Nanjing MG has finally officially launched its MG 7 sedan model line in China.

The new model is a Chinese-built update of defunct UK automaker MG Rover's MG ZT, itself derived from the Rover 75 (recently updated and put into production by Shanghai Automotive (SAIC) in China as the Roewe 750).

Nanjing said the new car, built in a brand-new facility in Nanjing city (using tooling bought from MG Rover's receivers and 'lifted and shifted' from Longbridge to China), "retains the character of the former British-built MG ZT in terms of both design and quality".

Initial pictures suggest Nanjing has not made the same changes to the dashboard and rear styling as SAIC did when turning the Rover 75 into the Roewe 750.

The MG7 models introduced in China include three 1.8-litre variants plus a stretched (by 200mm or eight inches) long wheelbase flagship version, named the MG7L. The photos show this lengthened version with generous extra rear legroom obviously targeting the many Chinese owners of prestige cars of this size who employ a driver.

The shorter MG7s have a 1.8-litre turbocharged I4 engine generating 160bhp, and 215Nm of torque between 2,100 and 4,000rpm. The unit, based on a unit MG Rover once used, and built using the same tooling, has been upgraded with help from the UK's Lotus Engineering to conform to Euro 4 emissions legislation.

The top MG7L also has an updated Chinese-built engine made with the original UK tooling - in this case MG Rover's K-series, 177bhp, 2.5-litre, V6 powerplant producing 240Nm torque at 4,000rpm.

This stretched model has a higher specification, offering greater comfort and increased legroom for rear passengers.

Nanjing MG's sales director Yang Junhu said: "We are bringing British automotive culture to our country. Until now no other car from a British marque has been manufactured and sold in China. Today customers are becoming more demanding in terms of their requirements which we will be able to satisfy thanks to the different variants of the MG7."

Chinese prices range from the equivalent of £12,600 (about $US25,000) to £22,260.

Chinese MG launch makes progress