- Takes the regular 4's qualities and adds more go
- Excellent ride quality for a performance model
- Blistering performance for under $60,000
- Physical XPower transformation too subtle
- Needs to be more involving and exciting to drive
- Still lacking equipment like auto wipers
Last month was the six year anniversary of the Australian new car manufacturing industry shutting up shop, with the last VF Holden Commodore rolling off the line in October 2017. Ever since then, those chasing a performance bargain have been left in a pickle – spend slightly more to get a Kia Stinger GT (which is sadly also now no longer made), a lot more to get something like an Audi S4 or BMW M340i, or keep it under $60,000 for something with around 200kW. However, the days of the cheap performance car appear to be back and from an unlikely source: British-now-Chinese brand MG. Is the 2024 MG 4 XPower a return to the performance glory days? Let’s find out.
We’re big fans of the MG 4 electric hatchback thanks to the keen dynamics from its rear-wheel drive chassis and its general all-round competence, but we think the XPower variant will win it a lot more friends in the enthusiast space as well. Why is that? Well, it gives you 320kW of power for $59,990 plus on-road costs and it’s been a long time since Australians have been able to do that.
Price & Equipment: 9.5/10
While the regular MG 4 range kicks off from $38,990 plus on-road costs, the XPower sits atop the lineup priced at $59,990 +ORC (or from around $62,000 drive away, depending on location and before any state-based EV incentives). While some may baulk at that price, we think it’s excellent value for money.
Standard equipment on the 2024 MG 4 XPower includes:
- 18-inch alloy wheels with a tyre repair kit
- Dusk-sensing automatic LED exterior lighting
- Intermittent wipers
- Selectable driving modes
- Regenerative braking including one-pedal functionality
- Launch control
- Track apps for track use, including a timer
- Keyless entry and push button start
- Heated and auto-folding mirrors
- Rear privacy glass
- Suede and synthetic leather upholstery with orange stitching
- Six-way electric driver’s seat
- Heated front seats
- Heated leather steering wheel
- Single-zone automatic climate control
- 7.0-inch digital driver’s display
- 10.25-inch touchscreen
- Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- AM/FM/digital radio
- Satellite navigation
- Live services such as app access and live traffic
- Three USB ports (1x USB-C in the front, 1x USB-A in the front and 1x USB-A in the rear)
- Wireless phone charger
- Six-speaker sound system
- Vehicle-to-load (V2L) functionality
The regular MG 4 range achieved a five-star ANCAP safety rating earlier this year, with scores of 83 per cent for adult occupant protection, 86 per cent for child occupant protection, 75 per cent for vulnerable road user protection and 81 per cent for safety assist. It’s not yet known if the same rating applies to the XPower just yet, but regardless, safety equipment includes:
- Six airbags
- Auto emergency braking (AEB)
- Adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist
- Lane keep assist with lane departure warning
- Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
- Auto high beam
- Intelligent speed limit assist
- Driver attention monitoring
- Door open warning
- Traffic sign recognition
- Rear parking sensors
- 360-degree camera
The colour range for the MG 4 XPower includes:
- Dover White
- Brixton Blue
- Diamond Red
- Black Pearl
- Volcano Orange
- Camden Grey
- Sterling Silver
- Hunter Green matte (on our test car – $1,000 extra)
As for rivals, we think there are a plethora of options to consider if you’re after the MG 4 XPower – though, in our opinion, none of them offer the same value equation. On the electric side is the Cupra Born, which is priced from an identical $59,990 plus on-road costs. Over the Born, the XPower adds a second motor with more performance, live services and traffic jam assist – though the Born counters with a centre airbag, auto wipers and larger 19-inch wheels with stickier tyres.
Choosing a petrol-powered performance car for around $60,000 gives a lot more options – the Hyundai i30 N, Toyota GR Yaris, Volkswagen Golf GTI, BMW 128ti, Subaru WRX, Cupra Leon and Skoda Octavia RS, for example. Getting the XPower’s performance, however, requires a big step up in price – the $119,900 +ORC Mercedes-AMG A45 S ($80 under double the MG’s asking price) gives you a close match in performance with 310kW of power and a claimed 0-100km/h time of 3.9 seconds. The $99,950 +ORC Kia EV6 GT is even faster than both with a claimed 3.5 second 0-100km/h time, but again, costs just shy of $40,000 more than the XPower. That right there is the MG’s value pitch.
