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ZT News Stories

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

1 December 2004 - ZT220S First look from Australia
MG Rover Australia is set to expand its model range in spectacular fashion with the release of the the supercharged MG ZT220S.

The highly tuned ZT will be available for release with a choice of either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 5-speed adaptive automatic, and costs just $9,900 over the standard sedan.

It is aimed at motoring enthusiasts and buyers who are after more power than usual, and who want to keep their warranties intact, as some modifications will void your warranty.

The combination of a relatively small V6 (2.5-litres) and a locally-sourced supercharger gives the purposeful-looking British car a much-needed boost, so to speak.

MG's performance tests indicate that the 220S, where the 220 stands for horsepower, will deliver an approximately 20% increase in peak torque and power over the standard 2.5-litre V6.

Performance of the 220S will be brisk, no doubt about that, with peak power of 165kW @ 6400rpm and maximum torque of 288Nm @ 4100rpm coming from the all-alloy, quad camshaft V6.

The resulting powerband, or the distance in revs between peak torque and power, is some 2300rpm, and should endow the new MG with very strong midrange punch.

The high efficiency, low-boost twin-screw type supercharger has been developed locally through Sprintex Superchargers based in Perth, Western Australia, and like the Ford's new cult car, the XR6 Turbo Falcon, the low boost will help prolong the life of the engine.

Every MG ZT that is specified for supercharging is delivered to Sprintex direct from MG Rover where a Supercharger Conversion is installed.

This conversion involves the replacement and inclusion of a number of components, including a a fabricated inlet manifold to replace the original unit, control ECU, boost bypass value, a secondary fuel injector, mounting brackets and of course the twin screw supercharger.

Manual variants of the 165 kilowatt ZT220S are also fitted with a higher rated clutch to ensure that the power is delivered to the front wheels without protest and, on completion, all vehicles also undergo engine calibrations on a vehicle dyno.

The operation of the supercharger is then checked with a full quality control inspection.

Each Owners manual will include an addendum identifying the warranty and maintenance requirements of the vehicle, reinforcing specific engine oil and fuel requirements.

Michel De Vriendt, Managing Director of MG Rover Australia has this to say about the new sports sedan, "The standard ZT 180 is an outstanding car, with very good power delivery combined with magnificent handling characteristics.

"With its well-regarded chassis dynamics, we felt there was a tremendous opportunity to further enhance the vehicle’s overall performance. The Sprintex Supercharger development programme has allowed us to do this. Not only has power and performance been improved, overall acceleration has been enhanced.

"The ZT220S manual will reach 100km/h from a standing start in approximately 7.1 seconds, on par with other European sports sedans that retail at higher costs. The automatic will be able to meet this same milestone in approximately 8.3 seconds," concluded De Vriendt.

For homologation and warranty reasons, complete tuning kits will be fitted locally by qualified Sprintex technicians prior to delivery to authorised MG Rover dealerships. All ZT220S models will be covered by a 3-year/100,000km warranty, and the tuning kit will be made available with a recommended retail price of $9,900.

All certification requirements have now been completed by MG, and it is anticipated the first retail deliveries will commence in early July 2004. The new supercharged ZT220S is an alluring vehicle, with standard equipment including large multi-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic levelling xenon headlights, electric seats and automatic climate control.

With all the standard features of the ZT sedan, it will appeal to many buyers who want good accelerative value with the extra kick of forced induction, but who don't want to sacrifice luxury and comfort, or who don't want to own a high-maintenance prestige V8.

And because of its Australian connection, the new supercharged MG is expected to find favour with many buyers, and is one vehicle we'll be watching with very close interest.

From http://www.webwombat.com.au

16 November 2004 - Centenary Rover - the 75 Coupe says it in style
36708-a-rov-.jpgBritishness, understated elegance and always an interior that is undeniably ‘a better place to be’ are Rover virtues that have come together in the Rover 75 Coupe concept car.

The company’s design team wanted to mark the first 100 years of the Rover marque with a stylish design that would sit confidently as the latest in the line of renowned Rovers like the P4, the handsome P5 coupe, the innovative P6 2000 model and the bold SD1 hatchback.

This has been achieved in the form of the Rover 75 Coupe concept – a beautiful and elegant two-door expression of the stylish 75 Saloon. The concept’s interior strongly focuses on Yew wood and Tan leather hide introducing the style of designer furniture into the automotive lounge, extending Rover’s trademark for a welcoming interior.

