"Made in China". You may as well put up a sign saying "Don't buy me". That's been imprinted, singed into our brains by over decades of G.I Joes whose heads fall off immediately after you get home from the toy store. And you didn't even buy the ‘detachable-head' model.
But hang on a minute… My Nikes are made in China, so is my mobile phone, one of my watches, that new ‘Louis Vuitton' bag I bought for my wife from a really nice man in Deira who assured me I was his best friend and the price was very special and exclusive to me, my laptop, and also… wait a sec… yes, this keyboard I'm typing on. Although that says ‘Product of China' rather than ‘Made in China' — the latter's stigma will never leave.
So, produced in China. I like that. It's like they're saying we're manufacturing, creating, not making. You make a mud pie. You manufacture a car. And this one, the MG 750, should proudly wear a luminous yellow pointy sticker on its windscreen — "Product of China, now only Dh80,000".
The People's Republic has had enough of copy-pasting Western and Japanese products, using inferior materials and techniques. The world is watching, and China must impress. Have you seen the 2008 Olympic stadium? It's amazing, and it's still standing you know. Chinese stuff is built to last these days. And it needs to be innovative instead of just broken mirror-images of rival products. Which is why the all-new MG 750 is actually a 12-year old Rover 75 that was inferior at launch. Uh-oh…
But it doesn't matter because underneath an ancient design is a solid car, and anyway, the new MG changed 75 per cent of the car. And remember, this thing used to date BMW back in the day, and that must have helped as well.
It certainly looks pleasant and retro. But rather than trying to revive disco, the MG 750 revives the classical era, with a distinct British feel to it, wood (fake of course) and leather, oval dials and an antique dash clock.
The room inside is huge too, with space in the back to embarrass German saloons such as the BMW 3 Series and Merc C-Class. Of course these aren't the 750's rivals — those would be your Kias, Hyundais, Chevys and Hondas.
And it starts off well with a 2.5-litre V6 that's actually quite guttural. It doesn't produce much else other than the noise, sadly, but at least there's no flat-spots in its torque curve and the lack of acceleration is nice and consistent. A five-speed automatic 'box, 183bhp and 240Nm of torque sound about enough, but not when you weigh 1.6-tonnes — it's all good for almost 11 seconds to 100kph and a 215kph top speed, yet after you hit 160kph you'll cross Saudi Arabia before you top out.
There is a positive aspect though. For three days I kept reminding myself to remember to check the brochure, because I couldn't figure out which were the driven wheels. Most of the time it was so well composed in transitional esses that I figured it had to be rear-wheel drive, and the absolute absence of torque steer confirmed this belief. Then there was the way the tyres simply refused to squeal in protest despite the torture I'd put them through in the turns, and seemed to possess an infinite slip angle. This definitely meant it had to be a rear-driver. But I was wrong. It's a front-driver. I know, I finally looked it up in the brochure. I'm quite stumped, and have no idea how they managed it. The MG 750 has no clever torque bias or electronic differentials. It just has a suspension like any other FWD family saloon. I suspect the Chinese must know something the rest of the world doesn't. It's just a shame they very little about engines…
The MG 750 is adequately equipped but its air-conditioning kept losing its mind, switching modes constantly by itself. The trip computer also just stands there empty, displaying nothing most of the time. It will only spring to action if you demand to see the consumption or average speed, but the information disappears after a few seconds.
There is a strange switch beneath the air vents that doesn't seem to do anything. It's not in the brochure either.
The Bluetooth kit is a hideous Parrot thing that sits in the centre of the dash, with a wire protruding out of it.
There's no Isofix provisions, but MG is probably just following the local trend of not bothering about your kids.
Let's see… Yeah that's about it, as the rest of the stuff is all good: cruise control, disc brakes all around, two airbags, power adjustable driver's seat, adjustable steering wheel, sunroof… And its head didn't even fall off all week.
Specs & ratings
- Model 750
- Engine 2.5-litre V6
- Transmission Five-speed auto, FWD
- Max power 183bhp @ 6,500rpm
- Max torque 240Nm @ 4,000rpm
- Top speed 215kph
- 0-100kph 10.5sec
- Price Dh80,000
- Plus Classic looks and classy interior
- Minus Jerky ‘box, equipment, quirky interior issues