Awakened by the outburst of criticism that greeted their closing of the MG factory, British Leyand revived the name by adding the famous octagon to a high-performance version of the Metro
- arguably a highly unlikely donor car for performance aspirations.
The MG Metro joined the Vanden Plas version at the top of the Metro line, offering sporting characteristics rather than the luxury trim of the Vanden Plas. The 1275 cc engine's compression ratio was raised from 9.4 to 10.5:1 and larger diameter valves follow a different timing from those in the standard unit.
An SU carburetor was fitted, and the unit developed 54 kW (73 hp) at 6000 rpm, an increase of 12 hp and 750 rpm over the original. Torque was similarly increased, from 93 Nm (68.7 Ibft) at 3200 rpm to 99 Nm (72.9 Ib-ft) at 4000 rpm.
The changes between the MG engine and the standard 1.3 were relatively minor, with modified cylinder head and altered cam profile being the major contributors to a modest increase in BHP.
Soon afterwards, the MG Metro Turbo variant was released with a quoted bhp of 93, 0-60 mph in 8.9 seconds, and top speed of 115 mph (185 km/h). This model had a great many modifications over the normally aspirated MG model. Aside from the turbocharger and exhaust system itself, and what was (at the time) a relatively sophisticated boost delivery and control system, the MG Turbo variant incorporated stiffer suspension (purportedly with engineering input from Lotus), including a rear anti-rollbar plus uprated crankshaft and uprated gearbox.
Hybrid Hydragas Suspension
The hybrid Hydragas suspension, with dampers alone at the front and auxiliary springs at the rear, was unchanged to handle the MG's increased performance, but wider 155170 SR 12 tires on attractive alloy rims were fitted as standard. There was a four-speed gearbox, and the car achieved a top speed of 163 km/h (101 .3 mph) with a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) time of 12 sec.
The MG Metro had an individualized exterior treatment that featured a black grille bearing the MG name, side stripes, and a spoiler on the rear window rather reminiscent of the original Golf GTI
. Inside the car, trim received a great deal of attention with form-fitting sports seats trimmed in two-tone tweed, a three-spoke leather-rimmed steering wheel, a fascia with rev counter and digital clock, tinted windows, and a number of other refinements.
As if to emphasize that the MG name was not dead, British Leyland made lavish use of the MG badge in the car's decoration, with no less than 13 octagons being scattered around the car inside and out. Both MG variants were given a "sporty" interior with red seat belts, red carpets and a sports-style steering wheel. The later MG variants were emblazoned with the MG logo both inside and out, which only served to fuel claims of badge engineering from some of the more steadfast MG enthusiasts. Others believed that this sentiment was unfounded, particularly in the case of the turbo variant, due to the undeniably increased performance and handling when compared to the non-MG models. Indeed, at the time of its release, the MG Metro was the first in a succession of modern cars which heralded a spirited return of the MG marque after several years' absence of new MGs.
- 1982–1989 - 1275 cc A-Series I4, 73 hp (54 kW) at 6000 rpm and 73 ft·lbf (99 Nm) @ 4000 rpm
MG Metro Turbo
- 1983–1989 - 1275 cc A-Series turbo I4, 94 hp (69 kW) at 6200 rpm and 85 ft·lbf (115 Nm) @ 2650 rpm