36708rov-.jpgPeter Stevens, Rover’s design director says: “I want people to turn away for a moment from post modern brutalism and to enjoy the elegant and timeless lines of the 75 Coupe’s design. The true character of a Rover comes from its ability to present a cosseting environment with comfort and refinement being the high priorities, elements that should be expressed in the form and detailing of the exterior of the car.

“Heritage is a great strength for a marque as it gives you the terms of reference and something to build on for the future. That is exactly how we saw the challenge of presenting a Rover concept in its Centenary year.
27 February 2004 - ZT220S from Australia

An Australian-developed performance kit is headed for England in a bid to finally make the MG ZT into the car many believe it has always deserved to be. Motor Group Australia & Perth Company Sprintex super-chargers are on the verge of signing off on a deal to supply MG Rover with the locally developed units. "We are in the final stages of pricing but 500 of the kits are off to England," Motor Group Australia principal Brad Garlick says.

The deal has grown from a program Motor Group Australia started some 12 months ago to Boost the performance of the MGZT 180. "The idea of giving the ZT a performance more suited to what everyone agreed was a wonderful chassis was first canvassed around the Melbourne Motor Show last year," Motor Group Australia marketing manager Ross Meyer explains.

Motor Group Australia will unveil the ZT220S at the Melbourne Motor Show today with the car on sale from the end of the month. "the aim was to ensure that torque was improved & the delivery of that torque was more suited to a sporty car,"Meyer said. It produces [email protected] & [email protected] That represents a 20% increase in torque & a 25% in power.

The ZT220S will sell for $A69,890 & will be fully new car warrantied. From the Sydney Daily Telegraph.


30 January 2004 - MG Gets party started with 2004 MY ZT!
The party to mark MG's 80th birthday is set to start with a bang, Auto Express can exclusively reveal. The famous British brand reaches the landmark anniversary this year, and will celebrate it with a new-look MG ZT range, which comes hot on the heels of the facelifted Rover 75.

The car will make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, and go on sale the same month. It is charged with adding greater drama to the MG line-up, which enjoyed an increase in sales during 2003.

Designed in-house by Peter Stevens and his team, key visual changes focus on the nose and tail. An aerodynamic front bumper incorporates a new MG grille and halogen projector headlamps with revised indicator lenses. The foglights are more prominent, and sit next to extra vents to help cool the brakes.

Three colours are to be introduced, called black pearl, firefrost red and Goodwood green. The changes are expected to add £100-£200 to the price of cars across the range, so the base ZT 120 will cost about £16,200. Both the ZT saloon and ZT-T estate are to benefit from the new look, which continues at the rear with a revised bumper and centrally placed model badging. The design has been inspired by MGs past and present, notably the recently unveiled MG XPower SV.

Inside, as well as body-hugging sports seats and a clear facia design, the ZT now offers a grey or black oak dashboard finish. Burr walnut can also be specified, while instruments are backlit in blue. A new fabric sports seat has been developed for 120, 160, 180, CDTi and 190 models, while V8 and SE cars get a leather-trimmed alternative.

As with the 75, no major mechanical changes have been made, al-though sports suspension and a new V8 engine option are available, along with a fresh range of alloy wheels.

Security has been upgraded, and there are now 'superlocking' doors, an uprated alarm and remote-control locking with a continuously changing security code. While the new car is expected to be one of the manufacturer's stars of 2004, news of other big changes to the line-up is developing.

The firm has informally announced it will launch a V8-engined 75 in summer to breath life back into the legendary Vitesse badge. Fitted with a 260bhp edition of the 4.6-litre engine that debuted in the MG ZT 260, the car is aimed at drivers who want the performance of a flagship MG in a more discreet package.

Available in Classic, Connoisseur, and Contemporary trim, prices have yet to be announced. The car is expected to appear at the Geneva Motor Show. Dan Strong


19 July 2003 - NOP Survey: MG beats BMW 5-0 - Ad campaign will reveal

ZT_beats_BMW.jpgBritain's MG Rover has scored an historic victory over Germany's BMW, beating the famous marque five-nil in an independent consumer survey carried out by researchers NOP. The results will feature in national press advertising campaign, starting July 19.

The testing took place at Croft Racing Circuit. NOP assembled a panel of more than 100 consumers to assess the similarly priced MGZT 1
90+ and the BMW 318i SE. The panel judged both models across five categories. Using a combination of driving exercises, questionnaires and interviews the panel evaluated the cars on quality of exterior and interior, driving experience and performance, handling, driving enjoyment and overall desirability.

