accounting for one third in its own right.

In 1977 a similar project produced a specially prepared MGB GT finished in blue paintwork with Silver Jubilee livery, to celebrate the Silver Jubilee. This car was sold, with proceeds raising money for charity.

John Sanders, MG Rover’s group marketing director, said: "The MG marque is one of the most popular and enduring motoring marques, with a strong and enthusiastic following. The exclusivity of the MG experience is demonstrated by the 1.5 million MGs produced. This is no mainstream volume brand, but an authentic car capable of generating a rewarding driving experience for owners who demand more than just mere A-B transportation. The latest MG four model range delivers this exciting experience in a bold and dynamic way and is as authentic in its rewarding driving attitude as those that have been produced over the years."

1.5 MILLIONTH MG GOLDEN JUBILEE SPECIAL

It is significant that the 1.5 millionth MG should be the new TF, for it is the latest of a new range of MG sports cars and it currently holds the torch as the icon of the MG brand into the 21st Century.

The 1.5 millionth MG Golden Jubilee is painted in a new paint treatment under the Monogram programme. Monogram is a range of 20 exclusive paint colours, one of which is ‘Monogram Jubilee’, a light, bright special Supertallic Gold that is available for an £800 additional charge.

Specified around the top of the range TF 160, this celebration model has been fitted with optional fog lamps and passenger air bag. The seats are uniquely fitted with Oxford leather seat bolsters and central black Alcantara cushions and seat backs, which are embroidered with the Golden Jubilee crown logo.

On the exterior, exclusive badging includes official Golden Jubilee crown logos – on the four 16" alloy wheels and also incorporated into the ‘160’ ingot badge on the rear, next to the TF identity badging. Above the mid-engine side-intakes are the words ‘THE 1.5 MILLIONTH MG’. Finally, the MG is registered MG02OTF, so that there is no mistaking its special production significance.

The Golden Jubilee TF will be participating in a motoring cavalcade that finishes in the Mall on 4 June and in between, will be used to raise money, with the proceeds going to one of H.M. Queen’s nominated Golden Jubilee charities.

 

13 April 2002 - Britain's best-selling sports car gets an update, but is the MGTF ready to overtake its rivals?

The Independent - BY MICHAEL BOOTH

Since its launch six years ago the MGF has been Britain's best- selling small sports car, but frankly a makeover was long overdue. So the new MGTF (named after the classic MG from 1953) gets sleeker flanks and a more aggressive nose. As with the new, improbably scintillating range of MG saloons based on the Rover 25, 45 and 75, the TF has also had its undercarriage thoroughly beefed up (out with the bouncy- castle Hydragas suspension), with the result that the TF now handles as well as rivals like the Mazda MX-5 and Toyota MR2.

The MGF was always good value and with prices starting at pounds 15,750 for the latest 115bhp version (rising to pounds 19,995 for the TF160 we tried) it remains so, but as soon as you climb inside the car you can see where costs have been cut. The MGTF's interior is an unappealing blend of cheap plastics and poorly produced mouldings. It is cramped, ergonomically flawed, and the Kenwood stereo has the most fiddly buttons (confirming Booth's theory that the faster a car goes, the more difficult it is to operate the hi-fi). Our car came with, as Diane (centre) so accurately described it, tart's boudoir raspberry red trim. Most unsightly. And the hand-brake gaiter came adrift, which doesn't bode well for the rest of the car.

Like Alison (top) I was shocked by its scuttle shake, but the MGTF at least now corners like a proper sports car. If all goes to plan, by this time next year MG will have launched the X80 - a much quicker and more expensive machine altogether, and by all accounts a supposed Porsche beater. That really would be a turn up for the books.

Alison Moore, 42, dental surgeon, from Twickenham, Middlesex. Drives an Alfa Romeo 156 Sportwagon

"The MGTF was all right, but there was a lot of scuttle shake [just driver- side of the bonnet] and I cut my hand on a nasty bit of metal inside the boot lid. It performed OK, it was quite sporty, but it's not that quick. It's a bit more butch now, but still a bit of a hairdresser's car. The car wouldn't appeal to me - I am really put off by that shaking. Compared to a BMW Z3 it is good value. The MG badge has no special meaning for me, perhaps for older people it might. I don't hate it but I wouldn't buy one."

Diane Johnson, 41, hypnotherapist and reiki healer, from Cheam, Surrey. Drives an Alfa Romeo 146

"I was fairly impressed. It was an enjoyable drive, but my Alfa is faster. It is a lovely shape; I like the changes they've made and the handling is very responsive. It's more of a driver's car than just a pretty face. The engine sounds nice and gutsy and it feels much more solid than my car. I would rather buy British than a Mazda MX-5; this is more of a man's car. I didn't go for the tart's boudoir colour scheme inside. It was very comfortable for such a low-slung sports car, and the ride was very good."

Fiona Harrison, 37, account executive, from Wallington, Surrey. Drives a VW Polo

"It takes time to get used to, but it was great fun. It is the first sporty car I've driven. It responds really well and really wants to be driven fast. That power helps make it feel safe, but sitting so low made me feel less safe. It wasn't so good in strong winds either; I'd feel happier on the M25 in high wind in my Polo. There's not a lot of space - I personally would need a bit more room. My car is like a house to me. It would be totally impractical, but good fun at weekends. It is a girly car, the interior is definitely girly. I would expect more for my money and it's a bit plasticky inside, but it does look lovely from the outside."

