ZS110 Tech' ZS120 Tech' ZSTD Tech' ZS180 Tech' ZS (Performance) ZS (Prices) ZS (Gallery) ZS (Gossip) Pre 2004 MY



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

15 April 2004 - MG Goes For Bold With Revamped ZS
car_portal_pic_14438.jpgPower to the people! The breath-taking XPower SV supercar is what every MG Rover enthusiast lusts after - but now the muscle of the flagship model has filtered down to the ZS.

These are the first official pictures of the facelifted version, which will make its public debut at next month's British Motor Show and breathe new life into MG's Subaru Impreza pretender. What's more, not only have we got a picture of the revised front end, we also have a world exclusive peek at the rear.

Regular Auto Express readers will be familiar with the new design, because we spied how the revised ZS would look back in issue 787. And although the fresh headlamp arrangement has already been showcased on the revised Rover 45 - as featured in last week's magazine - it's the sportier MG that will be causing the shockwaves with styling cues from the mighty SV.

The ZS 180 version shown here has a fresh grille and front bumper, while its aggressive nose is continued in the profile, with longer wheelarches and SV-style vents on the front wings. Striking 17-inch alloy wheels add to the sporty look, while the rear of the four-door has been given a new smooth-finish bootlid with a subtle spoiler and a racy chrome-tipped exhaust. Most of this beefy bodykit is only standard on the high-performance 2.5-litre V6 180, but those who buy the less potent versions of the ZS can specify the extra trim as an option.

The main reason for the wheelarch extensions is that engineers had to accommodate the car's wider track. Exact suspension details have yet to be revealed, but the increased stability provided by the modifications to the chassis should improve the MG's already impressive handling. Inside, the ZS will receive a much needed makeover. Criticism of the current model's dark plastics and dated ergonomics should be answered with the addition of a redesigned facia and soft-touch trim.

One key piece of switchgear that will definitely have to go is the existing column stalk - which is still supplied by Honda. The dated part is no longer in production, so MG Rover will have to come up with its own design. Sportier dials will also be fitted, while rotary air vents and new air-conditioning should add a classy finish.

But the bad news is that prices are set to rise. An entry-level ZS will cost 11,295 - an increase of 255 - with flagship cars at 17,300, which is 510 more than at present.

8 April 2004 - MG ZS 2004 MY
2004_ZS180.jpgAn exciting new-look MG ZS is revealed today.
  • Bold new exterior appearance.
  • Striking interior and fascia design.
  • Stunning new body kit complements new wider track on ZS 180.

The new ZS style reflects the car's supremely dynamic nature, merging bold, distinctive lines, with a purposeful stance to create a truly attractive sports saloon. The new front bumper features a striking splitter feature, housing all new twin lens headlamps for enhanced driving illumination. A new ZS 180 body kit includes fender vents, wheelarch and sill extensions to
accommodate the increased wider track and new stunning 17"multi-spoke alloy wheels.

The new cabin is dominated by an all-new fascia and console arrangement, with new instruments, switchgear and seat trim designs contributing to a truly sporting driving environment.

The new ZS perpetuates the strong MG family resemblance initiated by the XPower SV sports car and the latest ZT saloon.

New feature summary


  • New front bumper including integrated front splitter
  • New and larger MG grille
  • New twin lens reflector headlamp
  • New rear bumper including new exhaust finishers
  • New tailgate/boot lid
  • Remote plip activated boot-opening release
  • New lip spoiler (as standard fit on all models)
  • New 17" alloy wheel (standard on ZS 180, optional on other models)
  • New ZS 180 body kit - wheel arch spats, sill mouldings, fender vents
    (Standard on ZS 180, optional on other ZS models)


  • Attractive new fascia incorporating rotary air vents
  • New fascia console with new soft-touch membrane switches
  • New column stalks
  • ATC air conditioning
  • New seat fabrics and door casing inserts
  • New fascia insert treatment - a Technical Grey finish
  • Master locking switch and driveaway locking for occupant security

Prices range between 11,295 - 17,300

More specific information (product specification, performance, pricing and pictures) will be communicated on April 20 2004. The new MG ZS will make its public show debut at Motor Show Live, at the NEC, Birmingham (May 27), with first customer deliveries in May

6 January 2004 - Auto Express reviews the ZS110
With Christmas still fresh in your mind, have a think about how enthusiastic you'd have been if your presents had come in a brown paper bag. There's no doubt that dressing something up is crucial to getting people to buy it, but at what point does the wrapping become more important than the product within?

