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The testing took place at Croft Racing Circuit. NOP assembled a panel of more than 100 consumers to assess the similarly priced MGZT 190+ and the BMW 318i SE. The panel judged both models across five categories. Using a combination of driving exercises, questionnaires and interviews the panel evaluated the cars on quality of exterior and interior, driving experience and performance, handling, driving enjoyment and overall desirability.
The research revealed that the BMW lost considerable ground to the MG on the road. More than 90% of the panel judged the MG to outperform the BMW, which trailed the MG for throttle response, straight-line performance, acceleration, braking, sportiness and top speed. Seventy-one per cent favoured the handling of the British car, which recorded higher scores for responsiveness, cornering, agility, ride quality, road holding and body roll.
An overwhelming 86% enjoyed the overall driving experience more, behind the wheel of the MG, compared to just 14% that enjoyed the BMW. Reasons cited for this by respondents included the car's character, the excitement of the drive and the impression the car makes in a crowd.
When it came to looks, functional yet dull German design lost out to eyecatching British styling. In the appearance category, the MG outpointed the BMW for sportiness and distinctiveness while the model's overall looks were considered by 75% of the respondents to be more impressive than the German car.
The BMW interior was also marked down. It was beaten by MG for colour, comfort, roominess, styling, seat support and dashboard appearance. Overall, only 20% of the panellists preferred the German interior, compared to 80% that opted for the MG.
Finally, almost all (91%) of the respondents stated they believed the MG was better value for money than the BMW.
John Edwards, sales and marketing director, MG Rover commented: "You always take a bit of a risk when you commission an independent survey, that makes direct comparisons with the competition. We were fairly confident that the same money buys a lot more MG than BMW but we were completely bowled over by the results, which gave a conclusive victory to the MG ZT. Five-nil seems to be a familiar result when we take on Germany".
The full survey can be viewed at www.mgbeatsbmw.com
Issued by MG Rover Group Communications