Factor of X

by Petrol Mum
MG4 XPOWER reflection

In mathematics ‘X’ is used to represent an unknown quantity or variable in an equation that has to be solved. The equation that needs to be answered here is can the MG4 be transformed into a hot hatch that is enjoyable to be drive in more than just a straight line.

The result is the MG4 XPOWER and MG has equipped it with an all-new dual motor configuration that delivers up to 320kW of peak performance to all four wheels, via front (150kW) and rear (170kW) electric motors. The immediate effect of this is the XPOWER is capable of doing 0-100km/h in just 3.8 seconds.

The XPOWER’s performance is complemented with a series of understated exterior design revisions. The enhancements include clip-on orange ‘XPOWER’ brake calipers, a two-tone black roof, new 18” alloy wheels and polished trim accents, alongside this exclusive new Hunter Green colour option that costs an extra $1,000.

The all-new Dynamic Cornering Control System features a locking electronic differential and Intelligent Motor Control to allow torque vectoring between all four wheels. Despite this the XPOWER did not fill me with confidence and even with its 1,800kg of mass, it did not feel hunkered down in the corners and a bit light in the steering to me. I didn’t do any track driving so I wasn’t able to test this, but it felt like the MG4 would understeer too if pushed hard into a corner.

The overall suspension stiffness has been increased by up to 25% over a standard MG4 and I still found the ride to be comfortable enough regardless of the drive mode selected, with the options being Snow, Eco, Normal, Sport, and Custom. Under the Custom drive mode, you can adjust Horsepower between Eco, Normal, and Sport and the Steering and Pedal Force between Comfort, Normal or Sport and the Energy Recovery to Low, Medium, High or Adaptive.

The XPOWER does go fast in a straight line as I would expect most EVs to do these days, but it doesn’t feel insanely quick even using launch mode, which involves holding the brake and accelerator pedal down together and releasing the brake. There is no loss of traction when using launch mode, but you do need to hold on to the steering wheel as it wants to move about a bit. After driving so many EVs, going fast in a straight line feels like a mathematical certainty.

The 64kWh battery in the XPOWER has a claimed WLTP Combined Cycle driving range of 400km. For my week driving in mostly Normal mode with the energy recover set to High and only the occasional switch to Sport mode to experience launch control I used 18.2kWh/100km giving me a real-world range of 350km. But to give you an example of how quickly the battery will deplete when pushing hard in the XPOWER over a quick hill climb sprint of about a kilometre I used 2% of the battery capacity.   

The MG4 has a CCS Type 2 with the port located at the rear of the vehicle on the passenger side. When the cord is connected it makes a locking sound and charging is indicated by the greenlight around the plug and a message is displayed on the driver’s screen showing the time remaining. The XPOWER is capable of recharging at up to 140kW, meaning a claimed charge time of only 26 minutes from 10% – 80% using a 150kW DC rapid charger. Using a 50kW CCS public charger the time for a 10% to 80% charge is claimed to be 60 minutes and I discovered that only some public chargers are shown on the in-built sat nav. For charging at home using a 6.6kW AC wall unit the claimed charge time for a full charge is 9 hours at 25°C with scheduled charging available.

The MG4 XPOWER has keyless entry, but you need to press the button on the door to operate it and when you get in the MG4 is immediately on with no need to press a start button. Problem is there is a delay between you sitting in the seat and the XPOWER being ready to go, it’s not a much time, but is noticeable when you are in a hurry.

Hot hatches need to have a funky interior and on the XPOWER door trims there are six different types of hard plastic including gloss black elements near the door pulls and window controls, so plenty of fingermarks there. I like the look of the leather trimmed steering wheel, but not the non-descript buttons on the steering wheel that are also surrounded by gloss black plastic. The operation of the steering wheel buttons was complete guess work for me to figure out what they controlled on the 7” driver’s dash behind the steering wheel and how to operate the adaptive cruise control. I imagine though that as an owner you would eventually work this out?

The seats are covered in polyurethane leather with Alcantara and orange stitching and I found that the front seats were not that comfortable after a couple of hours driving. Both front seats are heated as is the steering wheel with the controls found under a menu on the infotainment screen. The driver’s seat has power adjustment for recline, forward/back, and seat height with no memory positions and the passenger seat only has manual adjustment for recline and forward back. The MG4 does not come with floor mats and I do think these should be fitted as standard to a $60k vehicle.