The research revealed that the BMW lost considerable ground to the MG on the road. More than 90% of the panel judged the MG to outperform the BMW, which trailed the MG for throttle response, straight-line performance, acceleration, braking, sportiness and top speed. Seventy-one per cent favoured the handling of the British car, which recorded higher scores for responsiveness, cornering, agility, ride quality, road holding and body roll.

An overwhelming 86% enjoyed the overall driving experience more, behind the wheel of the MG, compared to just 14% that enjoyed the BMW. Reasons cited for this by respondents included the car's character, the excitement of the drive and the impression the car makes in a crowd.

When it came to looks, functional yet dull German design lost out to eyecatching British styling. In the appearance category, the MG outpointed the BMW for sportiness and distinctiveness while the model's overall looks were considered by 75% of the respondents to be more impressive than the German car.

The BMW interior was also marked down. It was beaten by MG for colour, comfort, roominess, styling, seat support and dashboard appearance. Overall, only 20% of the panellists preferred the German interior, compared to 80% that opted for the MG.

Finally, almost all (91%) of the respondents stated they believed the MG was better value for money than the BMW.

John Edwards, sales and marketing director, MG Rover commented: "You always take a bit of a risk when you commission an independent survey, that makes direct comparisons with the competition. We were fairly confident that the same money buys a lot more MG than BMW but we were completely bowled over by the results, which gave a conclusive victory to the MG ZT. Five-nil seems to be a familiar result when we take on Germany".

The full survey can be viewed at

17 July 2002 - MG ZT Sports Suspension

The current MG ZT and ZT-T suspension dynamics have been widely praised by sports car enthusiasts and journalists for their set up and responsive handling. In
order to further broaden the appeal of these vehicles to an even wider audience, a suspension set up with a slightly more pliant feel and an emphasis towards ride comfort will be introduced.

This is of particular importance amongst our key target markets of high mileage business users. The new MG suspension differs through a modification to the front and rear spring and damper assemblies. This suspension will still provide an exceptionally agile feel but with greater occupant comfort.

As there is anticipation that the newly developed suspension set up will prove very popular, it will be the standard condition on all MG ZT and ZT-Ts. The MG Sports Suspension set up will undoubtedly be favoured by performance driving enthusiasts and available as an option, priced at £175.

17 July 2002 - New ZT Saloon Bootlid LIP Spoiler

A new bootlid lip spoiler will now become standard fit on all entry level ZTs from August production. The new bootlid lip spoiler reduces rear lift by 40% and is almost comparable in performance to the ‘wing’ spoiler.

The current ‘wing’ spoiler will remain an integral part of the ‘Plus Pack’ and a £275 option for customers that wish to trade up from the new spoiler to the ‘wing’ spoiler on any entry level ZT. Conversely, for plus pack customers who prefer the smaller lip spoiler, this will be available as a no cost option.

Effectively all MG ZTs are now fitted with either spoiler, depending on customer preference.


4 June 2002 - ZT160 review by Rob Watton

ZT180.jpgI will admit that I have always classed the Rover 75 as a cheap mans Jaguar ‘S’ type, so to make an MG from the 75 for me was going to be some achievement. To see the transformation from 75 to ZT was very pleasing to the eye.

The Le Mans green colour really makes the car stand out. The big mesh grill at the front gives the car a very imposing look and would intimidate even the hardest outside lane hogger to move over sharpish. The Zeon headlights are light years ahead of the normal halogen head lamps.

The interior

The inside is very much the executive class in build quality, the doors have a solid and meaningful sound when shut. The seats are comfortable and hold you in place unlike some £30k German cars I have been in, its like sitting on an ice ring in the front of them. The small front windscreen takes some getting used to at first as I expected this to be much bigger. The visibility in the rear view mirror is a little restrictive due to the rear head-restrains and the rear spoiler. The only noise you hear is the small amount of tyres noise which is a shame as I would have liked to hear the V6 roar, may be a microphone and speaker system could be installed to savoury the wonderful tone of the engine.

The ride is firm yet smooth and handling is excellent for a big car, even when the car does begin to slide on corners, the whole car seems balanced and most importantly you still feel in control.

The visibility of the clock I have found a little restrictive, and the centre console around the stereo could be better, a touch of carbon fibre would have been nice rather than the bland black plastic.

