Not just a pretty face: The MG GT can make you fall in love with sedans again

The long history of Morris Garages or MG is full of speeders. Among the more notable ones are the first MG 14/28 sports car and the land speed record-setter MG EX181 of the ‘50s. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, MG put out two-door roadsters – whose direct descendant today is the MG 6 XPower used in touring car races.

Then there’s the MG GT, which obviously draws upon the brand’s sporty intentions and heritage. The 4.675-meter-long sedan slots in between the smaller MG 5 and marginally larger MG 6. It shares the wheelbase length of the MG 5 (at 2,680mm). Interestingly, MG GT is actually the MG 5 in other markets. It seems that we have similarly nixed the MG 5 nameplate here for the more alluring GT moniker. GT, which of course stands for “grand touring,” denotes heightened speed and a pure love for driving.

The car is obviously attention-grabbing – with its sweeping lines and curves, a peaked roofline, and a good-looking front. A large maw of a grille which the company calls a 3D Digital Flaming Grille (with an oversized MG logo in the middle) is flanked by LED headlights with automatic on/off function. Daytime running lamps and 3D taillamps are also LEDs in either variant. The side mirrors of the Sport (the higher variant) will auto-fold; the Alpha’s won’t. The fastback design swoops down to the rear and finishes in a ducktail spoiler atop the trunk lid. As for wheels, the Sport variant gets 17-inch alloys fitted with 215/50s; the Alpha gets 206/55 R16s. Back to the trunk, you’d be surprised at all the room of the cavernous cargo hold, to the tune of 401 liters of space.

As for the engine, the MG GT, like all its sibling sedans, sports a 1.5-liter engine. The GT Alpha (now priced at P938,888) I try out is fitted with a naturally breathing heart good for 114ps and 150Nm. Compare this with the higher Sport variant (costing P1,193,888) whose same-displacement engine is turbocharged and blurts out 161ps and 250Nm. The GT Alpha mates its engine with an eight-speed i-CVT with manual mode; the GT Sport employs a seven-speed DCT.

The MG GT ticks boxes – even those items you didn’t think mattered to you. It flaunts elegant design coupled with technological bells and whistles like all-digital instrumentation – expressed through a large 12.3-inch screen. On the dash is a 10-inch floating HD touchscreen (thoughtfully slanted to the driver) through which you can control a sundry of things – including your smartphone content via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. This screen also accommodates the feed from the reversing camera on the Alpha variant. I must say that the image resolution is spot on – not muddied and grainy unlike some systems I’ve tested.

Under it are some physical buttons to more quickly switch to, or adjust, the essentials such as air-conditioning and volume control. Back to the instrument cluster, there’s such a wealth of information the driver can access on demand – tire pressure, fuel economy, real-time output (power and torque) numbers, G forces, an acceleration timer, and much more. On either side are the digital speedo and tachometer – which displays the real-time speed and engine speed. I must admit though that I kind of miss the traditional needles that can and are executed digitally in some vehicles.

The front seats of the Alpha are manually adjusted, with the driver’s throne able to be customized in six ways. Its leather-wrapped steering wheel has red stitching – echoing the same accent in the seats. There’s no paddle shifters like in the Sport variant, but the “manual mode” in the eight-speed i-CVT can be engaged, particularly if you need added grunt when you’re overtaking. The default setting on the drive mode seems biased for fuel savings.

At the bottom of the center stack, underneath the aircon vents and above the storage tray, are a couple of USB-A ports flanking a 12V outlet. The one on the driver’s side both charges and accommodates content; the one of the right charges a device. Meanwhile, below the second-row aircon vent are USB-C and USB-A ports, also for charging.

Punching above its price point is the marching order for the MG GT, and it does this in spades – even in the realm of safety features. It starts with a high-density steel cage body put together with advanced laser brazing techniques to ensure a rigid and robust chassis and body frame. Important acronyms thrown include AEB (Automatic Emergency Braking), FCW (Forward Collision Warning), IHC (Intelligent High Beam Control), BSD (Blind Spot Detection), LDW (Lane Departure Warning), and RCTA (Rear Cross Traffic Alert).

The MG GT is certainly not just a pretty face.

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