Initially the MG6 is available with only a 158bhp/159 ft turbocharged 1.8-litre petrol engine, mated to a five-speed gearbox that sends power to the front wheels.

So the MG 6 hits the market already handicapped by the lack of an auto gearbox and, more important, a diesel motor or a small-capacity petrol. A diesel is due later in 2012.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
The MG 6 is handicapped by the lack of an auto gearbox, a diesel motor or a small-capacity petrol

Frankly, it can't come soon enough. We managed to coax the 1.8T to 60mph in 8.8sec during our tests, which is off the pace of the 1.8 TSI Octavia’s claimed 7.8sec time to 62mph but not far behind the 148bhp Focus 1.6 Ecoboost. But the engine's gruffness is never appealing. Noticeable turbo lag causes a slightly uneven power delivery, but once into its stride the delivery is linear enough.

The noise, though, never abates as it should. This engine is a heavily re-worked variant of the old (and revvy and appealing) K-series unit, but it can't tread water in the heavy swell of modern engines.

The brakes, meanwhile, faded quickly under hard use but were effective in everyday driving.

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