MG previews its electrifying return to the roadster segment

After years of selling sedans, hatchbacks, and crossovers, China-based MG wants to return to the roadster segment that helped it earn an enviable reputation in enthusiast circles. It released the first sketches of a futuristic concept called Cyberster that previews what a two-seater convertible developed for the 2020s might look like.

MG announced the concept in May 2020, and it doesn’t look like it has changed much since. Created by a team of London-based designers, it’s presented as a modern take on roadsters like the B, which became a hit after its 1963 introduction, but it’s not full-on retro. Instead it wears only a few styling cues that link it to the past, like round headlights that are said to open when they’re turned on. MG intriguingly calls these units Magic Eye lights.

Light plays an important role in the Cyberster’s design, but it’s not the kind of light that made drivers fall in love with the B and the Midget, among other drop-tops. The emblem on the low-mounted front end is backlit, which is par for the course when it comes to electric concept cars in the 2020s, and it’s underlined by a light bar. Designers put more light elements on the side of the convertible, while the back end is a British-themed light show. The rear lights feature a Mini-esque Union Jack motif, and even the edges of the air diffuser can be seen in the dark.

Stepping inside the design study is what starring in a science-fiction movie must feel like. The driver is surrounded by five screens: one is embedded into the middle of the rectangular steering wheel, another replaces the analog instrument cluster, two more display footage from the rear-view cameras that replace the mirrors, while the third stretches almost the entire length of the center console. One of MG’s images suggests fingerprint-recognition technology is part of the Cyberster, which could be interpreted as a nod to the past. In the 2020s, starting an MG will require getting your fingers scanned. In the 1960s, starting an MG often required getting your fingers dirty. 

MG pledged the Cyberster will be something the B never was: quick. While full specifications haven’t been released, the firm pegged the concept’s driving range at 500 miles and its zero-to-60-mph time at under three seconds. Keep in mind these figures are hypothetical, because the roadster remains a concept. It will be interesting to see how MG distributes weight; it can make the Cyberster front-biased, like the B and the Midget, or it can put most of the mass over the rear axle, like the mid-engined TF. It largely depends on where the battery pack is located.

Additional details about the MG Cyberster will emerge in the days leading up to its global debut at the 2021 edition of the Shanghai auto show, which will open its doors on April 21. If the model is approved for production, it’s likely at least a year away from reaching showrooms. Nothing suggests it will pick up where the B left off in America, though.

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