Road test If you would like to take part, write to The Verdict, The Independent Magazine, Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, giving your age, address and contact telephone number, and details of the type of vehicle, if any, you drive. For most cars, participants must be over 26 and have a clean driving licence.

 
14 April 2002 - MGTF is big hit as 3000 sales orders made

LONGBRIDGE'S newest MG has left all its sports car rivals standing - with 3,000 advance orders revving up huge demand for the car.

The MGTF, successor to the famed MGF, has been so successful MG Rover has already increased the model's output from 330 a week to 430. The car was launched in a blaze of publicity in February and has already won thousands of admirers in the UK and export markets across Europe.

MG Rover spokesman Greg Allport said the sales boom for the new model had vindicated the company's decision to invest heavily in the MG range.

"For a long time, we wanted to be back in the sports car market but the available funds went to the mainstream models. Funds were not available in the 1980s and 90s but from the summer of 1995 the MGF was the UK's bestselling sports car.

'Then, when the new management took over the company in May 2000, one of the key thrusts was to get far more out of the MG brand than we had done.'

Positive road tests after the February launch led to an order book of 3,000 from a range of key markets, including the UK, Germany, France and Italy. 'We are now building at the rate of 430 a week, increasing the line rate by 100, simply to meet the demand,' said Mr Allport. 'The car has had an absolutely fantastic reception.'

The new range of MGs currently being produced at Longbridge has boosted the models to 30 per cent of output at the Birmingham car factory. MG Rover bosses now hope that the MGTF will generate annual sales of between 14,000 and 15,000 cars per year!

 
14 April 2002 - AUTOWEEK of the US reviews the TF

MARK RECHTIN


Updated for a new millennium and by a new owner, the MG TG uses the same platform and front suspension as the MGF, but MG engineers replaced the old Hydragas rear suspension with multilinks, coil springs and antiroll bar.
Can the British build a better British roadster than the Mazda Miata? Well, no.

More cheaply? Yes. Evidence: the MG TF convertible, the revised version of the car introduced at Geneva in 1995 as the MGF. The new car’s name is MG TF, boldface MG and italic TF, if you please.

It sits on the same platform as that introduced under the former BMW regime.

Nowadays, under independent British ownership, MG’s pockets aren’t as deep. In an era of $1.5 billion development costs (see the new Range Rover), there can either be feelings of delight or suspicion when an automaker says it redesigned its flagship sporty car for a mere $45 million. Such frugality evokes thoughts of elegantly inexpensive solutions, but also brings a vision of the R&D department cribbing spare parts from Big Nigel’s Salvage and Sausage Van.

Some cost-cutting tactics are quite visible. Then again, this is a better ragtop than several offered by free-spending car companies. Does it drive like a British roadster? Sort of.

It’s nimble, but not darty. It’s 150 pounds heavier than the Miata, at 2535 pounds, but still light enough to elicit a scream of “Yeah, baby,” as you fling it around secondary roads. Its switchgear can be a bit crude. Its appearance comes across macho enough for men, cute enough for girls. Guess that means it’s British.

The TF offers a choice among four powerplants, ranging from 1.6 liters to 1.8 liters, cranking out 115, 120, 135 or 160 hp. All are derived from the same K-series Rover four, which tends to get agricultural at the top end of the rev range. The venerable K wasn’t designed to fly under the U.S. EPA’s radar, either.

We recently drove both the 135- and 160-hp versions in Portugal. The 160-hp model didn’t feel much quicker than its second-tier sibling, though it has a claimed 0-to-60-mph speed under seven seconds. Both TF engines felt composed at autopista speeds, turning 4000 rpm in fifth at about 90 mph. But neither Rover engine offered anything on par with the sewing machine- smoothness of the Miata.

The 160-hp version has a clutch pedal stiffer than Prince Charles’ upper lip and very short travel, so shifting was sometimes a lurchy affair. Brake pedal travel was short, too, but the modulation and grip was responsive and crisp.

The TF’s real story lies in its suspension. MG engineers ripped out the old Hydragas rear suspension and replaced it with multilinks, coil springs and antiroll bar. The front suspension remains double wishbone. Executives insist the redesigned suspension cost a mere $2.5 million.

The result: Whereas the old MGF was tail-happy under pressure, the MG TF is composed and responsive without being busy. Driving on narrow Portuguese back roads— adrift with dogs and old ladies crossing inopportunely—didn’t allow for the exploration of four-wheel drift or power oversteer characteristics. But there were plenty of corners with visible exits for fast pursuit, and here the TF excelled.

A four-inch-longer wheelbase than the Miata helps the TF feel planted, yet it refused to get squirrelly despite having an inch-narrower rear track. The TF also comes with very grippy rubber: Goodyears on the 15-inch wheels, Contis on the optional 16s. Perhaps most impressive, the TF remained settled in sudden mid-corner braking to avoid one of the aforementioned dogs. The optional sport suspension, while providing even better maneuverability, felt a bit ouncy on the motorway.

The pence-pinching development program is sometimes painfully obvious. Consider the plasticky, circa-1988 Honda Civic headlight and wiper stalks, or the handbrake that doesn’t fit flush with the center console. The HVAC system rudely intrudes into the passenger footwell. The Kenwood audio deck has buttons tinier than anything Suzuki ever foisted on audiophiles. The console surrounds are cheap brushed plastic.

