Can MG’s new EX4 Concept capture the imagination of an experienced BTCC driver? We sat down with Daniel Rowbottom to find out.
MG is currently experiencing a surge in popularity, with record sales in Australia and other global markets, thanks to its attractive range of family-friendly models, including the new electric MG4. To make an even bigger splash, MG unveiled a special one-off show car at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed: the EX4 Concept. This concept car takes the all-electric MG4 and pays homage to one of the wildest and most memorable rally cars of all time, the iconic Group B MG Metro 6R4.
Creating a fitting tribute to one of the most beloved rally cars ever, using an EV as a base, was no small feat. That’s where MG enlisted the help of Northamptonshire-based engineering firm RML, known for their work on the SWB, an homage to the Ferrari 250 GTO.
Teaser images generated excitement in the days leading up to the big reveal, but when the covers were pulled off, it left fans of both MG and Group B rallying in awe. The EX4 Concept, like the MG Metro 6R4 from 1985, retains some elements of a road car but is entirely wild throughout.
At the front, there’s a massive splitter with towering end plates to direct air down the car’s sides, leading to ultra-wide boxed wheel arches and sill-mounted spats, accompanied by distinctive turbofan-style wheels.
Despite the other exterior changes, the enormous rear spoiler fits right in, along with the new rear diffuser. The car’s white body with bright lime green decals is a perfectly eye-catching choice.
While MG could have garnered attention by keeping the EX4 Concept on display at its stand, the company wanted to run it up the famous Goodwood hillclimb, where BTCC driver Daniel Rowbottom enters the picture.
“We arrived at Goodwood on Wednesday, the day before the event,” he says. “I hadn’t seen the car, not even images of it, and it blew me away. I thought, ‘You know what? I can envision a one-make series for this, and it would look absolutely awesome.'”
Rowbottom wasn’t the only one captivated by the EX4 Concept’s appearance. “The Cyberster was on MG’s stand at Goodwood and received a lot of attention, but once people were on MG’s stand, they turned 180 degrees and immediately headed for the EX4,” he adds.
The EX4 draws inspiration from the MG4 XPower road car, with a motor on each axle producing a combined 320kW, resulting in a 0-100km/h sprint time of 3.8 seconds.
“Driving the EX4 was an experience. It was very easy to light up all four wheels almost all the way down to turn one, which always pleases the crowd. I love the car’s overall attitude. I think RML did a really great job,” Rowbottom enthusiastically states.
However, while the mid-80s MG Metro 6R4 relied on a powerful 3.0-litre V6 engine to make a noise, the silent EX4 Concept relies solely on its visual drama. “It doesn’t quite capture the noise, but in terms of appearance, it’s a spectacle,” he adds.
While MG may not have plans to put the EX4 Concept into production, Rowbottom, as a race-winning BTCC driver, recognizes the car’s motorsport potential. “I really hope they consider creating a one-make championship or perhaps entering World Rallycross or doing something with it. I believe the car in this context deserves it.”