MG Rover Group is promising to reveal a “new high performance sports car” at next week’s British motor show in Birmingham.


The car should, of course, be the production version of the Qvale Mangusta-based luxury sports model first shown in 2001 as the MG X80 concept.


MG Rover says the latest version is re-designed and lighter with more power. The company claims to have targeted the driving enthusiast with “extreme levels of performance with great potential for both road and track”.


The British car maker last year agreed to buy the Italian subsidiary of Qvale Automotive Group, based in Modena, Northern Italy, which the employed 70 people to manufacture the Mangusta.


Combining the Mangusta platform with a 4.6 litre V8 powertrain and new body styled by MG Rover design director Peter Stevens produced the X80 concept.


At the time, MG Rover said both coupe and roadster versions were planned with manual and automatic transmissions.


There was no word in 2001 on where the model would be built but, with expected volume of around 1,000 a year, the Qvale plant in Italy is still likely to be the most suitable location.


“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 as the concept was unveiled in 2001.