The A-pillar is much too thick and obscuring. The ragtop uses the same elegant clips as the Miata, but you must exit the car to raise and lower it.

But just when you’re ready to pass off the TF as little better than a parts-bin kit car, it surprises. The dashboard vinyl is resilient and has a high-quality feel. The seat bolstering holds occupants firmly in place during the most spirited cornering, yet gives superior lumbar support on long highway stretches. The wind blocker is far more effective than that in the Porsche Boxster. The projector headlamps give off a fierce light. The trunk, squeezed behind the mid-mounted engine, can fit a golf bag.

Ah, but the real question. It’s British, so the top leaks, right? Not once, even in a ferocious Portuguese downpour.

MG-Rover plans to sell 14,000 of the roadsters worldwide annually, mostly in Britain. Prices range from $22,837 to $29,000. It was thought the TF might accompany the new MG franchise to America with the X80 supercar (formerly the Qvale Mangusta). But with the X80 delayed until fall 2003, Americans will have to wait a while to see if MG dares to challenge the Toyota MR2 for those customers seeking affordable mid-engine handling.

 

6 May 2002 - MG TF takes top Geneva award

Today at the Geneva Motor Show, Rob Oldaker, MG Rover Group‘s Product Development Director was presented with the "Cabrio of the Year" award 2002 for the new MG TF sports car.

This most prestigious annual award, voted by a jury of 18 independent motoring journalists from 11 countries, is given to a new open-top car with outstanding design and appeal to a widespread international audience.

Accepting the award from Jean-Marie Revaz, President Geneva International Motor Show, Rob Oldaker commented: "Eight months ago the MG brand was represented by only the MGF sports car. We now have a full range of performance saloons, namely the MG ZR, MG ZS and MG ZT, a sports ZT-T estate and the new MG TF sports car, which was launched in February.

Oldaker further stated: "I accept this award on behalf of the company’s talented engineering and styling teams, who have developed the new MG range in such a short period of time."

 
20 February 2002 - AUTO EXPRESS reviews the TF 160

Here's an MG that's nearly as fast from 0-60mph as a Lotus Elise, sniffs at the heels of a Subaru Impreza WRX and will wipe the floor with a 2.2-litre BMW Z3. The new TF 160 spearheads the revitalised MG TF range, and proves what a finely honed driver's car the stylish roadster has morphed into. The same team that turned Rover's humdrum family cars into desirable sports saloons has been let loose to toughen up the MGF.
Powered by a 1.8-litre in-line four, the TF 160 offers 158bhp. The car can really be driven hard up to the 7,100rpm red line, and sprints from 0-60mph in 6.9 seconds and on to a 137mph top speed.

Sitting 10mm lower than the standard model, the car we tested was fitted with a £150 sports suspension pack, which means stiffer springs and different damper rates. The set-up gives much more driver involvement, but the MG doesn't suffer from the bone-jarring side effects of its raw cut rivals such as the Lotus Elise. The steering's crisp, the gearbox allows you to fully use the rev range and the brakes prove strong. In short, the MG TF is a very capable driver's car.

With a starting price of £19,995 for a standard TF 160, the roadster undercuts the likes of the Elise and 2.2-litre BMW Z3, despite offering more luxury than the former and a more exciting drive than the latter. There is still room for improvement, however. The staid interior differs little from that of the standard car, the steering wheel is non-reach-adjustable and the awkward stereo system will irritate drivers. Should you specify air-conditioning, you'll also have to live with a brick-sized intrusion into the passenger footwell.

Setting aside niggles such as these, though, the TF 160 is a far better car all round - and that's something MG, and any owner, should be very proud of.

The top-of-the-range TF is not only a hoot to drive but, taking into account its performance, is also competitively priced - and it should ensure the MG remains Britain's most popular roadster.

At a glance

  • MG TF 160 is on sale in UK now, priced £19,995.

  • Flagship model powered by a 158bhp (160PS) 1.8-litre engine.

  • Several grades of Sports Pack available from £150 to £1,850.

  • Interior trim can be specified to a buyer's individual tast.

  
17 February 2002 - Pocket  PORSCHE

By Russel Gray; Mail on Sunday

 

As a car mad teenager my favourite advert was for the MG Midget featuring a big haired brunette with heavy eye shadow wearing a white crocheted minidress and dreamily fondling the cars chrome handbrake.

 

Sadly, I never met the young woman and despite the fantasises, I never bought the car, either.

 

By the time I had money I was a rabid motorsport fan and that meant I had to have something closer to Grand Prix racing, a Lotus Elan.

The MG effect wouldn't go away though. Some weekends my late father, behind rose tinted spectacles, used to witter on about exciting drives in an early Fifties MG TF and of a friend who had driven a racing version home on public roads at night from a racing circuit.

I've never tried a TF, but in a move that older drivers may see as besmirching the name, there's now a new TF, the replacement for the MGF, Britain's best-ever selling sports car since its launch seven years ago.

 

The new car is much more focused on driving involvement and excitement and even further ahead of its rivals – and don’t think that I’m waving the Union Jack in a burst of patriotism.

 

This car is a tribute to British engineers. For although MG development was froze when BMW took control of Rover – because it didn’t want the car wiping the floor with it’s below par Z3 – the TF has arrived six months earlier than expected, in time for the March registration.

