In many ways, MG is the new Mini. Its products are new, shiny, and come with tech the likes of which early cars could never dream of. And yet, there’s a large group of people who don’t think nu-MG is “proper.” Those people need to drive the MG4. But first, some history. 

When MG changed hands to China's SAIC back in the Aughts, eyebrows raised for sure. Back then, tiny hatches that fell into the "aggressively OK" category were the order of the day, as was the old MG TF sports car, of course. But nothing the company produced seemed to justify the endless MG branded swag you could buy on the internet.

It soldiered on with cars that were just fine enough. Keenly priced, not terrible to drive, not terrible to look at, but nothing you’d sit awake thinking about for years to come. (And in other places, like North America, the MG brand is known for tiny vintage sports cars and little else.) 

2024 MG MG4 XPower

Then, in 2022, the MG4 arrived. It was based on a new purpose-built EV platform with a look that meant it wouldn’t blend in, respectable ranges from sensibly sized batteries, acceptable performance and, perhaps most importantly, a keen price point. It was something of a breath of fresh air. Its rivals were all more expensive, though more familiar. That wasn’t enough to protect their market share.

If you head to certain bits of the United Kingdom, the MG4 is absolutely everywhere. Stand on a street corner and you’ll likely see at least a handful in no time at all—private cars, fleet drivers and Ubers alike.

Not only do normal people like it, scruffy journalists like it too. It’s won a raft of gongs for being, as the cliché goes, a ‘lil bit Goldilocks. After so much love has been heaped on it by various colleagues, I figured it was time to give it a go. 

2024 MG MG4 XPower

MG decided to send me the MG4 XPower, the fastest one you can get, as I am a hooligan. With a motor on each axle, it kicks out 429 hp and 443 lb-ft in total. That’s enough to get the 3968-lb car to 62 in 3.8 seconds, roughly as quick as an Audi RS 3.

Its 61.6-kWh (usable) battery will get you just shy of 240 miles on a charge on the more generous European WLTP cycle, which is plenty for most. MG isn’t asking silly money for it, about £36,500, or $46,500 at today’s exchange rates. 

2024 MG MG4 XPower

Euro EV manufacturers have been looking for an electric take on the hot hatch for years, and you’d be forgiven for thinking the MG4 XPower is exactly that. It’s got the grunt (though a 124mph top speed), and it comes with 18-inch wheels, bright brake calipers wrapped around big brakes, stiff suspension and plenty of trickery to make sure power goes where it needs to go. 

From the outside, it’s a looker. Not so out there to alienate more traditional buyers, but not the as forgettable as the old MGs. Inside it’s… pretty sparse, actually. There’s a modest screen for infotainment duties, a small one above the steering wheel for speedo work and a small center console housing a gear selector and a wireless phone charging tray. Cubbyholes and the odd USB slot aside, there’s not much else to shout about. 

2024 MG MG4 XPower

It comes with Apple CarPlay, though the cabled connection was a little temperamental. MG’s own UI is pleasant enough to use, but, again, it’s a budget car, don’t expect the world. Its touch screen isn’t the quickest to respond to prods, and it doesn’t agree with being angry-prodded until it does what you want it to either. If you decide to wirelessly charge your phone, good for you! It’s a bit slow, and can be a touch hit and miss. MG’s interior designers must not have known about the 0-60 time. Give it the beans from the lights and your phone flies around the car. It’s not ideal. 

On a cruise around town it’s quiet, calm, serene and quick if you want it to be. Over 400 hp in a Golf-sized car is more than adequate, frankly. Its steering isn’t all that sharp, which is something of a left down, and its suspension isn’t too hateful over London’s potholed streets.

2024 MG MG4 XPower

What’s handy is its one-pedal drive mode—it’s exactly what you’d expect, sure, but it works well enough that only an errant Uber Eats moped rider with a death wish will cause you to lurch for the brake. 

Taking it on the highway is much the same… it’s a decent way to get around. You’re neatly insulated from the world, and should you need to make progress you can, but that comes at a cost: range. Yeah, it’s much the same as a gas car: Hoof it and you use more juice, but combine that with a cooler British winter and a near-240-mile range vanishes rather quickly. In fact, in the time I had in it the little MG barely breached 3.0m/kWh, which was a cause for concern when it came time to find a charger on the UK’s notoriously woeful network of public chargers.

Gallery: 2024 MG MG4 XPower

Where MG wants it to work is twisty roads. Europe is the home of the hot hatch, and to get it right at this price point would be a huge boon. MG’s had a good ‘ol crack of the whip, arguably a better go than Euro hot hatches like the Cupra Born, but it falls a bit flat. You can hustle it for sure, but it’s not really suited for silliness. All the ingredients are allegedly there but they don’t quite combine to make a greater whole.

What MG wanted to do was make a hot hatch, but instead, it made a brisk EV, and the MG4 is rather decent at being one of those. 

2024 MG MG4 XPower

Should America be jealous of the MG4? From the outside, the idea of an EV with a battery packing fewer than 100kWh, and a footprint smaller than a house would seem alien, but in reality… it would probably go down well in the sunnier states.

It’s a looker, quick and gets you to work and back on a charge with ease. If MG could get it to America at an affordable price, it’d be a decent option—though U.S. tariffs on China's cars probably keep that off the table for now.

Pity, that. More cheap EVs for the rest of us in the meantime. 

Alex Goy is a longtime motoring journalist and host of the InsideEVs Podcast. He is based in London. 

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