MG is treading the fine line between froth and substance with its new entry-level ZS, but will a 107bhp version still attract the enthusiast? While the flagship ZS is powered by a potent 175bhp 2.5-litre V6 engine, the base 110 comes with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder unit. There is also a 1.8-litre, which fits between the two, along with a diesel version.

The emphasis is on creating a sporty driver's car, so even the base model is equipped with firm suspension and sharper steering than the Rover 45 upon which the saloon is based. While the driver will appreciate the tidy handling and decent body control, the ageing chassis design and sporty springs and dampers make for a choppy ride. The smallest powerplant in the line-up does little to enhance refinement, with a thrashy engine note that discourages the driver from venturing into the higher reaches of the rev range.

That's a shame, because the solid gearchange is one of the best features of the ZS, and straight-line performance is also reasonable. MG's official figures claim a 0-60mph sprint time of 9.8 seconds, which is only 0.8 seconds slower than that of the 1.8-litre version.

Buyers of the entry-level model will also benefit from 40.2mpg fuel economy and CO2 emissions of 168g/km - both offering financial incentives over the more powerful ZS 120. From the outside, there are no tell-tale signs that your MG is powered by the weediest engine in the line-up, but the design is really beginning to show its age, particularly in five-door form. The basic shape dates back to 1995, so that's hardly surprising! Higher-powered versions get a beefier appearance, but investing in some sportier wheels from the options list would certainly help to enhance the ZS's looks.

It's not much better inside, where the cabin ergonomics and switchgear design feel as though they are from another era. Decent build quality saves the day, although hard plastic details, such as the cheap hinged ignition key that can be traced back to the early Eighties, really let the side down.

However, the newcomer is all about value for money. The cheapest ZS 110 is priced at a tempting 10,995, while the ZS+ 110 costs 11,995 and gains air-con and front electric windows. Look through Auto Express's new car price guide and you will see how good that is - trying to find a sporty hatch of this size for a similar amount is virtually impossible. As a package, the ZS 110 feels as if it's already well past its best, but keen pricing should sway enough buyers to make it a success. Chris Thorp

24 June 2003 - Initial Impressions of a ZS180 by Alex!

I picked up my shiny new ZS 180 saloon on Friday the 20th of June and have covered 330 miles in it since then. I have quite allot to say about it already.

Firstly it looks fantastic. The car is finished in Starlight Silver with 17 inch straights, fully body kit, but small rear spoiler. Everyone who has seen it has commented on how good it looks and I'venoticed people looking at it when driving. I even get admiring glances from Merc & BMW drivers! Speaking of which, many who I have shown it to say how much it looks like a BMW. I personally think this is no bad thing as it looks just like a car that costs up to 10K more!

I think the interior is very good too. True it doesn't match the 75/ZT, but it is better than any other hatch bar a Golf. The seats (black/grey Monaco) are excellent & everything feels very solid, except the glove box lid, which I intend to line with felt & put a rubber strip across the front to prevent rattles.

The Kenwood CD is a bit fiddly but sounds excellent & looks good. The dials are very good & look excellent when back lit.

As for driving, well what can I say? The engine is a gem, full of character & unstressed power. Despite having only 330 miles up the engines overtakes in faith as my cabrio did in 3rd! The fuel economy is quite good to, though this may change when I can go beyond 3000 rpm. Fifth is very tall, giving excellent cruising potential.

The steering is the best I have experienced, & on a par with the MGB for feel & directness (no other car I have driven can match the MGB for this).

The chassis is fantastic and you can cover ground effortlessly. On floaty road surfaces the car gets better the more you push it. Where other drivers have to back off the ZS just gets more taught (dual valve dampers?) and encourages you to go faster. The only small problem is bumpy roads where the ride is a little over firm. It is not uncomfortable, but I do wonder if it will do the longevity of the car any good? On the road from Louth to Lincoln my mums R75 isn't far off the pace simply because its ride quality absorbs the worst of the bumps a bit better. I think this may settle down with use though. On smoother surfaces there is no contest, the ZS is clearly more capable than both the ZR & the MGF.