Performance & Range: 9/10
Under the body of the 2024 MG 4 XPower is the same platform as the regular MG 4 range, while it also uses the same 64kWh battery that’s found in mid-range models – according to MG, that gives it a range of 400km on the WLTP cycle. The XPower part in the car’s name adds a 150kW/250Nm electric motor on the front axle in addition to the 170kW/320Nm motor on the rear axle – that gives a total of 320kW of power and 600Nm of torque (though MG says that a constant 300kW peak is available). According to MG, that gives a claimed 0-100km/h sprint time of just 3.8 seconds, with a top speed of 200km/h.
Unlike any ICE-powered rivals, the 2024 MG 4 XPower doesn’t have to wait for a turbo to spool up to release its power – 300kW/600Nm is available from 0rpm and acceleration is quite rapid. It’s so rapid that the stability control sometimes steps in to help put the power down and unfortunately, it’s not that subtle so a big drop in power is noticeable when it does so. The 2024 MG 4 XPower is rear-wheel drive most of the time, with the front axle kicking in when slip is detected or the full beans is given and it’s actually quite noticeable thanks to the extra thrust involved. As we said, it’s very rapid.
As we said, MG claims a range of 400km on the WLTP cycle – less than the less powerful Cupra Born’s 511km rating with its larger battery – with consumption rated at 15.2kWh/100km. Our consumption was a bit higher than that – it’s just so fun to drive – and we ended up on 17.6kWh/100km for a range of around 365km. Driving it more carefully will easily improve that. For charging, the 2024 MG 4 XPower can be charged at up to 140kW on a DC fast charger for a 10 to 80 per cent charge in as little as 28 minutes – using a slower 50kW charger increases that to 60 minutes, while it can be charged at up to 6.6kW on an AC charger.
Where we think the MG 4 XPower shines is offering a well-rounded driving experience like the Golf GTI and R have done for years because in regular driving, it’s quiet and comfortable. Yet, put your foot down and it transforms into the quickest hot hatch (to 100km/h) you can currently buy. Because it’s so quiet, you don’t expect it to suddenly make you feel sick with its performance, but it does that well.
Ride & Handling: 7/10
Using the same platform as the regular MG 4 range means that the 2024 MG 4 XPower has a lot of qualities to offer to enthusiasts, and that’s before we even get to the XPower’s extras. Over the regular MG 4, the XPower’s chassis has been retuned with 25 per cent front/10 per cent front/rear stiffer suspension, larger 345mm front/340mm ventilated rear disc brakes with Continental callipers, retuned steering with heavier weighting and stiffer anti-roll bars. The XPower also adds a front electric motor and even electronic torque vectoring (through braking) as well. Despite the stiffer chassis, the XPower’s ride quality is excellent, much like the regular MG 4.
That’s a reasonable upgrade for hardware, so has MG’s efforts transformed the MG 4 into a genuine hot hatch killer from behind the wheel? Well, ultimately no – but considering the asking price, it’s an impressive effort. The second electric motor has made the XPower blisteringly quick but it’s not perfect because it now feels more front-driven in harder cornering than the regular rear-wheel drive MG 4. Plus, while it’s a lot quicker in a straight line than the MG 4 (and most rivals), it’s ultimately not as communicative. The Hyundai i30 N offers more involvement and drama, while the Honda Civic Type R is far sharper than the MG – well, sharper than most cars, really. The MG 4 XPower feels a bit too soft for the power on offer and we think a harder model – an XPower S, perhaps? – with upgraded suspension, better tyres, a proper limited-slip differential, larger wheels and sportier seats to match the extra power would be great.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with the MG’s chassis, but what dulls the fun a bit is its 1,800kg tare weight, which is generally around 250kg more than ICE-powered rivals (the all-wheel drive VW Golf R, for example, weighs 1,556kg) and in higher speed corners, it does feel its weight and eventually transitions to understeer because the front wheels become overwhelmed with the power on offer. Yet in lower speed corners – where the XPower is more rear-wheel drive – the chassis is fun and lots of subtle oversteer is possible. That is, before the particularly unsubtle stability control kicks in and kills the power.
Elsewhere in the driving experience, the 2024 MG 4 XPower feels quite like a regular MG 4. Road noise levels are nicely subdued – even on the sportier tyres of the XPower – aside from a bit of wind noise at highway speeds, while its visibility is pretty good as well, apart from the overly large rear headrests blocking rear-view vision. The range of active safety kit is nicely extensive with features like AEB, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and auto high beam – they’re a lot better tuned than MG’s older systems as well, though we’d like to see features like a centre airbag and rear auto braking added to the spec list.
