Last week our Car Of The Day was a stunning MG ZT 260, arguably the ultimate sleeper car. Ignoring the fact its styling appealed directly to the kind of gentleman that wears flat caps and smokes from a pipe, MG decided to go a bit mad with it. Taking the totally insane option, MG shoehorned a 4.6-litre SOHC V8 from a Ford Mustang into the engine bay and converted the drive to the rear wheels. What's it like to own one of these understated monsters? Over to Sean to let us know... At only 21 years of age, it's considered odd for someone my age in the UK to own a car like this, especially because MG/Rover has a reputation of being for older chaps. But it's not just a Rover, despite what everyone tells me. With a suspension set up by Prodrive, a 4.6-litre V8 under the bonnet and a bit of class, the ZT 260 is loved by its owners. I love the noise, the effortless sense of power, and the grand luxury of the thing. I picked mine up this year, having stepped up from a 2007 1.6 Toyota Corolla. In that time I have done very little to it, mostly modernising the interior and swapping the exhausts for a set of pipes that really let the V8 sing. Despite its modest output, acceleration seems to come on an endless wave of torque, and the chassis is very well balanced. Rear-end grip is phenomenal, but when it does let go, even an oversteer rookie like me is able to catch it and hold it. It has a few upgrades from standard, which mostly modernise the car and make it more responsive. Similarly modified cars have read 270-280bhp on the rolling road, with around 320 lb/ft of torque. Not a grand amount in the world of V8s, but this car isn't all about straight line speed, being described by Jeremy Clarkson as one of the finest handling rear-wheel drive cars to be found. That said, it'll still top out at a limited 155mph if the mood takes you. Some of the upgrades I've carried out are:
Accufab 75mm throttle body Underdrive pulleys Apex uprated rear springs K&N intake and cold air feedThe biggest thing with this car is its effortless cruising ability, matched with a turn of speed that is more than enough to make it a B-road blaster while maintaining its sleeper status. No one expects this big, Rover inspired MG to be packing a V8 under the bonnet. The distinctive burble sitting at idle and sonorous sound under acceleration get an equal share of thumbs up and looks of confusion. It's also rare. Close to 900 of these V8-powered models were made before MG/Rover went bust, and before they could make the supercharged 400bhp version. In fact, in our house, we love them so much we have two. Plus a Roush supercharger is sitting in the garage, just waiting to be installed onto my father's car. This particular car is no. 235, built in 2004. Today it is estimated that only 400 or so remain on the road. It might be a Rover, but that makes it a great Q-car. You will hear me before you see me.
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