 

Prices are in the competitive MG tradition – from £15,750 on the road for the 115bhp 1.6 litre model to £19,995 for the rip snorting 160 bhp 1.8 litre car, with automatic transmission available on the TF120 for £18,245 and the likely most popular the TF135 at £17,245. The TF160 races from  0-60 in 6.9 secs and will deliver 26-37mpg.

 

And the new metal work provides styling hints to the next MG – the £50,000 high performance coupe on its way within a year. It has cut aerodynamic drag and reduced lift, giving the TF much greater stability at seed than the old MGF. But the biggest news is the Hydragas suspension, which had a tendency to leak, with a conventional one of springs, dampers and anti-roll bars.

The new suspension design has helped improve the brakes overall because the rear pair are used more. But the ride comfort is not as good and quite bouncy. With top speeds of 127mph for the TF135 and 137mph for the TF160, this is a cracking little sportscar.

 

Dressed to kill, the new TF is more raw, raunchy and passionate than before. You’re closer to the machine and the action as if in a pocket Porsche

And the steering is now quicker and more communicative.

Individuality? There are so many options – such as bright pack, if you are into chrome, for £175, and a wood trim at £350 – the chances of seeing an identical car are zero.

 

Inside, the suede and leather seats look good and there’s even a decent sized boot. Obviously, young people thinking about sports cars have a practical question about comfort a deux. The TF is not a large car, so the driving position is cosy for big people.

 

I know that doesn’t answer the delicate question of romance, but people who buy MG’s are too polite to go into that sort of detail.

 
16 February 2002 - TF review by the "Independent"

BY JOHN SIMISTER

 

MG TF. Mean anything to you? For most of us it's probably something to do with the little mid-engined MGF sports car, Britain's best-selling roadster, now renamed in line with the other MGs (ZR, ZS, ZT). For those more than normally aware of ancient cars, however, it's the resurrection of a fine old MG name.

The last of the T-type Midgets, cars which formed the bridgehead of a major British sports-car sales invasion of the post-war United States, was called TF. It died in 1955, and was replaced by the MGA. Today's MG Rover company is keenly aware of the link - this is the company that still ends the first of a new series of chassis numbers with the last four digits of its telephone number, just as MG has always done - but it plays the link down because it's meaningless to the young buyers it now seeks. Heritage buffs can bask in their anoraksic knowledge, fun-seekers can just enjoy the car.

Will they? The new TF certainly gives off the visual vibes of a good time. Where the old MGF was a little soft-edged and podgy (designer Gerry McGovern, now creating sharp-edged shapes at Ford's US Lincoln arm, meant it to be crisper but something got lost between styling model and body press), the new one is assertive and attitudinal. The same goes for the way it moves.

The MGF was unusual among sports cars in having Hydragas suspension based on the system used in the Metro, which gave it a particularly smooth and supple ride. This appealed to a clientele, which proved more aged than MG had hoped, but it took away the nuances of communication and interactivity that a sports car should have. Now the Hydragas is gone, replaced by normal springs and dampers, and there's a whole new rear suspension system - its geometry resembles a racing car's - which, ingeniously, still uses much the same subframe as before. And, as with the short-lived MGF Trophy 160, the front and rear subframes are now bolted directly to the body instead of via rubber insulators.

Ride comfort, it seems, has been sacrificed and replaced with a character- transforming sportiness. The steering acts more quickly now, too, and its electrically powered assistance has been reduced to allow a better feel of the road. The body sits 10mm lower, and the engines (four choices) deliver more power with a sharper response. It's almost as if the MG has had a sex change.

Peter Stevens, stylist of the Lotus Esprit and the McLaren F1 among others, is the architect of the new look. The nose is deeper and lower, with a big rectangular air intake beneath a grille now traversed by a central bar and headlight lenses now covering three round light units apiece. On the flanks, the air intake flows into a stronger, sharper sill whose lower edge is flared out. This, plus the fact that the sill and rear wing is now one big pressing, helps towards the 20 per cent increase in the bodyshell's stiffness.

The tail features a lip spoiler on the bootlid, another rectangular air vent and twin exhausts. Aerodynamics benefit as much as visual attitude from the makeover, with five per cent less wind resistance and a massive 55 per cent less lifting force at speed as felt by the rear wheels. This makes the MG much more stable.

Expectations subside when you sit inside, though. The MGF interior always looked as though designed on the cheap, and not much has changed. The plasticky centre console is the worst part, but some new colour schemes - "Grenadine", a sort of cherry red, is my favourite - do lift the ambience beyond the nondescript dark grey dashboard and door trims of the original car.

Now I'm scooting up some twisty hill roads in the Algarve, venue for the TF's world unveiling. I'm in the TF 135, the second-most powerful in the range (others are a CVT automatic TF 120 and range-topping TF 160, both also with 1.8-litre engines, and a 1.6-litre TF 115), and already we're a long way from the old MGF experience. It's as though a veil has been lifted. Instead of feeling insulated from the road, I'm part of it.

But two things aren't quite right. The steering may be a firmer gateway to more accurate, more confident handling, but it still feels a little disconnected around the straight-ahead position despite the MG engineers' insistence to the contrary. And the engine feels flat, unwilling to respond as expected to the accelerator as I power up the hills. It may have 136bhp, but it doesn't feel that way.

