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First to market: the MG Cyberster is on sale now

The first of many fully electric sports cars to come has gone on sale in the UK. Where it comes from is a surprise to lots of people, but not to Ken Pearson.

MG Cyberster is on sale now

Electric performance cars are nothing new. Since Tesla showed what could be done with the Model S P85 in 2014, loads of manufacturers have brought out high-output models under new monikers, or using familiar names like AMG, BRABUS, M, N, RS and Turbo. However, they have all been in hatchback, saloon or SUV form and left a gaping hole open in the two-seat sports car segment. Maybe the big players were and still are betting on the continued desire for piston engines in coupes and roadsters, but I think that they’ve missed a trick and left the door ajar for someone else to come in and steal a march in the yet to be shaped sector.

Over the last few years, Alpine, Lotus, Polestar, Porsche and Tesla have publicly committed to making some sort of electric sports car in coupe or convertible form and the silent sports car of the future is being developed as you read this. However, none of those brands will be bringing their products to market in the immediate future; they’ve all been beaten to the mark by MG.

Yes, that MG. The maker of affordable hatches and SUVs powered by petrol, electricity or a mixture of the two. They’ve hit the mark in the mass market and registered over 84,000 cars in the UK last year - only a few hundred behind Mercedes-Benz - but since relaunching in 2009, they’ve not focussed too much on their heritage which includes coupes and roadsters like the MGB, F and TF.

Until now.

MG Cyberster is on sale now

Shown first in concept form, the Cyberster has made it to production relatively unchanged - and that includes the power-opening scissor doors that I had a £100 bet on with my former manager. I’m still awaiting payment. I’ve seen the car twice now, once in silver at the Geneva Motor Show which you can read about here, and more recently at the Everything Electric show where it was displayed in yellow. The Cyberster is similarly sized to a BMW Z4 and it looks every bit as dramatic in person as it does in the photos.

It has classic proportions with a long bonnet, rear-set cabin and a short rear deck with 19” or 20” wheels sitting within the wheel arches. From the outside, there’s not much that shouts “Hey! I’m electric!” other than the light bar at the rear with two straight elements that drop down past the arrow-shaped brake lights. If you’ve read my previous articles about cars with light bars, you’ll know that I love light bars, but I think the sharp corner at each edge of the light bar doesn’t match the gentle angles of the rest of the car, so to my eyes, the Cyberster would look better without it.

The cabin is another area where concept styling has made its way to production with a driver-focussed triple display setup. The central and right-hand screens show car data like speed, charging and what the car’s sensors are detecting, while the left-hand screen handles the infotainment which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A fourth screen allows access to the two-zone climate control. Mercifully there are physical controls on the steering wheel for operating the infotainment and switching driving modes, a strip with shortcuts for heating above the lower infotainment screen and buttons for opening or closing the doors and the fabric soft top below. The gear selector sits next to that fourth screen too. The dashboard design sees everything being pointed towards the driver and there is an air of Jaguar F-Type and Corvette C7 about it.

MG Cyberster is on sale now

The doors look epic when opened, but as is the case with every scissor-door-equipped car, they can make entry and exit to the cabin a little undignified…but who cares when you have scissor doors? When closed, the cabin feels snug but not tight and the material quality really does impress. The driving position will feel natural to anyone who’s had some good seat time in a long bonneted GT or roadster before, as will the 249-litre boot. The non-cow leather for the cabin can be specified in grey and white or black with red accents.

Under the skin is a 77 kWh capacity battery which can charge at up to 144 kW DC and return a 10-80% top up in 38 minutes which is by no means the quickest by today’s standards. The car lags behind what is fast becoming the norm by only being able to take up to 7 kW AC. This is fine for home charging in the UK - and the job will take 10.5 hours from 10-100% using a wall box - but with 11 and 22 kW public AC charging becoming ever more commonplace, it’s a shame that the Cyberster isn’t primed to take advantage of that.

The battery powers a choice of two drivetrains with the single motor, rear-wheel drive Trophy model putting out 335 bhp and 350 lb ft (475 nm) which offers a 0-62 mph time of 5 seconds and a top speed of 121 mph. The more powerful GT brings a twin motor, all-wheel drive setup along with a performance boost up to 496 bhp and 534 lb ft (725 nm), dropping the 0-62 mph time to just 3.2 seconds and raising the top speed to 125 mph. Neither variant of the Cyberster is the lightest car on sale - the Trophy tips the scales at 2.1 tonnes while the GT with its extra motor and 20” wheels adds another 100kg. WLTP ranges are up to 316 and 276 miles respectively.

MG Cyberster is on sale now

It promises to be quick, certainly, but the elephant in the room must be the noise - or lack thereof. After all, being able to hear a car’s engine to a greater extent is often a factor in choosing a convertible over a coupe. I have spent lots of time driving lots of convertibles and roadsters from the electric Smart fortwo to the Audi R8 Spyder V8 and everything in between and unless you’re in a tunnel, the engine becomes all but inaudible at a cruise, above 60 mph or if music is playing…unless you’re driving an Aventador or something like that.

While it may not be the first electric Roadster to go on sale - don’t worry, I’ve not forgotten about the original Tesla Roadster that I first read about in a newspaper in a gym at a San Francisco hotel in 2008 (which was also the last time I went to a gym) - the MG Cyberster is the first dedicated electric two-seat sports car to enter the modern marketplace. The competition will be coming for it, with Porsche’s electric Boxster set to be unveiled later in 2024 but until it does, the market belongs to MG.

With a starting price of £54,995 for the Trophy and £59,995 for the GT, the Cyberster is very keenly priced compared to the current piston-engine competition, let alone the forthcoming electric rivals. If this turns out to be a hit, we can expect more manufacturers to follow suit and join this new market segment.

The MG Cyberster is available to configure and order now with deliveries set to begin in the UK in August of this year. The car is firmly on my to-drive list - preferably in twin-motor form - and I hope that the Cyberster’s driving experience is as good as it looks.

MG Cyberster is on sale now


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