Future classic in MG XPower
If there's one thing the SV has in spades it's interesting history.
Its genesis can be traced right back to the De Tomaso Bigua, an Italian car designed by Marcelo Gandini, the stylist responsible for the Lamborghini Countach. One can only assume Gandini was having an off day when he penned the Bigua because pretty it certainly wasn't. First shown at the 1996 Geneva Show, it quickly tanked and even a production version, the Mangusta, only received a handful of orders.
What De Tomaso did do, however, was get full US type approval for the car.
Cue MG Rover. The top brass were desperate for a top end sports model to take over from the MGF and saw the purchase of Qvale Modena as a shortcut that would save them three years of development. The resultant MGX80 was styled by Peter Stevens, of Lotus Esprit and McLaren F1 repute.
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The body is crafted from carbon fibre and goes some way in explaining the XPower SV's hefty £65,750 price tag. Far lighter and stronger than traditional steels or aluminium, the body panels have been constructed using a pioneering process developed by the UK-based SV Group and the result is a body that weighs a quarter as much as a conventional steel skin.
As catastrophic as the XPower SV was as a production construct, it could well be a very smart used buy. With only a few floating around, these cars are certain future classics and as such, valuation is tricky. Now would be the time to buy, but just try finding one. The last car seen for sale was a low mileage 2004 SV that changed hands for £40,000.
The engine is a tried and tested bruiser, basically being the same powerplant that sees service in hotter versions of the Ford Mustang. With 320bhp on tap in standard guise, the 4.6-litre all-aluminium quad-cam V8 will power the car to 60mph in 5.3 seconds and on to a top speed of around 165mph.
The SV-R offers customers a higher performance version of the 320bhp SV. With a full 400bhp, the SV-R features a 5.0-litre XPower version of the all aluminium 32-valve Mustang-derived engine.
If you can find a straight example that the owner will part with for reasonable money, the MG XPower SV should make a reasonable investment. If, on the other hand, you're looking for a car to run as a daily driver with occasional track use thrown in, go for a Noble or a TVR.