MG Icon SUV concept unveiled in Beijing


April 25, 2012

MG took inspiration from classics like the MGB GT and MGA when penning the Icon

MG took inspiration from classics like the MGB GT and MGA when penning the Icon

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China just can't seem to get enough SUVs. The world's largest car market has inspired unlikely suspects like Bentley and Lamborghini to proceed full speed ahead with SUV designs, and it's even gotten some smaller firms all SUV-crazy – British sports car maker MG has debuted an SUV concept at the Beijing Motor Show.

MG is a British automaker that dates back to 1924. It's had a somewhat tumultuous history during recent years, seeing more changes of ownership than new production models, but it's well known for its history of sporty coupes and roadsters like the MGA, MGB and Midget.

What it's not particularly known for is trucks or SUVs. Now that it's owned by China's largest automaker SAIC, however, that's exactly the direction it's taking. MG introduced its first-ever SUV concept called the Icon this week. Judging by the pictures, which make it look a touch bigger than a Mini Cooper, the Icon is really more of a car-based crossover than a proper SUV.

MG hasn't said much about the Icon's mechanicals or technology, focusing instead on its design. The automaker's global design team, led by British director Anthony Williams-Kenny, sought to inject MG's heritage into a larger, more current package.

"The MG brand has a unique set of values and heritage and allows us to offer individual design values to our products," Williams-Kenny explains. "The MG Icon represents our vision of a modern MG and we feel that the small SUV canvas demonstrates MG’s capacity for progressive design with respect for its long heritage. We have balanced familiar brand cues, such as the wide and powerful front end graphic interpretation and, as one would expect, with a strong focus on the unique MG octagon."

MG mentions that the car borrows inspiration from the MGB GT of the 1960s and 70s and the MGA from the 50s and 60s. This classic styling can be seen in the rounded headlamps, narrow tail lamps and thin, lateral grille. MG eliminates the B pillar with rear-hinged doors in back.

While it's larger than traditional MG cars, it's quite small for a crossover. MG executives told Auto Express that it's about the same length as a Nissan Juke. Inside, it seats four and includes folding rear seats that add some cargo versatility.

MG hasn't mentioned if the Icon, or something based on it, will join the MG6 sedan in its current line. Its press release simply says that the concept is meant to showcase MG's global design vision and celebrate the MGB's 50th anniversary.

What do you think: a proper direction for the future of MG or just another ugly crossover for soccer moms and wannabe mountain men?

Source: MG, Auto Express

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

Dismay, woe, sadness.

I've loved the Octagon from the days that my dad was restoring a 1932 F type-Magna 2. My first memory in a car was riding in an MGA.

Why build this monstrosity. It has nothing to do with the sports cars that MG is supposed to be. . . :(


The Pontiac Azteck says "Thank you MG."


What a Disaster !!!!! but as long as there are fools, who are easily parted from their money such as Range Rover Evoque & potentially the new Defender buyers, the Motor Industry will continue to produce these Frenkenstein Monsters. I just wish they could see how Moronic they look posing in these Toy Town Boxes.

Trevor Horrocks

This is what happends when a Chinese company buys a classic euro brand

william h

But when was the last time (with the exception of the F/TF) that a car bearing any resemblance to a sports car was sucessfuly marketed under the MG brand? The RV8 was a commercial disaster with only Japan taking any "significant" interest - accounting for close to 80% of the sales. The model was abandoned after a run of only 2000. Prior to that the marque consisted of rebadged, and mildy tuned, Allegros, Montegos, and Metros. Hardly anyone's idea of the classic British sports car. Production of the MG B ended in 1980, and for the last few years of it's life even that had become a shadow of it's former self. Wire wheels and chrome bumpers replaced by "safer" Rostyle and plastic to satisfy the demands of a foreign market. OK SAIC might not be true to a 50 year old idealised view of what the marque should be, but as no company managed to make money from the name during the last 40 or so years of UK production then maybe producing a monstrosity that will sell for a profit is the only way forward. I agree it's a sad state of affairs and, when I look at how well Morgan is doing producing cars with a very traditional look, I know that the demand and the expertise to meet that demand still exist. Last time I read about them there was something like a three year waiting list for a new Morgan. However,where MG is concerned; thanks to a lack of investment, misreading of the market, and a range of other poor management decisions over the years, we are where we are now. If you want MG to be what it was in its glory days then buy the company and employ the kind of people who can work to traditional standards using modern methods.


If MG want to be a commercial success in a worldwide market, they have to appeal to people who can afford to buy them. Regardless of my (and, clearly some others) personal views of the modern so-called SUV concept, it seems to be what the masses want and MG have realised that fact very effectively. This is confirmed by the fact that this particular concept has just won a "Best Concept" award at the China motor show.

Mike Hallett
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