Credibility returns with the TF 160. This is an altogether feistier drive thanks to the enhanced muscularity delivered by its variable valve timing, and - astonishingly - it's also a more economical one when driven gently. Now I can feel the suspension and steering changes more clearly, because the extra power is giving them a meaningful workout. This is a genuinely fast sports car, able to shoot to 60mph in under seven seconds, and it has bigger, more powerful brakes to match.

There's another TF cocktail to come, though. Sport Pack One, costing pounds 150, lowers the suspension a further 10mm and makes it quite a lot stiffer. This is the way to make the TF really come alive. Now the steering feels truly positive, with so much "bite" that you wonder if it might be just a little too eager to turn into a corner. You can feel exactly what is happening under the tyres, unlike in the old MGF, but unfortunately the ride comfort - already reduced from outstanding to no-comment average - goes to pieces. Sport Pack One generates a tiresomely choppy bouncing motion on anything less than a perfect road.

So, you take your pick: acceptable ride but slightly dead steering, or a great time in fast bends until your stomach cries enough. What we need is the best aspects combined in one car. It must be possible. Surely.

RIVALS

  • Toyota MR2: £17,980. It's the MG's closest conceptual rival, and mixes sharp handling with a decent ride. But, disastrously, there's no boot.

  • Fiat Barchetta: £13,185. A bargain in this company, the cute Fiat suffers, but not seriously, through being front-wheel and left-hand drive.

  • Lotus Elise:  £22,980. There's no purer sports car than the fabulous- to-drive but quite basic Elise.

  • Mazda MX-5 Sport: £17,495. Traditional in layout and ageing now, the Mazda is still a lot of good-value fun but outclassed by the new MG.

 

14 February 2002 - Sunday Express reviews the TF

By Nat Barnes

IT'S hard to think of anything more British that the MG hexagon. Winding country lanes on crisp winter mornings, the wind in your hair, the sun on your face, it's the ultimate romantic image. And, of course, after the alliance with BMW, the marque now conforms to that other classic British stereotype - that of the underdog.

MG Rover may have had its trials and tribulations over the past 20 months (and if the latest workforce troubles are anything to go by, it's not out of the woods yet) but with the launch of the new MG TF, the revised version of the MGF, it's no surprise that the company's bosses are wearing big smiles.

The MGF has been the UK's top selling drop-top for the past six years;

77,500 have been sold since it arrived in 1995 and the market has grown five-fold since then. So it's no surprise that MG Rover's bigwigs all resemble Cheshire cats as they unveil the TF. With the MGF having enjoyed its best ever sales year in 2001, they know they're on to a w inner with the new car. Furthermore, the TF is paving the w ay for an exciting future which will include the 911-chasing X80 sports coupe due in 2003.

The revised look immediately differentiates the TF from its predecessor. Twin projector headlamps, a new front bumper, re-sculpted sills and a new rear bumper and bootlid with a raised spoiler all give the new model a more purposeful look, especially from the front. As well as rapidly dating the old car, it also offers a few clues to the family face that will be seen on the forthcoming X80. Watch this space.

It's under the skin where the TF has introduced the most changes, though. There's an entirely new suspension system, sharper steering, a stiffer chassis (always important in a drop-top) and better brakes, while all of the engines have been uprated to provide more power. All of which, far more than the tweaks to the exterior styling, tells all you need to know about how much further MG has moved on with the TF.

Take it out on the road and in less than a mile you begin to feel the difference. One of the main criticisms of the old car was that it didn't really appeal to the serious driving enthusiast, failing to communicate with the person behind the wheel any sense of what the car was doing or how hard you could push it when pressing on. It obviously hasn't stopped the car from being successful but, in a mid-engined car, it was a serious shortfall. Get a corner wrong in a mid-engined car and you will be picking bits of hedge out of your teeth before you're aware anything's wrong - just ask anyone who's ever driven an old Toyota MR2.

Of course, it didn't help that its arch rival, the MX5, was one of the most fun cars to drive on the planet.

However, it's no understatement to say that the TF is like chalk and cheese when compared to its predecessor. The new suspension provides a forgiving but firm ride that's altogether more composed than the old car, the steering is sharper and you can throw this model through corners with real ease. Put simply, it has become a serious driver's car, going from one to be driven with a certain level of circumspection to one that can be taken by the scruff of the neck and muscled around bends with confidence no matter what the speed.

And, as icing on the cake, the grip afforded by the massive optional 16inch tyres is nothing short of incredible. The same goes for the gear change which has improved remarkably. But it's not entirely perfect. While much sharper than before, the steering still feels slightly woolly compared with the likes of the telepathic MX5, especially when going straight ahead. The oddly shaped steering wheel doesn't exactly help matters, either.

The new engines are a revelation, though. With a new badging system, the 115 replaces the 1.6, the 135 replaces the 1.8 and the 160 replaces the VVC. The semi-automatic Stepspeed retains its own 1.8-litre engine with 120bhp. The flagship 160 represents the biggest step in terms of performance, with a 0-60mph time of just 6.9 seconds and a 136mph top speed. Like the other powerplants in the range, the 160 has a wonderful engine note, though they all have to be worked hard to get the best performance from them. If you don't hit the rev-limiter at least once on an enthusiastic drive, then you're simply not driving it hard enough.

BUT, despite those wonderful engines, the biggest hurdle in your enjoyment of the MG TF depends, rather strangely, on your height.

The MGF was never the most comfortable of cars for taller drivers and the same is true here, for the simple reason that it would involve too much expensive re-engineering.