The night time view of the dash is great, I really liked the all white dials.

The verdict

An excellent metamorphosis to a sports car, the V6 engine purrs like a cat and roars like a lion. The power from the V6 comes in at about 3000rpm and is great. I loved the looks I got from other executive class car drivers (e.g. BMW, Audi etc), as much as to say what is that car.

Would I buy the car?

Yes. It would for me be a better buy and more satisfying choice than say a Mondeo ST24 or Vectra V6. It would stand out from the crowd and above all else it’s BRITISH and has the classic sports car mark of MG placed proudly in the centre of the car.

I will admit though my ZR is more fun to drive but the driving experience of the ZT is a whole lot different.

The future

My personal opinion is MG Rover could improve on the ZT in just a few small areas. I would have liked to see

  • A blind spot section to the driver’s wing mirror.
  • The basic stereo system could be better or even make the Harman Kardon system standard
  • The controls on the steering wheel could be improved
  • A parking sensor would be useful as it is a little difficult to gauge how close you are to things when reversing mainly due to the spoiler blocking your vision
  • The centre console could be made to look a little less bland.

And finally I wish all car makers would devise a system that when you lock the car it turns off all the interior light, so when you don’t realise your 4 year old has messed with the interior lights it does not matter.

Reviewer: Rob Watton, Cannock, Staffordshire http://www.mg-extreme.co.uk

10 May 2002 - Rover off the Leash - MG Gives the Marque Some Bark

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) By  KEVIN HEPWORTH

What's in a name change? KEVIN HEPWORTH reports on the metamorphosis of MG Rover's sporty ZT.

It's not rocket science. As any of the multitude of Excel and Civic owners who have done it can tell you: some well chosen plastic bits and a smattering of mesh can go a long way to disguising the origins of the car you wish was just a little bit more than it is.

The tricky bit is going the next step and not only changing the look but the character of the donor vehicle. In the case of the MG ZT it's Pygmalion in reverse. MG Rover's engineers have taken the artistic and refined 75 and transformed it into the athletic ZT. The new vehicle retains much of the 75's underlying character but the new creation is also imbued with just enough mongrel to make it interesting, without turning it into something "nice" society would reject.

"The genesis of the ZT started with the Rover 75S, which was developed as a show car for the Geneva 2000 Motor Show," says Chris Millard, director of engineering for MG Rover.

"BMW [MG Rover's previous owners] were not too anxious to further develop that car because of the corporate plan that the BMW badge was the performance image while Rover was sophistication," he says.

"However, we knew from that work that the 75 chassis had the potential to develop into a really sporting character ... and by the time BMW sold the company to the Phoenix consortium there was a real direction established."

Millard says when the suggestion of a sporty Rover was taken to the new owner the reaction was "enthusiastic". But there was the idea of badging the resulting car as an MG to emphasise the difference between the company's two products.

"We were told 'no compromises -- be outrageous'. The direction was to get the car down in the grass and build a true British Sports saloon."

Aided in no small part by the development work done so quietly at BMW, the enthusiasm of the new owner pushed the creation of the ZT along at pace.

It was tempered only by the economic reality that MG Rover was operating -- in global car terms -- on a shoestring budget. That meant some of the core characteristics of the 75 could only be polished and honed rather than truly changed.

Central amongst those is the rather dozy 2.5-litre KV6 engine, which gives itself to the 75's sophisticated cruising image.

The engineers have done what they can with their available powerplant. Power output for the manual ZT is up by 10kW to 140kW with torque boosted to 245Nm. For the auto, power output is 133kW, restricted to "better suit the needs of the five-speed adaptive gearbox".

As good a job as has been done with the engine -- largely through modification to get it breathing more freely -- there is, as Professor Henry Higgins found, still an Eliza Doolittle lurking underneath.

Raw performance figures for the ZT are, at best, moderate. The 0-100km/h sprint time of 8.2 seconds for the 190 (9.5 for the 180) is middle of the road. A top speed of 227km/h, while above anywhere the average owner is likely to venture, is fairly well down the bragging rights scale.

Where the engineering work really shines is in the little things that have been done to compensate for the engine and sharpen the overall drive experience.

Redesigned throttle cams give the pedal a much crisper feel, which sits well with the closer ratio and shorter-throw gear change in the manual. This makes it easier and more fun to keep the engine turning over above the 4500rpm point where it is happiest. Remapping of the auto's strategy is also designed to make it a more enthusiastic shifter than in the 75, where it can be reluctant to change down a ratio or two.

