MG’s new sports cars, publicly unveiled at the Geneva motor show this week, will be known as the ZR (a small hot hatchback, previously codenamed X30), ZS (a mid-size four-door saloon and five-door hatchback, previously the X20) and ZT (a four door executive saloon, previously the X10).

MG ZR – previously codenamed X30

Based on the 25 hatchback, the core ZR model is powered by a 117kW 1.8-litre engine also used in the limited-edition MGF Trophy 160 SE, with an uprated chassis with 17-inch wheels, more powerful brakes and improved steering.

A model known as the ZR ‘Ultimate’ will have an important role in building MG’s motorsport presence. It will be based on a works rally car specification, offering extra power and lower weight, and will be priced to encourage its competition use by private entrants.

Developed from Rover‘s ageing mid-size 45 platform, the ZS is claimed to be the most dramatically transformed model in the range. To be built in four- and five-door forms, the core version has a 2.5-litre V6 engine developing 130kW, 17-inch wheels, and uprated suspension, brakes and steering.

MG ZS – previously the X20

A special version of the ZS will be MG’s entry in the 2001 British TOCA Tour race series and the competition design and engineering from this exercise will form the basis of an ‘Ultimate’ road car version.

Heading up the new saloon range, the 75-based ZT core model features an uprated version of Rover’s quad cam V6 engine, developing 145kW. All the chassis elements which influence handling have been modified and firmed up – in some cases with rate increases approaching 100 percent.

The specification includes 18-inch alloy wheels, lowered suspension and 325mm front discs with uprated hydraulics and ABS. A higher geared rack sharpens the steering.

MG ZT – previously the X10

MG Rover has confirmed that the top of the range ZT models will be rear drive V8 versions with 190kW and 275kW engines.

The company also sprang a Geneva show surprise by displaying a mocked-up MG version of its new 75 Tourer (station wagon) in lurid metallic blue with a full body kit and 18-inch wheels.

MG Rover will gauge public reaction at the show before deciding whether to produce a ZT Tourer model alongside the saloon.

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UK: MG sports saloons follow expected formula