MG ZT (2001 – 2005) Car Reviews –

29 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on MG ZT (2001 – 2005) Car Reviews –


(2001 – 2005)


It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that many in the motoring industry greeted the MG ZT range with huge scepticism. Turn a Rover 75 that ‘wheeled Werther’s Original’ into something that would do credit to the MG badge? Do us a favour!

Knives were sharpened in advance; hatchet jobs were planned describing how MG Rover were milking the last vestiges of credibility from the MG marque. Journalists drove the car. Big helpings of humble pie were subsequently eaten. The MG ZT is a class act, a car that feels as if it should retail another £5,000 dearer.

There’s a bulletproof aura to it whichever model you choose. With used examples now starting to appear in steady numbers it’s possible to buy into this hefty hunk of Britishness at bargain prices. Here’s how.



Models Covered: Four-door saloon ZT, Five-door estate ZT-T (1.8, 2.5 V6, 2.0 diesel [120, 160, 180 Sports Auto, 190, 260, CDTi, CDTi135])


That the MG ZT was hatched from the tweedy Rover 75 is improbable in itself. That it turned out to be a car that looked the part wearing alloy wheels and spoilers is even less likely but strange times breed strange cars. When BMW pulled the plug on Rover, the management in charge had to revitalise the marque and bring in much needed cashflow quickly and it turns out they made some wise choices.

Employing Peter Stevens to style the ZT’s aggressive spoilers was one good move as was sparking public interest with plans for outrageous rear wheel drive powerhouses. The range kicked off in June 2001 with one engine in two distinct states of tune, 160 and 190bhp. This 2.5-litre V6 was a good base to proceed from, offering a buttery smooth power delivery that MG could graft some proper sporting induction and exhaust sounds onto.

The ZT-T Tourer model and 114bhp CDTi diesel version followed shortly afterwards. A ZT180 Sports Auto version appeared in summer 2002 with a more powerful CDTi 135 version appearing the subsequent autumn. At the same time, MG Rover axed the ZT160 in favour of a turbocharged 1.8-litre model, also with 160bhp but boasting better emissions and performance figures. Summer 2003 saw the launch of the fleet-friendly ZT120 entry-level model.

The first of the rear-wheel-drive V8 ZTs arrived at the tail end of 2003 sporting a 4.6-litre Ford Mustang engine. In early 2004 a facelift radically, and somewhat controversially, changed the look of the car. A new grille derived from the SV coupe and reshaped headlights were the most prominent. features.

By 2005, it was all over for the ZT and MG Rover as a volume car producer.

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