The tautness of the chassis, the really solid feel of being connected to the car as a whole and the precision of the steering is a revelation and a delight. Through all but the harshest of treatment the ZT retains its poise and composure in a no-fuss fashion that just reeks of a Bavarian influence.

The difference from the 75's sophisticated ride is monumental. An almost total redesign of the front suspension, substantial changes to the rear, increased rollbar stiffness and huge 18-inch alloys all work to keep the ZT a point-and-go delight.

What hasn't been compromised, despite the much stiffer suspension, is the ride. It retains a quality commensurate with the ZT's heritage, a characteristic due largely to the state-of-the-art dual-rate shocks fitted to the car.

Taking care of pulling the ZT back from its more enthusiastic moments are huge 325mm front discs with 276mm rears. The pedal feel is strong and progressive and did not fade during a sustained downhill run through a particularly twisty section of the launch drive.

The character changes continue through the cabin with the 75's gorgeous private-club ambience replaced by locker-room cred with supportive sports seats, dark ash trim and a rhodium silver fascia for the dash.

Generous seat adjustment and a rake and reach adjustable steering wheel make finding a suitable driving position a breeze. The steering wheel has a comfortable, solid feel and the stubby gear lever comes readily to hand when required.

The local-fit radio is good quality but of the ilk where fiddly buttons dominate and make it a task to adjust on the move.


10 May 2002 - More Speed - Less Haste

Rover is in no hurry to promote its MG sports saloons, as KEVIN HEPWORTH reports.

MG Rover Australia will continue its "softly, softly" marketing approach, despite having doubled its model range with the release of the MG ZT sports saloon.

"You have to remember that, as a company, we are only 12 months old and we do not have the budget to give these cars the sort of advertising splash they deserve, but we will continue to be selective and patient," MG Rover Australia's David Watson says.

"We have already launched the Rover 75 and Rover 75 Touring and now we add the MG ZT and ZT-T." Watson says the company is maintaining modest targets for this year -- "it is going to take a while for people to get to know about MG sports saloons" -- with sales predictions of 400-500 for the ZTs and 600-700 for the Rover 75s.

"I suppose there is going to be a little bit of cannibalisation between the two, but they really are very different cars and I don't expect there to be much cross-over in buyer demographics," Watson says.

For the sportier ZT models, MG Rover is anticipating that 15 per cent of buyers will opt for the every day practicality of the wagon, while 70 per cent will specify automatic, far less than the 95 per cent of buyers taking the self-shifter in the Rover 75.

MG Rover rejects any argument that the first serious large sports saloon to wear the badge in 63 years is out of place for a brand long associated with two-door roadsters.

"MG began as makers of a sports saloon. The first car was an adapted Morris so these cars really do fit the ethos of the badge perfectly," MG Rover's British-based regional manager Richard Spencer says.

"We are passionate about all the Z-cars [MG also sells sports saloon derivatives of the Rover 25 and Rover 45 as ZS and ZR], but the ZT is a particular favourite."

Starting at a tick under $60,000, the ZTs are richly treated for standard equipment, continuing the Rover strategy that they offer "specifications, not options".

Six airbags are standard as are three-point belts for all five passengers, with pretensioning and load limiting for the front-seat passengers. The brakes, huge 325mm ventilated discs on the front, are fitted with four-channel ABS and electronic brakeforce distribution.

The 18-inch alloy wheels are fitted with grippy 225/45 Michellins and a full-size fifth alloy wheel is also standard -- and additional for the Australian market over European specifications, where a chemical pump is the norm.

"That was something we insisted on," Watson says.

"That sort of technology is okay for Europe where you are never more than a handful of kilometres from some sort of garage, but in Australia the requirements are entirely different."

The exterior is keyed by the new aggressive front, with mesh grille and lower air intake and integrated fog lamps, 20mm lower stance and a rear boot spoiler that, while discreet, is claimed to be functional "at around 110km/h".

Inside, the trim is pure sport. The seats are well bolstered and very supportive, which is just as well given the lateral forces the ZTs are capable of exerting on the driver through twists and turns.

The base model is leather trimmed with a discreet cloth insert.

Cruise control and self-levelling Xenon headlights are standard across the range and all models share the wealth of storage nooks and crannies from the Rover 75.