Interior & Practicality: 7.5/10
We were generally impressed with the cabin of the MG 4 on its launch a few months ago thanks to its minimalist layout, practicality, good quality and list of features – even in the entry-level model – and the XPower variant reproduces that recipe in a 99.9 per cent copy. Only the seat upholstery, stitching colour and a few performance menus in the touchscreen are different in the XPower, which is odd for a performance model. Of course, the standard MG 4 range has a fairly admirable cabin, but we’d like to see sportier features like more bolstered seats, a different steering wheel and even some XPower badging to make it feel like the sportier models we’ve come to know in the industry.
The quality inside the MG 4 XPower is reasonable, though hardly plush – the only soft touch materials used are on the top of the dashboard, with everything else either covered in harder plastics or piano black trim. Having said that, the materials are screwed together well and it all looks pretty good. Storage is great with reasonable door pockets, a good-sized glovebox, a big box underneath the central armrest and a huge tray in the centre console with a netted area, a large open section and two reasonable cup holders. The driving position is solid, though we’d like to see more seat adjustment range.
Centre of the 2023 MG 4 XPower’s cabin is a 10.25-inch touchscreen with inbuilt satellite navigation, digital radio and wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. It uses the same ‘iSmart’ software that features in the standard MG 4 and it’s more useable than the software that other MG models like the ZST, thanks to the use of icons which are more logical, more intuitive menu layouts and high screen quality. However, we’d still like to see more hard buttons for basic functions like adjusting the temperature and the regenerative braking instead of having to go into the screen to do so.
The rear seat of the 2024 MG 4 XPower is quite roomy for its size – two six-foot adults will be more than comfortable, while a third will fit for a bit too. It’s certainly more spacious than an i30 N or Golf R, though it is quite dark in the rear seat and it doesn’t even feature any lighting for when you open the doors. Otherwise, rear seat features include map pockets, two ISOFIX points, three top-tether points, door pockets and a USB-A charging port – but still no centre armrest or air vents.
Measuring 363-litres with the seats up, the boot of the MG 4 XPower is a good size for the segment, though not exactly massive – a Cupra Born offers 385L , for example. But it’s a nice and flat space, with 1,165L on offer when the rear seats are folded flat. There are some side storage and hooks, plus a dual-level boot floor, though no spare wheel and no front boot either.
Service & Warranty: 9.5/10
Like the regular MG 4, the 2024 MG 4 XPower is covered by a seven-year/unlimited km warranty (including the battery) with seven years of roadside assistance. Its service intervals are once every two years or every 20,000km, whichever comes first. Six years/120,000km of servicing costs $1,554, or an annual average of $259.
Most rivals offer lesser five-year/unlimited km warranties to MG, – while Cupra’s battery warranty is a superior eight years/160,000km. The Born requires servicing annually/every 15,000km (whichever comes first) and a five-year/75,000km service pack costs $1,590 ($318 per year) and includes complimentary drop off and pick up if you’re within 10km of a service centre.
The 2024 MG 4 XPower DiscoverAuto Rating: 8.5/10
Overall, it’s not difficult to see the appeal of the 2024 MG 4 XPower. The headline 320kW of power for under $60,000 is a big drawcard for a brand that is yet to realise its sporting heritage in its rebirth in Australia, and the XPower adds a lot of appeal for enthusiasts for the MG brand. The performance on offer is brisk and capable of making you feel sick, while its all-round ability is great, its standard equipment list is lengthy, it’s quiet and comfortable, it offers good range for the performance on offer and, not to sound like a broken record, but its value equation is just excellent.
Of course, it’s not perfect and much of that has to do with the somewhat lacking ride and handling balance in that we don’t think MG has done enough to offer the same level of driving fun and involvement as the performance. Adding a front axle motor for more power is easy, but we think that it needs further uprated suspension, tyres and stability control hardware to make its chassis shine. For those chasing outright driving fun and involvement, the cheaper i30 N does better. We also think that it needs more stylistic enhancement – especially inside – to make it look and feel more like a performance model. As we said though, we liken the XPower to something like a Mk6 Golf R in that it’s not the last word in driving fun, but it’s still a great all-rounder. Is this the start of a cheap performance revolution? We certainly hope so!