All in all I am a very satisfied customer so far. The only problems are a loose bit of seat belt trim in the back and a slightly rattly glove box (to be fixed as above). Other wise the car is excellent & easily worth the asking price, never mind to price I got it for!

3 May 3003 - Rover 45 and MG ZS reviewed by Auto Express!

It might not be in its first flush of youth, but the Rover 45 is still a respectable second-hand purchase. Launched in 1999, the 45 replaced the Honda Civic-based 400, and from the outside looks very similar. Apart from the front grille, bumpers and headlights, the bodywork is much the same, but improvements under the skin included a revised interior, different engines and claimed better build quality.

There are some niggles, but the 45 is largely reliable and offers tremendous value for money, as initial depreciation is fairly steep. Then there's the MG ZS. Of all the cars transformed by Rover's engineers, this motor is perhaps the most remarkable, as it turned the originally rather dowdy 45 into a fire-breathing super saloon. In 180bhp 2.5 V6 form, in particular, the ZS is a scorching machine and has excellent performance and handling.

Second-hand supplies of the hot models are now beginning to filter through, while there are plenty of ex-company 45s to choose. But which is best for you, and how do you make sure you don't buy a dud?


*Be wary of blown head gaskets on 1.4 and 1.8-litre models, which use the Rover K-Series engine. Look for a gooey white deposit on the dipstick.
* Don't worry if the car uses quite a bit of oil in warm weather, it's a trait of the 1.4 and 1.8-litre engines.
* Loose trim is common, and rattles from behind the dash can be nearly impossible to fix. Erratic alarms and fiddly locks can also be irritating.
* Listen out for knocks from the front suspension. Bushes can work loose, causing suspension parts to collide.
* Boot support struts can fail, particularly on ZSs because of the weighty spoiler. Most are still under warranty.

Glass's View

The 45 holds its value well, although prices are levelling off now the model is showing its age, says trade bible Glass's Guide. Smaller-engined cars keep their worth best, while V6s depreciate heavily. MG ZS values are still strong as demand exceeds supply, especially for the fiery ZS 180. Unlike with the 45, four-door ZSs are more popular than five-doors because of their dramatic BTCC car-like styling.

Life With a 45...

Patriotic Andrew Chalke has always owned Rovers, from early Metros through to his current car, an MG ZS 120. "I like to support the country's economy," said the 38-year old systems administrator from Leeds, West Yorkshire. "I think by spending money on a Rover you're helping to keep the firm in business and lots of people in good jobs." But buying British wasn't Andrew's only reason for choosing the ZS. "I had a 200 and was about to replace it with a new 25 when I heard that the ZS was coming along. I held on and waited for the MG, because it looked perfect for me," he said.

"Despite what people say about Rovers, my ZS has never missed a beat and all my previous cars have been reliable," he added. "My only complaint with it is that the interior design looks a little outdated now, and some of the fittings feel low quality, but these are really minor niggles." Andrew has owned his vehicle for a year now, and says he'll happily choose another, but will be going for the 2.5-litre ZS 180 when the time comes to replace his beloved 120.

10 December 2002 - Enhanced Performance Diesel Models

MG Rover has today (December 11) announced an extension to its diesel model line-up with the introduction of a higher output engine.  Available in January, the

MG ZR and ZS, and Rover 25 and 45 utilise the Longbridge-built L Series turbo diesel engine, now engineered with an increased tune to produce greater operating performance, but with no penalty in CO2 emissions.


Power increases from 101 to 113Ps and torque from 240 to 260Nm, while the CO2 emissions figure at 150g/km is identical to the current 101Ps models.  This is exceptionally low, even by diesel car standards and translates into low operating levels of taxation for business users who want to benefit at all levels from increased power and performance.


Compared with the current diesel line-up, these new models have identical trim specifications, but offer more impressive levels of performance and similar frugal levels of fuel economy.  Identified as the Rover 25 Turbo Diesel (113Ps) and MG ZR 115, ABS with ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes is featured as standard over the regular Turbo Diesel specification.  ABS is already specified as standard on the Rover 45 and MG ZS.