It's a shame because, at 6ft 1in and with size 11 feet, I don't think I'm that unusual, but that's obviously not the way the engineers at MG see it. The steering badly needs reach adjustment, the seating position is too high and the top of your head sticks above the windscreen and directly into the wind, so you'd better hang on to your hat. The lack of room down by your feet also means you scuff the top of your shoes on the bottom of the dash when changing gear.

It doesn't get much better for your passenger either. If you choose the optional air conditioning (which will set you back a hefty GBP 1,125), part of the system appears in the passenger footwell in the form of a five-inch square metal box. Not only does it look scruffy and like an oversight (you would never see that in a Toyota or *** for instance) but, as it's difficult to negotiate your feet round, it concerned me about its safety in a frontal impact. MG Rover insists it isn't detrimental to passenger safety but I know that I wouldn't want my passenger's feet - or mine - anywhere near it in an accident.

This is a shame, because the interior is another area where the TF has seen improvements in terms of both build quality and overall feel.

There's an Audi TT-style metal gearknob, metal-look surround and also new soft-feel dashboard and upholstery fabrics. The result is an interior that knocks the likes of the MX5 and Fiat Barchetta into a cocked hat and is easily on a par with a BMW Z3. Only minor downsides are door armrests that aren't long enough to rest your arms on and a peculiar draught from the cavity for the interior door handle.

MG claims that the MGF has a far wider customer appeal than the MX5 or Z3, which have gained unfair reputations over the years (as cars for hairdressers and yuppies respectively). Instead, it says, the MGF traditionally has a 50/50 male/ female split that is likely to turn more towards men with the new model's improved driver involvement. But, at 5ft 9in, the average male hasn't far to go before becoming uncomfortable behind the wheel. Anyone vertically challenged will enjoy the TF for all its strengths but anyone over 6ft tall needn't apply. Save yourself a wasted journey and check your height before you visit the MG showroom.


Rivals: Mazda MX5, BMW Z3, Fiat Barchetta Verdict: Driving the new MG TF is no tall order Rating: 7/10

 

14 February 2002 - Auto Express reviews the TF135

When Rover unveiled its original MGF, sports cars around the world stood humbled. Here was a mid-engined two-seater that Britain could be truly proud of. It offered style and refinement, performance and individuality. For once, our country's car industry was on top - not only in the popularity stakes, but the sales charts, too.

 

With this in mind, Rover's decision to abandon all that made the 'F' fantastic with it all-new MG TF seems an extremely risky gamble. But on looks alone, the bet has certainly paid off. The metallic blue MG TF 135 we sampled for this exclusive drive looks stunning in the metal.

Priced at £17,245, the 135bhp MX-5 and Lotus Elise rival sports a new grille, headlamps and bumpers. Styling changes have also altered the shape of the bonnet and boot, and put sharper creases into the wings as well. A new range of colours, which includes the Trophy Blue shown here as well as a metallic grey and green, has been developed, and there is an extra set of alloy wheels to choose from, too. Wearing sharp-looking sills and cooling vents, the TF is more modern and much more aggressive than its predecessor.

 

Swing open the door and you'll find changes have been made to the interior trim, too. Although the basic shape and feel remain the same, the upgraded materials add to the air of refinement. As you slide behind the wheel it also becomes obvious that the driving ergonomics have been improved. The seat squab is now thinner and the rake adjustment introduced at the car's last facelift offers more versatility. But by far the greatest changes made to the MG TF are under the skin. The Hydragas suspension system has been stripped out and replaced with a conventional spring and damper arrangement. Brakes have been uprated, too, and a raft of modifications made to the engine-management system now means drivers can expect a smoother and faster throttle response.

 

Fire up the powerplant and it's also clear that a great deal has been done to improve sound-proofing. The mechanical thrash that accompanied the 1.8-litre K-Series unit when it was used in the MGF has all but been eliminated. The gearchange is a little shorter, too, and as you move bet-ween the five ratios the shift action feels slicker thanks to the uprated engine management. While tinkering with the chassis, engineers also scrapped the old steering. It is now lighter and offers much more feel than ever before. Floor the throttle and speed builds quickly, with Rover claiming the MG TF 135 is capable of sprinting from 0-60mph in 8.2 seconds. Top end is an impressive 127mph. On winding roads, the MG TF feels much lighter on its toes than the old MGF. It seems very keen to change direction, and accelerates more effortlessly than its predecessor ever could. A glance at the specification reveals why. Although the car's kerbweight remains fundamentally unchanged, the new suspension and steering systems coupled with the 135bhp engine improve its agility considerably.

 

The ride is not quite as smooth as on its predecessor, but body control and balance remain excellent. Drive too fast into the corner and the neutral MG TF drifts evenly. Even late, heavy braking does little to upset the car. Ultimately it's hard to be anything but impressed by the MG TF. Better in virtually every respect than the out-going car, it's a machine that seems certain to keep MG Rover at the very top of the UK's roadster sales charts. If the 'F' in MGF stood for fabulous, there can be no doubt that 'TF' in the newcomer stands for Totally Fantastic.

Although the stylish new MG TF looks similar to the MGF, drivers should be quite clear the two cars are very different. The newcomer's steering is stronger, the brakes are better and the conventional chassis set-up is every bit as capable as the Hydragas system it replaces. We still say that the driving position could be improved and the suspension is a little harsh, but these are small concerns overall. From where we are sitting it looks like Britain's favourite roadster is set to go from strength to strength.