There is a single CD unit in the local fit stereo and six speakers. The steering wheel has integrated volume and mode-control buttons.

The full range of MG ZT models are on sale from this weekend.


  • MG ZT 190 manual sedan $59,990

  • MG ZT 180 automatic sedan $59,990

  • MG ZT 190 manual wagon $62,990

  • MG ZT 180 automatic wagon $62,990

  • + Pack, all models (leather/alcantara seats, electric sunroof, trip computer, rear parking sensors, auto dipping mirror) $4000.

  • Three-year/100,000km warranty.

24 April 2002 - LPG for the ZT!

LPG MG's will soon be on offer now that MGR has decided to build LPG compatible engines. It plans "dual fuel" petrol/LPG versions of its cars powered by the 1.8 & 2.5 V6 engines - including top-of-range Rover 75's and ZT's. LPG engines are normally slightly less powerful than their petrol equivalents, but MGR is promising identical performance on both fuels. The big attraction is half-price running costs thanks to a Government freeze on LPG duty until 2004.

Even though mpg drops by about 20%, LPG represents a huge saving for anyone running the thirsty V6 models.

The company estimates LPG models will carry a £1500 premium. However, up to 60% of this can be reclaimed through a Government-funded Powershift grant (

More than a 1000 gas refuelling stations are open around the UK. Currently, there are around 75,000 LPG vehicles on British roads, up from 13,000 at the beginning of 2000.


23 March 2002 - Sex and the ZT

The Independent - United Kingdom; Mar 23, 2002

Once upon a time there was a nice, comfy Rover 75 saloon. Then MG got their hands on it.....................

When I first heard about the ZT I couldn't help but wonder why MG Rover Group had tried to turn the comfy, snug and decent-value Rover 75 into a rip-snorting sports saloon. OK, so the 75 tends to appeal to the older end of the market. But so what? Wrinklies have rights too, and they can't all be expected to drive Toyota Corollas. I realise that most manufacturers lust after the 25-to-45 age range, but what was wrong with Rover concentrating on a market that they have served well since the Fifties?

However, about half-way through delivering this monologue to my passenger on my first drive in the ZT, I was forced to eat my words. Though only a fraction quicker than the 75, with which it shares its 2.5-litre V6 engine, the ZT is much zingier. There is a shade more power, but this extra zest comes mostly from clever engineering adjustments which have given the car a lovely snickety-snack gear change, quicker steering, excellent brakes, stiffer springs and lowered suspension. Happily, the ZT retains the 75's comfy ride and refinement.

The exterior, at least in BT yellow, is a touch outre for my taste. I hear that the makeover is by the McLaren F1 designer Peter Stevens, but I can't be doing with spoilers and skirts. Haven't we moved on a little since the days of the Escort Cosworth?

But that's well over in the quibble column, and I have no others. I'm not one for jingoism, particularly when it comes to recommending that people spend pounds 18,595-20,495 of their own money on a car, but I can proudly give the all-British ZT a hearty thumbs-up (and the finger to ***).

Steve Lane, 43, graphic designer, from Dorking, Surrey. Drives a Mazda MX6

"Rover for me will always be associated with old men's cars and they have a hell of a bad reputation to overcome - but they've done a good job bearing in mind this is based on the 75. It seems well put together. It is good value, comfy enough and there's plenty of room, though it's nothing startling to look at. It would be better in black. It feels nice and tight to drive. If you were a rep and you needed a fast four-door car this would be on the shopping list."

Glen Padgham, 36, designer, from Dorking, Surrey. Drives a Caterham 7

"I don't like cars this big and I especially don't like the image of this one. People would think I was a wide boy if I drove this. It would be better without the spoilers; it's a bit gaudy. The interior is a lot better than the exterior and it is nice to drive, really good fun, a pleasant surprise, actually. I don't know who is going to buy it, though. I don't think they are going to tempt people away from ***s."

Robert Irving, 37, photographer, from Dorking, Surrey. Drives a Mercedes 230 estate,

"They've certainly made an effort to make it look cool, especially on the inside. It's a definite improvement on the Rover 75 and banana yellow is quite cool. I really warmed to it; it puts a smile on your face but it's not as fast as I thought it would be. There is no torque steer, which is impressive, and the steering is nicely weighted. The car rides very well, it feels confident, and the suspension is nice and firm. The bits you touch inside the car feel very well made. I'd choose this over a Jaguar X-Type, but I have three small children so I need something bigger than this."