Nearly a year after it was teased, the MG Cyberster concept is scheduled to break cover at the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show (19-28 April). Whether or not it evolves into a production model depends on the results of a new MG Cyber Cube programme, the unique initiative that could become a trend in the auto industry.
According to the Chinese media, MG Cyber Cube will be launched on the day of the debut of the Cyberster (19 April). The MG Cyber Cube is divided into crowdfunding and crowd-creation, and the decision to launch a production MG Cyberster hinges on the success of the former.
MG estimates the production Cyberster to be a CNY 1 billion (EUR 129 million) project, and it has set a target of receiving 5% of that amount – CNY 50 million – from its crowdfunding programme. If it reaches the goal of CNY 50 million (EUR 6.5 million) in crowdfunding, it will begin work on commercializing the Cyberster. Crowd-creation is about involving prospective customers in the development process of the road-legal version, something that could extend to other future MG models targeted at young customers.
Even before the unveiling, the company is upbeat about the Cyberster making it to the production line. MG Motor India, in its press release introducing the concept, wrote “MG Cyberster is not just a concept; it is expected to be mass-produced in the near future.”
The MG Cyberster concept has the capability to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in under three seconds. If driven efficiently, it can deliver a range of 800 km. Another highlight of the show car is ‘Magic Eye’ headlights that open when switched on. The two-door, two-seater sports car concept, designed in London, boasts 5G connectivity as well.
Is the MG Cyberster electric sportscar the MGB of the 2020s?
The renderings released of the Cyberster leads to a question – could this become the spiritual successor to the classic MGB sports car of the 1960s? Don’t dismiss this as wild speculation as one of the influential design bosses at SAIC had expressed the desire to have a roadster, and an electric one at that, just 3 years ago.
At the preview of the MG E-Motion concept car in April 2017, Shao Jingfeng, the current Vice President of Design at SAIC told the Australian media that a pure electric MG roadster for the new era is being “dreamed up” by the design chief.
“This is my desire. I would love to have this type of car for MG again,” Jingfeng told Australian publication Drive.com.au, which reported the interaction in a story titled ‘MG B roadster to be revived.’
Drive.com.au reports that the designer admitted the skateboard-style platform underpinning the E-Motion could be downsized to create the base for the battery-powered convertible. He is reported to have conceded that a smaller battery pack would be needed to preserve the handling but that wouldn’t bother customers in this segment as sportscars are usually driven shorter distances and used less frequently than a family car.
“I will try and convince the management we can do this car,” he signed off.
MG Motor India, introducing the features of the Cyberster last month, pulled no punches in the revealing where inspiration came from when making the concept. “Created by MG global design team, it inherits the classic convertible shape of MGB Roadster,” it said in the press release.
The sketches released last year by the SAIC Design reveal a long bonnet, sharply raked rear and a roofless design. The MG logo comes illuminated on both the ends of the car. MG hasn’t talked about introducing electric sports cars but if it does take this one to production, the Cyberster could harp back to the MG B classic car.
As per Wikipedia, the MGB was in production from 1962 to 1980, and spawned many different bodystyles and engine options through its eventful lifecycle. The regular model featured a 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine that made 95 hp and 150 Nm of torque, and was able to achieve a top speed of over 160 km/h. At the other end was an eight-cylinder version in the form of the MG B GT V8 that came fitted with an aluminium block 3.5-litre Rover V8 engine in 1973.
The MGB was known as one of the easiest sportscars to own and were largely regarded as reliable, well-built with spares easy to find.