Introduced in 2001, the ZR was an ambitious attempt to reconnect with MG’s illustrious racing past. It was based on the facelifted Rover 25 (née 200-Series) and primarily aimed at younger drivers who had grown up lusting after hot hatches in the 1980s.
Sold as both a three-door and a five-door hatchback, the ZR shared the same body as the 25 but it came equipped with a full set of aerodynamic body upgrades that included side skirts and a roof-mounted spoiler. Eye-catching paint colors, a body-colored mesh grille and alloy rims gave the car a tasteful race-bred look that greatly differentiated it from the comfort-oriented 25.
ZR buyers could choose from a number of K-Series four-cylinder engines that made between 102 and 159 horsepower. MG sensed the ever-increasing importance of turbodiesel and offered the ZR with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder L-Series oil-burner that could be ordered with either 99 or 113 horsepower.
Priced at €13,990 in 2003, the ZR went on to become the best-selling MG Rover product. It was given a thorough facelift in 2004 but it was phased out a year later when MG Rover collapsed.
Will MG’s 21st century hot hatch be sought-after by collectors when it is old enough to be considered a vintage car?