 

At a glance

  • New £17,245 MG TF 135 in the showrooms now.

  • Powered by 135bhp four-cylinder 1.8-litre K-Series engine.

  • New-look bodywork.

  • Conventional suspension set-up replaces Hydragas system.

 

30 January 2002 - Birmingham Post says " MG TF puts the fun back into driving"

BY CHRIS RUSSON

 

Motoring Correspondent Chris Russon visited Portugal to test drive the new MGTF - 'a shot in the arm for sheer enjoyment from behind the wheel'

A legendary name from the heyday of British motoring is being revived to signal a new look for the nation's best-loved sports car. The MG TF was the last of the classic open-top two-seaters that were cherished by generations of enthusiasts. Images of dashing RAF fighter pilots from the Battle of Britain visiting country pubs after a day's sorties would never be complete without the obligatory MG T Series Midget as the preferred choice of transport.

The romance that began with the birth of the MG TA in 1939 and ended when the last TF was produced in 1955 is now being rekindled with a new TF designed to keep the real thrills of driving at affordable levels.

 

'Outrageous fun for all' has become MG's slogan for its latest breed of Longbridge-made cars since Rover freed itself from BMW two years ago and that has already been amply demonstrated with the high-performance ZR, ZS and ZT sports saloons. Now the class leading MGF is getting more than a midlife makeover as it mutates into the new TF. Sexy new looks are obvious but it is what is under the skin that counts in this latest roadster. A new suspension system, tweaks to the steering and uprated engines put the MG TF at the top of the tree when it comes to sub pounds 20,000 open top cars. With prices starting at pounds 15,750 for a 1.6 litre model and topping out at pounds 19,995 for the incredibly brisk 158bhp TF160, this MG is keeping alive the niche created when the MGF was launched in 1995.

 

The new car is built almost in race trim. It is 20 per cent stiffer than before, half an inch lower and conventional coil spring and multi-link rear axle suspension replaces the Hydragas system used on the MGF. The gearing on the steering has also been improved making the car even more responsive and positive to drive. Its secret weapon has always been mid-engined configuration - necessary to fit a transverse engine to produce rear wheel drive - which gives the car a wonderfully low centre of gravity enabling it to hug the road like few others.

 

Improvements have also been made to the aerodynamics. The front bumper and air dam have been redesigned to produce more downflow, the side skirts leading to the scooped out air intakes on the rear wing have been flared and a rear spoiler has been mounted on the boot lip. There are also new lamp arrangements front and rear, a new grille incorporating a larger MG badge and an array of snazzy alloy wheels as well as larger twin exhausts. The result is a much more muscular presence on the road that now reflects this MG's performance. On the winding roads leading through the eucalyptus forests of the mountains of Monchique in the Portuguese Algarve where MG has chosen to launch the TF, the car demonstrated its abilities to the full.

A precision feel, masses of power and road hugging characteristics make this a great car to drive.

 

The top range TF160, which comes with racing specification brakes plus ABS as standard, uses an uprated 1.8 litre VVC K Series engine that develops 11 more bhp than in the MGF. It is magnificent fun, lively and responsive to the slightest throttle input. Little surprise then that the 0 to 60 sprint comes up in just 6.9 seconds and the car has a claimed top speed of 137mph while still being capable of averaging close on 38 miles per gallon.

With a theoretical range of close on 400 miles from the 11gallon tank, this is simply a wonderful car to let your hair down and drive forever. It is as exciting as it is exhilarating to drive - given the right conditions. The TF160 is at the top of a four-model line up that begins with a basic specification 1.6 litre version, the TF115 - the figures represent the power output of the engine.

 

This one may not come with all the goodies available on the higher specification cars, but it still has a real zest for pleasurable motoring. It tops out at a reported 118mph, has a very respectable 0 to 60 time of 9.2 seconds and is nicely economical at almost 40mpg. Like the TF160 it also qualifies for a reduction in car tax for private motorists thanks to a class leading CO2 figure of 169 putting it in the pounds 140 a year bracket - the same as the bigger-engined car which is rated at 179 on the emissions scale. However the other two engines in the TF line up are in the top pounds 155a-year tax bracket with CO2 output figures of 189 for the TF135 and 199 for the TF120.

 

The TF135, which costs pounds 17,245, uses the normal 1.8 K Series engine without the benefit of the sophisticated variable valve control set up. It certainly does not feel as lively as the TF160 but is still capable of an 8.2 second 0 to 60 time and a top speed of 127. Again fuel economy is acceptable at an average of 35.6 mpg, according to MG's own figures.

 

The final car in the line up is the TF120 Stepspeed which at pounds 18,245 comes equipped with CVT gearbox that can be used either through a traditionally central gear lever or by quick fire paddles on the steering wheel.

 

Startling new paint jobs, including vibrant blues and yellows, are available as is a new Le Mans Green. The seats feature new fabrics and there is also the option of alcantara upholstery as well as a plush full leather interior that can feature a matching leather-clad steering wheel plus bright work on the external mesh grilles.

 

Further personal touches are available in the choice of hoods which as well as the standard black can now set off the car in green, blue or grey.

However ABS is not fitted as standard across the range, only on the 160 and 135 - on the others it is a pounds 550 option - and none of the cars are equipped with a passenger airbag. That again is an option costing pounds 275.MGF has outsold every other roadster in the UK and only the Mazda MX5 and Toyota MR2 come close in offering the same sort of thrills at a price which won't break the bank.