Performance Data

MG ZR 115 Turbo Diesel

MG ZS 115 Turbo Diesel

Engine Capacity



Max Power

113Ps / 83kW @ 4200 rpm

113Ps / 83kW @ 4200 rpm

Max Torque

260 Nm (EC) @ 2000 rpm

260 Nm (EC) @ 2000 rpm


9.1 seconds

9.5 seconds

Top Speed

116 mph

120 mph

Fuel consumption



Urban cycle

36.7 mpg / 7.7 l/100km

36.2 mpg / 7.8 l/100km

Extra Urban

67.3 mpg / 4.2 l/100km

65.7 mpg / 4.3 l/100km


51.5 mpg / 5.5 l/100km

50.5 mpg / 5.6 l/100km


150 g/km

150 g/km


The MG ZR and ZS are both available in two trim levels – MG ZR 115 Turbo Diesel and MG ZR+ 115 Turbo Diesel – and the ZS – MG ZS 115 Turbo Diesel and MG ZS+ 115 Turbo Diesel.  Option availability is in line with the equivalent 101Ps models.


Pricing & Specification

Retail Price



OTR Price

MG ZR 3 door





ZR 115 Turbo Diesel





ZR+ 115 Turbo Diesel





MG ZR 5 door





ZR 115 Turbo Diesel





ZR+ 115 Turbo Diesel





MG ZS Hatchback





ZS 115 Turbo Diesel





ZS+ 115 Turbo Diesel





MG ZS Saloon





ZS 115 Turbo Diesel





ZS+ 115 Turbo Diesel






22 May 2002 - ZS180 review by Jerry Flint


Pictures taken at Ducklington, Oxfordshire.


I'm lucky enough to have a ZS180 on an extended test drive - here are my findings to date.

The car is in Le Mans Green which does suit the car. It is obviously an eye catching colour as at all opportunities the sticky fingered ones are always pointing at it.

The external colour keyed items and additions also suite the cars profile very well. While the interior apart from some switch gear (hazard flashers - AC and recirc control) is so much better than I expected after reading journalists reviews. The front seats are also very comfortable and hold you in place when sampling its cornering abilities. While there is plenty of space for those rear passengers who don't mind been thrown around too. The dash also gets the technical treatment in that what was wood on the 45 is now finished in metallic grey and the consistent quality plastics on the dash also helps to give it that quality feel. Remember when Honda were building the similar platform at Swindon, who built the best car? Of course Longbridge - which shocked shocked Honda at the time, furthermore Rover marketed at a cheaper price too!

The spoiler however does get in the way of rearward vision, much worse than on the EVO VI and VII! Seems to be directly in line with my rearward vision, and thus with this car you have to be constantly on the guard as its performance is electrifying!

As for performance and handling - its all been said before, but if I have to say anything its exemplary. OK, it does run out of grunt at high speeds, whereas the EVO still pulled like a train at 3 figure speeds, but at this price who can complain? The suspension is tauter than the Trophy and picks up any rough surface just as well, which may not be to everyone's taste. However, its cornering abilities feel neutral with little or no under steer, which gives you so much more confidence than any other FWD car I've driven. This car is not for the faint hearted, it certainly has a grin factor.


Why buy the TF when this is much cheaper, has four seats, boot space, great alloys and ultimately that lovely V6 grow!!!!!

IMHO, for the money it's the performance bargain of the 21st century.



7 Dec 2001 - RD60

Do these two pictures represent the future 45? The first picture was sent to me by James Nicholl and the second was seen in CAR magazine in the middle of 2001. As you can see from these two impressions of the car, there is an awful lot of similarity. Is it therefore the basis of the new car? If you have any comments please make them in the XPower Forums.


1 August 2001 - Simon Dean reviews the ZS180

Drum-roll folks...

Well then. After the glitz and girls of the local MG Rover dealer's launch party on Wednesday it was good to finally have a play with a car on the road. Ever since I heard about the MG 'Z' cars conception I never for one moment thought that I'd be longing for the Rover 45 based model. But what with the good reviews in the press and Tiff's excellent comments on Top Gear I thought it was about time I 'took the bull by the horns' and drove one.

I turned up at the same said dealer this afternoon. I had a test drive booked in the 180 model - the most powerful in the current ZS range. It was the 4 door with the Impreza P1 style rear wing. Very nice. After giving the salesman my driving licence he sent me on my way in the car...

