What’s next from the Chinese-owned MG brand? A sports car, perhaps one in keeping with the spirit of the famed MGA or MGB? Nope. Try a crossover. The MG Icon CUV shown here in leaked sketches will apparently make its debut at the Beijing Auto Show next week.
The MG name was resurrected when Chinese automaker SAIC Motor took over the brand in 2005. Since then the Anglo-Chinese company has gone on to make cars like the MG3, MG5, and MG6, its halo model. The MG6 shares its underpinnings with the Chinese Roewe 550.
This time around, MG is borrowing a Roewe platform and making something other than a passenger car. Instead, the Icon is a crossover built upon SAIC’s ZP platform, which also underpins the forthcoming MG3 and Roewe 350 hatchbacks. Power is provided by a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine – which, according to Autocar, is good for 135 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque.
The Icon’s crisp edges and flared fenders evoke the Nissan Juke, but we can’t help but see some influence from the beloved MGB GT, especially in the cab-rearward profile, the hatchback, and the front clip. The rear doors are neatly hidden into the car's side profile, but the car is said to have no B-pillars, and the doors are half-sized and open suicide-style, like those on the late Mazda RX-8.
The sketches you see here leaked online roughly a week before a concept version will take to the Beijing Auto Show floor. We'll have to wait until then to see more details, but the sketches show that the car – which should go on sale in China come 2014 -- is certainly distinctive. Whether or not it's worthy of the storied MG badge is your call: let us know in the comments below.