MG 4 XPower (2023) review
The MG4 has already impressed as an EV, but will the 435hp XPower model be just as compelling?
James Fossdyke
James Fossdyke
Pics by Max Earey

Published on July 13, 2023

Few electric cars have surprised and delighted like the MG4 EV. A budget alternative to the Volkswagen ID.3 and Cupra Born, it immediately impressed with its appealing range and driving dynamics, not to mention the practical interior and high specification. Now MG has launched a new high-performance model called the MG4 XPower. With two motors, all-wheel drive and enough power to embarrass a Porsche 911, will it be the hot hatchback of the future?

In the metal

At first glance, the XPower version of the MG4 isn't all that different from its less powerful siblings. MG itself admits the visual upgrades are subtle, saying it wants the car to fly under the radar, and that's exactly what it does. Whereas most hot hatchbacks would be garnished with stripes, grilles and wheelarch extensions, the XPower gets orange brake calipers, a black roof and 18-inch alloy wheels, as well as some polished trim accents down at the bottom of the doors. Oh, and there's an optional Racing Green paint colour.

Aside from that, it's business as usual, with the same angular nose, the same intricate rear lights and much the same body shape. It even still looks slightly under-wheeled, with loads of space between the arches and the rims. In short, unless you pull away from the lights with a bit of vim and vigour, only those in the know will realise this isn't an ordinary MG4.

Even getting into the car won't make that much of a difference. Yes, MG has fitted black Alcantara seat upholstery and metal sports pedals, but otherwise it's the same hatchback as before. You still get the wide central touchscreen and digital instrument display, neither of which is much different from that of the standard MG4. MG hasn't even made wholesale changes to the graphics to suit the sportier model.

The technology was never the MG4's strong suit, so it's just about good enough to mix it with rival products from the likes of Nissan, BYD and GWM Ora. The screens are functional and relatively easy to navigate, although the occasional command is hidden somewhere less than obvious, and the digital instrument display is functional, rather than fancy, but there's nothing wrong with that.

That's really a metaphor for the XPower's cabin in general. Yes, it's built to a price - you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to work out that cheap cars won't make any money unless they're built cheaply - but everything you touch regularly feels pretty good. The steering wheel, for example, is nice and tactile, and even the indicator stalks, which can be a weak point even on premium cars, are fairly solid. And because there aren't too many buttons on the dashboard, it doesn't matter that some of the plastics around there feel a little cheap. What really matters, though, is that everything feels solidly constructed, regardless of what material it's made from.

With all this sameness, the MG4's practicality is unsurprisingly unchanged, which means you get more than enough cabin space to carry four adults and you get plenty of space in the boot. Yes, a VW ID.3 or a Cupra Born is slightly more capacious, but not excessively so.

That said, it would have been nice to see some small tweaks that make a big difference every day. The little wireless charging shelf, for example, has a non-slip mat and a slight lip, but it has never been enough to stop phones flying across the cabin if you corner a bit enthusiastically. And given that's the point of the XPower model...

Driving it

As the visual updates are so meagre, the real draw of the XPower is the powertrain lurking beneath the skin. Normally, the MG 4 EV Long Range would get a 64kWh battery that feeds a rear-mounted 150kW electric motor, but the XPower ups the rear motor's power to 170kW and adds another 150kW electric motor at the front of the car, giving the family hatchback a total of 435hp and 600Nm of torque. You get all-wheel drive, too, and the combination of power and traction is enough to get from 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds - the sort of time that makes Porsche 911s sit up and take notice.

The performance is unquestionably startling - the XPower shoots off the line as though it has been booted up the backside, particularly using the launch control system that's available in Sport mode - but even in the less aggressive settings it's still mighty quick. Opting for the Sport mode simply appears to sharpen the response, but overtaking is ludicrously easy and safe no matter what mode the car is in. Unsuspecting passengers will simply find their heads snapped back against the head restraint and any traffic will rapidly become a distant speck in the mirrors.

Speed is doubtless the XPower's party piece, but when the novelty wears off, owners will still be able to exploit almost all the same battery capabilities as conventional MG4 EV buyers. Admittedly, it doesn't quite have the range of the existing Long Range models, but the clever all-wheel-drive system that shuts off the front motor when it isn't needed has ensured the gap isn't too much of a chasm. In fact, with the XPower managing 385km to a charge on the official economy test, the difference is only around 50km. If you can achieve 385km, though, you're doing better than us. Staying away from that addictive acceleration is hard.

But the MG has more going for it than just straight-line speed, thanks in no small part to the XPower's suspension set-up. The XPower rides on a more aggressively tuned suspension set-up than the standard car, yet it's almost as comfortable. MG admits that's deliberate - the company wants the car to feel accessible and pliant - but it is supposed to feel sportier than the normal car, both in the way it rides and rolls. The XPower doesn't feel heavy in the way some EVs can, and the car glides along motorways remarkably smoothly, even if it does have slightly more edge than the stock MG 4 around town. That also means there's a reduction in body movement, with the car's suspension staying on top no matter whether the car's being thrown through a corner or hefted over a bump.

Somehow, though, the transition from eco-friendly family car to hot hatchback has taken a little bit of edge away from the MG4's handling. Of course, the XPower is doubtless faster around a race track - all those modifications will allow you to carry more speed through corners - but it doesn't feel quite as playful as the purely rear-wheel-drive versions of the MG. Whereas the standard car allows some tail-lead slides in the right environment, the XPower's on-board electrics just panic and offer yards of understeer, which is less enjoyable. That's only a real consideration for keen drivers - everyone else will just enjoy the extra body control - but it has detracted from the sense of fun somewhat.

But then MG never intended the XPower to be the last word in driving pleasure. The company's engineers admit they could have gone a little further to reduce roll and improve agility, making the XPower faster in the corners, but the brand decided not to. The XPower was always meant to be a subtle all-rounder, rather than an out-and-out hot hatchback. Which might also go some way to explaining why the XPower still suffers from slightly vague steering around the straight-ahead position.

What you get for your money

MG hasn't yet announced how much the XPower will cost in Ireland, but we can rest assured it'll be more expensive than the standard car, which comes in at almost €31,000. We'll update this section when we know more.


When all is said and done, the MG 4 XPower is still an MG 4, and that means it's comfortable, pleasant to drive and well priced. But while the XPower differentiates itself from the standard 4 EV with its power and straight-line performance, it's a bit of a one-trick pony. All that traction means it's less fun in the corners, even if the stopwatch might suggest it's more effective, and it pays for that performance with small reductions in ride quality and range, not to mention an increase in price.

In short, by trying to offer something for everyone, the XPower version of the MG 4 EV falls a little flat. For the majority of customers, the money would be better spent on the new Extended Range car, which covers well over 500km on a charge and still gets from 0-100km/h in about six seconds. You don't need to go any faster than that.


Tech Specs

Model testedMG4 XPower
Powertrainelectric - two electric motors (170kW rear, 150kW front), lithium-ion battery pack of 64kWh energy capacity
Transmissionautomatic gearbox - single-speed, all-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door, five-seat hatchback
CO2 emissions0g/km
Irish motor tax€120
Electric range385km
Max charging capacity150kW DC
Energy consumption19.0kWh/100km
Charging port typeCCS Combo
Top speed200km/h
0-100km/h3.8 seconds
Max power435hp
Max torque600Nm
Boot space363 litres all seats in use, 1,165 litres rear seats folded
Rivals to the MG 4