"What??? You're not coming with me?"..   "No, it's Ok as we have you're licence".

Fantastic. This was gonna be fun. I haven't driven a V6 before and the idea of putting a V6 in a relatively small saloon such as this worried me slightly, what with all that weight up front. However, the 2.5 litre KV6 unit is all aluminium so you don't really notice it. What you do notice though is a lovely burble when you first fire it up. The car had been out on test drives all day and was already warm, so I didn't hesitate in blipping the throttle in the carpark. With the uprated exhaust system it makes a lovely growl, but isn't at all intrusive.

I headed out from the town to find some roundabouts, and the on first well-sighted one I came across I through the car into the corner. Two thoughts went through my head - "wow, these brakes are good" and "oh my god, I don't remember the 45 cornering this well". The steering is very sharp and the front of the car responds instantly to where you point it. What's more there's huge levels of grip and the body remains very level no matter how hard you push it. The front loads up beautifully and even at lower cornering speeds you can feel through the seat of your pants how neutral the balance of the car is. It took only about 3 minutes and I was grinning like an idiot and throwing the car around with care-free abandon.

All that grip and poise makes the ZS feel a lot smaller than it is, which is certainly a good thing. My ideal car is a 106 GTi, but it's too small for me to fit in so the nimbleness of the ZS was a welcome relief. And there's more.

Boot it out of a corner and at any revs above around 2000 rpm you get shoved forwards brilliantly. It's at this point that you really forget you're driving a front wheel drive car. What the engineers have done is to create a chassis that is completely uncorrupted by the relatively large amount of power going through the front wheels. There is practically no torque steer and very little tramlining also.

Keep your foot buried in the footwell and the engine adopts a real growl. It's certainly a 6 cylinder engine alright. There's a little rasp as well but above around 4,000 it starts to bark. This is a great sounding engine. Of course being a 2.5 litre V6 you don't have to rev it. There's lots of torque throughout the rev range but let the needle fly towards the redline and you'll see that peak power is at 6,500 rpm.

The brakes are very good too. The discs are a lot larger than the 45's and the brakes feel strong time after time. There wasn't a hint of fade, although in all fairness I wasn't pushing the outer limits. The car had less than 200 miles on the clock so I thought I'd show it a bit of respect!

I like the driving position a lot, especially considering my size - I'm 6'3". The seats are ultra supportive and adjust well so I could get very comfortable. Had I been sitting about half an inch lower I reckon it would've been perfect. The dashboard is a little dull. It's not ugly and the quality of the materials used have improved since the Rover 400 days. It's just not that brilliant either. But that's not why you buy this car. 

I think there are two more trump cards with this car. At just over 16k the four door is great value for money and the standard kit is pretty exhaustive. Leccy windows, air con, half leather, bodykit, fog lights etc. The extras that I'd specify would be rear electric windows, rear head rests and an MP3 player (I think that's the first MP3 player I've seen on any car's option list!).

The second thing is the practicality. The boot is cavenous and the space in the back is pretty decent too. I think the part of the appeal about the Impreza is that you can have some fun on the track, and then use the car to poodle down to B&Q at the weekend. Well it's the same here. 
So go on. Go and test drive one. I've never seen a car so totally transformed like this, and at such a good price. Test one and see if you think what I do. MG is back.
Simon Dean


1 August 2001 - Auto Express reviews the ZS

The ZS is an enigma in the MG range. The 45, upon which it is based is the Rover that appeals most to the retirement market, the MG ZS model looking a bit uncomfortable in its new sports gear. Sadly the result is a mixed package. The huge rear spoiler looks ridiculous, though ignore it and you'll fined the ZS provides a genuinely entertaining drive. The ride is firm, though like the whole MG range not harsh, and the V6 engines note hardens from a muted purr to a sporting wail with a prod of the accelerator. The power-assisted steering feels sharp on turn in but lacks the crisp feel of the competition, being too light, though the brakes feel like they'd haul the ZS back from high speeds all day long. Well priced and specified the ZS is an interesting proposition, though it is let down by poor detailing and a rather confused image. Its biggest shortcoming though is the interior, it betraying the MGs age, with the cheap feeling and poorly constructed dashboard detracting from the cars overall appeal.
  Ride, engine note
  Silly wing, poor interior, body roll