MG X80

MG Rover will use the Italian Qvale Mangusta sports car as the basis of a new luxury sports model called the MG X80.

The independent British car maker today confirmed it will buy the Italian subsidiary of Qvale Automotive Group, based in Modena, Northern Italy, which employs 70 people to manufacture the Mangusta.

A combination of the Mangusta platform and a 4.6 litre V8 powertrain with a new body styled by design director Peter Stevens will give MG Rover its new X80 next year.

Both coupe and roadster versions are planned with manual and automatic transmissions and the new car will top off the range above the MGF roadster and new sports saloons and wagons due for launch this summer.

MG Rover has not said where the model will be built but, with expected volume of around 1,000 a year, the Qvale plant in Italy is believed to be the most suitable location.

The agreement reunites the Qvale name with MG, a pairing which began in 1947 when importer Kjell Qvale, father of Qvale Automotive president Bruce Qvale, introduced MG sportscars to the Western United States, beginning 33 years of sales there.

MG pulled out of the U.S. in 1980 and a bid to re-establish Rover under the Sterling brand in the late 1980s faltered after only a few years.

"The X80 provides an opportunity to look at markets where we are not currently represented, in particular the USA, the world's largest sports car market," MG Rover chief executive Kevin Howe said.


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