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