Under the 10.25” infotainment touch screen you will find a Track Mode menu that has a stage or lap timing mode, but see below the impact that track driving has on your XPOWER warranty. Annoyingly the air conditioning controls are not an option on the main home screen and I could not find a way to customise the menu options that are shown here, so you have the swipe right to find the AC menu. On the plus side the single zone climate control does cool the cabin well even on a warmer day.

As result you will get lots of fingermarks on the infotainment screen and may want to try the voice control instead. The voice control assistant is very polite, but a bit useless really as it wouldn’t tune to the radio station I wanted, would not make a phone call because my phone contacts did not download correctly and told me that it could search for a destination on the sat nav because it didn’t have an internet connection.

You get wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that uses the USB-A port to connect to the infotainment system. I found it a little difficult to disconnect a phone that was already connected to the MG4 so I could connect another phone, it just wasn’t a straight forward process in my opinion. The other media sources available include DAB, FM radio only, Bluetooth, Amazon and USB music.

Storage options are a winner though in the MG4 with an elastic net at the front of the arm rest, and in the centre console a cubby with a roller cover and two cup holders with grippy sides and a removable rubber mat for easy cleaning. While the drink bottle storage cubbies in the front doors are suitable for a good-sized rigid drink bottle.

Above the cup holders there is a USB-A and USB-C port, and one 12V socket and a ledge for your smartphone with wireless charging. Although this ledge does have a grippy base the lip around the edge is quite shallow and I think if you driving hard in the XPOWER that your phone could slide off. There is also more gloss black plastic here around the gear selector, so more fingermarks for you to clean off.

The rear seats have adequate head and leg room for me, but taller individuals may find it a bit tight. There is no centre fold down seat and only room for two car seats despite the MG4 having two ISOfix/three rear tether child seat restraint points. There is one USB-A port located between the two front seats with four smartphone storage pockets located on the back of the front seats. Rear passengers do not get rear air vents, but thankfully the air conditioning at the front can be turned up to 11 and blows enough air into the backseat area. There are also no mats on the rear floors and the drink bottle storage in the rear door cubbies is awkwardly shaped and only suitable for smaller drink bottles.

The boot has a power assisted tailgate with a release on the key fob and under the tailgate with a manual close. The boot is a reasonable size for a hatchback with enough room for a small weekly shop or a pram and a couple of grocery bags or if a larger space is required the rear seats have a 60:40 split fold mechanism with the release on the seat shoulders. There are storage cubbies behind the wheel arches and a light in the boot space, but no other notable features to mention apart from a tyre repair kit located under the boot floor.

The MG4 ANCAP safety rating only applies to 2WD variants, so does not apply to the MG4 XPOWER. It is fitted with Front Side Driver and Passenger Airbags, Front Dual Driver and Passenger Airbags, and Left and Right Side Curtain Airbags. For convenience you get auto lights, but no auto wipers and comes standard with a 360-degree view reversing camera combined with a standard reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors.

MG Pilot is also fitted as standard and features Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning System, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Emergency Lane Keep Assist, and Lane Change Assist. I found that the Lane Keep Assist beeped a lot even when there were not line markings on the road. Also, the Adaptive Cruise Control can only be activated with the lane keep assist in operation and its intervention was constant.

MG4 XPOWER rear view camera

The MG4 XPOWER comes with a 7 Years/Unlimited Mileage warranty and a battery warranty for the same period. With regard to track use of the MG4 XPOWER and the warranty implications a MG Spokesperson stated, “MG warranties do not cover damage to any component that is the result of operating the vehicle in any competition or racing event. The limitation applies to any type of track and any type of racing.”

Owners also receive complimentary roadside assistance that will automatically renewed after each service has been carried out at an authorised MG Dealer for the duration of the warranty period. The service internal for the MG4 XPOWER is 24 months or 40,000km, whichever occurs first, and under MG’s Precise Price servicing each service is capped at $296 for the first and subsequent odd years’ service and $962 for the second and subsequent even years’ service.

MG4 XPOWER with frog mural

The answer to the MG4 XPOWER equation is this; there are some good hot hatch qualities found in the XPOWER, but ultimately its weight comprises the enjoyment of driving it spiritedly on a good driver’s road. The MG4 XPOWER starts at $59,900 excluding on-road costs and with the optional Hunter Green paint this XPOWER is $60,990 plus on road costs. You can price the MG4 XPOWER online or visit your preferred MG dealer for more information.

Good straight-line speedLess confident in the corners
The storage options in the cabinNo floor mats  
24 months or 40,000km service intervalGloss black plastic used on most touch points

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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