Sporty, but not pricey
For a brand known mainly for its sports cars from the 60s to the 90s, it was unusual to see MG launch one crossover SUV after another in the local market. They teased us a little bit with the MG6 liftback (launched in 2019), but thankfully, they are upping the marque’s sportiness with the introduction of the second-generation MG GT sports sedan.
Its nose has a proper scowl, which makes it look like it is impatiently waiting for the light to turn green and dash away. It was thoughtful of MG to put holes for the vehicle plate screws below the 3D digital flaming grille (so onlookers can see its full form), and the extra black molding that extends into these large air vents is a nice touch that gives it a one-of-a-kind front fascia.
The side showcases its very nice 17-inch two-tone Tomahawk alloy wheels, a couple of sharp character lines that highlight the shapely fenders, and a chrome trim that traces the daylight opening and emphasizes the slope that gives it a fastback form.
LED bulbs are standard on the intelligent headlights and 3D racetrack taillights. It also has a couple of elements that reduce drag and increase aerodynamic efficiency, a front (carbon fiber-style) and rear (ducktail) spoiler.
It looks every bit the part of a sports sedan from the front, but I have a few suggestions. A lower stance would be better, which means reduced ground clearance. On top of that, a sleeker roof would make it look sexier and give it better stability, and a larger rear glass should elicit an illusion of a wider body (when viewed from the rear). Lastly, drop the faux twin exhaust because it looks pretty obvious.
MG brags that it has a fighter jet-inspired cockpit. I have never been in a fighter jet as the closest I have been was while watching ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ so I’ll take their word for it.
The dashboard is sleek, with switches that are just the right size to match the cockpit design. The plastic surface could be better, but the diamond-design accent that runs along the middle gives it a certain level of sophistication. The matching slim infotainment system is laid out horizontally and sits on top of a silver ledge with toggles to switch between the different menus of the 10-inch floating monitor. Designers gave the layout some thought to ensure every detail matches the image they have of the GT.
I single out the instrument cluster because of its different look and feel. I get a Chevy (think Spark) or a moto vibe from it, even if it sports a 12.3-inch virtual display with a digital speedometer and tachometer. The unique thing about it is the red linear gauges on either side that goes up and down depending on the speed and RPM.
Each front seat has bolsters for a snug fit, which is why it appears small at first. It cradles the torso very well, which helps keep the body in place during aggressive driving, but I wish the seat bottoms were just a bit longer for more thigh support. It has leather upholstery, red stitching, and quilting on the backrest.
There are two USB ports in front, one for charging and the other for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. It also has Bluetooth audio streaming. The third USB port is at the back, beside the rear air vents.
The flat-bottom multi-function leather steering wheel feels great. It is just the right size and enhances the vehicle’s sporty personality. It has tilt adjustment but does not have telescopic features. Behind it are the paddle shifters and three stalks that include cruise controls.
I like its current interior equipment and the power sunroof is not a regular sight in the segment; that gives it a leg up over the competition. More premium cabin materials would be better, and throw in more padded surfaces too. The six-speaker system sounds good, but maybe too good in some parts because I can feel the vibration of the panels from the door speaker when I turn up the volume.
What is impressive about this vehicle is its small displacement 1.5-liter turbocharged gas engine that makes 161 PS and 250 Nm of torque. Drive goes to the wheels via a seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox. Throttle response is drive mode dependent. Normal is the default mode, and it feels pretty mild-mannered. The vehicle’s weight is more palpable as it rises steadily to the desired speed.
Switching modes was a little tricky as there was a button on the center stack. The paddle shifter also did not have an effect. Only when I toggled the gear shifter back did it shift to Sport, and vice versa. Acceleration is slightly more abrupt, but I love the sound it makes. Instead of the typical rumble, which you will not get anyway because it only has four cylinders, there is a thrilling throttling-up sound that rises in the cabin the faster I went.
Handling is not too light, but despite its good power-to-weight ratio, it is not as agile. That is partly due to soft suspension and high ground clearance. Its height raises the center of gravity which -together with the ride height- is why there is a significant amount of body roll when cornering.
If you want to sort that out, get a new set of coilover suspensions or a lowering kit (if there are any available). But there is a benefit to keeping it suspension setup stock. This soft type has more comfort versus rigid setups that offer sporty handling. It keeps road harshness levels down, and unless you plan to drive it aggressively, there is no need to modify it.
It has a forward collision warning and lane departure warning, but my favorite is the 360-degree vehicle view camera. It shows the vehicle's position relative to external obstacles, while the forward camera lets me park face-front as close to the wall as possible.
If you plan to take it for a weekend trip, the trunk space is 40 inches long and 53 inches wide. It looks big enough to store a couple of check-in luggage and several overnight bags.
At PHP 1,193,888, the 2023 MG GT Sport TST certainly has qualities befitting a compact sports sedan. It may not corner like the Civic RS but its higher torque lets it take off with a bit more bravado. This second-generation model is already on the right track with its powertrain. A few more updates in the MG GT and it can give the segment a run for its money.