Now it’s here – the first real opponent for the VW ID.3, which is also electric. Somewhat surprisingly, it does not come from Opel, Peugeot or Ford, but from the Chinese SAIC subsidiary MG and simply bears the name “4 Electric” – a compact class model with distinctive shapes and, in terms of proportions, with a certain similarity to the VW ID.3. But its front with the LED eyes is sharper, more precise and more dynamic. It’s similar at the rear, because the narrow LED lights are always an eye-catcher here too. The 4.29 meter long MG4 Electric is the first model on the new SAIC group platform MSAP. In contrast to the main German competitor and most of the planned European opponents, the MG4 Electric will not only be available with rear-wheel drive, which is advantageous in terms of driving dynamics, but later also with all-wheel drive. No one else in this class offers that.

“MG Motor is taking an important next step in its long history with the MG4 Electric. The MG4 Electric is not only the first model of our technologically sophisticated and extremely flexible MSP platform, it also represents the free, young and cool spirit that the brand as we move towards the future,” says Xinyu Liu, CEO MG Motor Europe. The so-called one-pack battery pack is located in the underbody of the MG4, which is eleven centimeters high and the flattest in its class. The customer can choose between a volume of 51 or 64 kWh, which should ensure electric ranges of 350 or 450 kilometers. MG specifies the maximum charging speed as 135 kilowatts, which allows the battery bar to be boosted from 10 to 80 percent in 35 minutes. The standard consumption: 16.6 kWh per 100 kilometers.

While the smaller battery pack on the rear axle supplies an electric motor with 170 hp, the test car is on the road with the larger battery and has a correspondingly stronger 204 hp and 250 Nm maximum torque. From a standing start, the rear-wheel drive accelerates to 100 km/h in a brisk 7.9 seconds and is sealed off quite early at 160 km/h, because otherwise a lot more would be possible. With the electric drive on the rear axle, things get off to a good start right from the start. The steering is light, but precise, and the neutral handling is quickly noticeable in the first corners, which is not least due to the balanced weight distribution of 50:50.

The low center of gravity of the MG4, which weighs almost 1.7 tons, is pleasing, the steering remains smooth even at higher speeds and the low noise level, in addition to the comfortable chassis tuning, has its part in the fact that it is fun to drive the Chinese electric model through town and across the country to drive onto the freeway. The MG4 has a McPherson axle at the front, while a five-link axle at the rear ensures comfort and dynamics in equal measure. With one of these, it can also be a longer journey.

The somewhat pale interior looks tidy, the seats are comfortable and the displays with diagonals of 7 and 10.25 inches should be a bit larger these days. What’s missing is a head-up display, which not only offers main competitors. What is annoying is the plastic charm of the MG4 Electric, because all sorts of hard plastic is installed in the doors as well as in the dashboard, which could also appear more valuable in this class. The free-floating center console offers easy-to-reach space for smartphones and otherwise carries the switches for the gear selector disc and parking brake. More storage is underneath or in the door pockets. Thanks to the wheelbase of 2.71 meters, there is plenty of space at the front and rear, and the load compartment behind the manually operated tailgate has a capacity of 350 to 1,165 liters.

The price is attractive: With a starting price of 31,990 euros, the MG4 Electric is almost 3,000 euros cheaper than the 204 hp VW ID.3 in the less well-equipped basic configuration. The list of optional extras is shorter than it could be. Only the paint and roof color can be selected and the top version MG4 Luxury can be equipped with 1,000 euros expensive partial leather seats.