 

 

15 January 2002 - Brussels Show Debut for the TF!

MG today (15th January) unveiled, for the first time, the new MG TF at the Brussels Motor Show. The MG TF is a fundamental new generation of the MGF, Britain’s best selling sports car and introduces a new exterior appearance, an all-new suspension design, higher performing engines and a host of new paint, interior trim and hood colours.

 

Launched progressively into world markets from February 2002 with an array of new improvements, the TF is led by its design, feature specification and driver enjoyment. In the UK market, the MGF has been the best selling car in the roadster sector for the last six years and the TF has been evolved to continue this tradition.

 

The MG styling team, led by the company’s Product Design Director, Peter Stevens, have substantially developed the exterior style and aerodynamic packaging – the two key influencing factors on purchase decision.

 

The TF carries a sharper, more aggressive and purposeful look, which was honed in both studio and wind tunnel. The improved aerodynamic characteristics play an integral part in the chassis development and maximise the benefits of the new suspension and steering changes. The TF has a new front bumper, shaped to reduce front-end lift, with a framed lower air intake and the provision for ‘Fogstar’ fog lamps. All-new high-efficiency projector headlamps complete the frontal appearance. At the rear, an integrated effective lip spoiler incorporating a high-mounted stop lamp flows from the rear deck. The TF is lower with a greater dynamic appearance, assisted by its dart-like sill features and crisply-shaped air intakes. A crucial aspect of the TF’s engineering development was the requirement for a new suspension design. A completely new coil spring suspension and multi-link rear axle replaces the MGFs inter-connected Hydragas system to produces a more responsive and involving set-up, re-engineered to produce a completely enjoyable driving experience. An optional Sports Handling Pack permits greater levels of driver involvement and further improved handling performance.

 

The MG TF is a new generation of the MGF, that recognises the ‘real world’ affordability and practicality required of a fully-functioning everyday sports car. The modified front and rear subframes are solid-mounted and the new suspension features a 10mm lower stance. This benefits appearance, stability and handling with its lower centre of gravity. The body structure has been stiffened in crucial areas to produce a 20% more rigid shell, producing an improvement in windscreen header vibration. Steering is now more responsive, with a completely new tune for the speed-sensitive Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS), with a 10% faster geared rack with revised characteristics to give a more progressive steering feel throughout the car’s speed range. On ABS equipped cars, braking distances have been shortened by 10%.  

 

A four-model range provides customers with a spectrum of performance, style, affordability and specification. Designated by numbers closely linked to their power output, the range includes the 1.6-litre TF 115, the well-appointed 1.8-litre TF 135, the TF 120 Stepspeed with multi-function CVT sports auto and the range-topping TF 160 with the legendary Variable Valve Control K Series engine. The TF range spans a 118mph/190kph to 137mph/220kph speed range capability, with improvements to performance, economy and CO2.

 

New paint colours; XPower Grey and Le Mans Green are available on MG TF, with Trophy Blue and Trophy Yellow now extended to the entire range. TF also introduces three new optional hood colours – in blue, grey and green and new trim fabrics – Sebring and Daytona. Three new interior colours to complement Ash - Tan, Grenadine and Smokestone are available with matching tonneau covers for when the hood is folded. New alloy wheels include an eleven-spoke 16" design and the option of an ultra-lightweight.

 

Rob Oldaker, MG Rover Group’s Product Development director, explained: "The MGF has proved to be an amazing success having dominated its sector for the last six-years. The introduction of the new MG TF will enhance this popularity further. I have no doubt that the new TF, with its fresh new design style, new suspension with revised rear linkage geometry and a rich choice of feature specification and colour will produce even more exhilaration and retain MG’s sales pole position."

 

The first MG TF built will carry a 0101 VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) suffix, following an MG tradition that has used the last three numbers of the company’s telephone number - Longbridge is 0121 475 2101. Abingdon MGs from 1930 were started at 0251 (Abingdon 251), with MG Magnette ZAs and TF Midgets using a 0501 VIN following the company’s BMC Headquarters in Birmingham having the 1501 telephone number.

 

Product Summary:

 

Body shape – front, side and rear styling and aerodynamic improvements Headlamps incorporate projector and direction indictor lamps

Entirely new suspension for enhanced driver involvement and response:

  • Multi-link rear axle with precise kinematics control Coil springs replace the interconnected Hydragas system

  • Solidly-mounted subframes for improved handling responsiveness

Greater choice of paint colours, interior trims and optional hood colours Contemporary interior treatment, with new fabrics and revised instrumentation

Higher performance K Series engines

The aggressive and purposeful style of the MG TF is sleeker and sportier, with a lower stance made possible by the inclusion of new:

  • Front bumper formed for aerodynamic performance with MG grille identity

  • Larger front grille aperture and MG badge

  • Rear bumper housing larger exhaust pipes

  • Headlamp units incorporating projector lamps and direction indicator

  • Body monoside with new shape mid-engine air-intakes

  • Boot lid with integral aerodynamic spoiler and high-mounted LED stop-lamp

A number of enhanced customer choice items include new:

  • Paint colours include XPower Grey and Le Mans Green

  • Coloured hoods – three new optional colours; blue, grey and green

  • Alloy wheel designs; 16" 11-spoke on TF160 and an optional ultra-lightweight

 


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