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MG remains closely associated with fun, affordable roadsters like the B and the Midget, but it hasn’t made a convertible in years. The firm released sketches of an electric, two-seater concept named Cyberster which would fast-track its re-entry into the droptop segment if it receives the green light for production.
The design study’s name is enigmatic. Is it a counterpart to the opinion-cleaving Tesla Cybertruck, or is it a tribute to the cyber cafes that dotted major cities in the early 2000s? Our guess is as good as yours. What’s certain is that stylists resisted the urge to draw a heritage-laced, retro-styled model and instead penned a modern-looking convertible characterized by a long, plunging front end with thin strips of LEDs that form a pair of oval headlights. The rear end is short, sharp, and its LEDs are shaped like the Union Jack flag, a styling cue pilfered from Mini.
With these proportions, we wouldn’t be surprised to learn there’s a turbocharged four-cylinder under the hood, but the blue and purple lightning bolts surrounding the roadster emphasize the fact that it’s electric. Technical specifications have not been announced yet. We’re curious to know how MG plans to distribute weight. It could make the model front-biased, like the B and the Midget, or it could give it a near-perfect 50/50 weight distribution like the mid-engined TF — the last mass-produced convertible it built — produced between 2002 and 2011.
Nothing about the Cyberster is old-school. British magazine Autocar learned the concept packs 5G connectivity and is equipped with Level 3 autonomous technology. We haven’t seen its interior yet, but we assume those hoping to find a group of analog gauges and real wood trim on the dashboard will be severely disappointed.
MG will answer the many questions hovering around the Cyberster concept when it unveils the model in the coming weeks. That’s also when we’ll learn if it’s purely a styling exercise, or if it announces the brand’s long-awaited return to the convertible segment. The odds of seeing it in the United States are low, however, even if it ends up in showrooms elsewhere around the world. MG is now part of SAIC, an automaker owned by the Chinese government, and none of the models it currently sells — including, oddly, a badge-engineered body-on-frame pickup created primarily for the Thai market — are designed with American roads in mind. There’s little reason to believe it would go through the trouble of federalizing a low-volume roadster.
If you’re experiencing déjà vu, it’s likely because the company floated plans to release a born-again sports cars on several occasions during the 2010s. It unveiled an electric four-seater coupe named E-Motion at the 2017 edition of the Shanghai auto show, and executives briefly considered producing the concept in limited numbers but it remained on the drawing board. The following year, its head designer confirmed a roadster aimed directly at the Mazda MX-5 Miata was in the pipeline. He described it as “an MG B- and MG A-type car.”