The MG Marvel R is arriving in Europe. We took the wheel…
MG is a Chinese brand that can launch the right product at the right time, as today the brand is bringing out a semi-premium SUV at a starting price of €40 000.
MG is one of the new players in the Belgian and, by extension, European car market. The manufacturer is of Chinese origin and bought the British brand name MG through a clever marketing policy, making the products feel more familiar (read: European) than, say, an Aiways or a Seres.
Immediately available and 25% cheaper
The fact is that the European car market is a growth market for EVs of Chinese origin, partly because of the attractive price and mainly because the new Asian brands apparently do not suffer from a chip shortage and can deliver their products immediately.
The new Marvel R is different in every way from the MG ZS EV that we have known from the brand so far. After the plug-in hybrid variant launched earlier, this is the third MG product on Belgian soil, and the manufacturer promises further models, including an all-electric estate.
The Marvel R is a large SUV with a striking body and a slightly more refined design language than what we previously saw with the ZS. Given its proportions, it offers an alternative to the Skoda Enyaq, Hyundai Ioniq 5, the VW ID.4, the Aiways U5, and even the Mustang Mach-E.
With a starting price of €40 000 for the rear-wheel-drive basic version and €50 000 for the top version with four-wheel drive, it is up to a quarter cheaper than its European competitors.
Emphasis on comfort, not dynamics
On the road, the Marvel R lives up to the original reading of an SUV, by which we mean a luxuriously finished car with a high seating position and a downright soft suspension. However, despite the powerful performance of an electric drive, the emphasis is on comfort and not on dynamics.
The steering, therefore, lacks precision, and the damping is adjusted too smoothly to counteract the body’s tendency to roll in fast corners. Dynamic behavior is not the calling of this EV, if only because of its considerable weight. It just gets you to your destination in a comfortable and tranquil way.
MG makes real progress in this area because the Marvel R’s sound insulation efficiently filters out the transmission noises that we heard in the ZS. The only drawback is the rather small boot for a car of these proportions and the high loading sill.
Like a Porsche
Technically speaking, the Marvel R is also innovative because of its special drive system with three electric motors. The rear-wheel-drive version has two electric motors controlled in phases and sends their power to the rear axle via a two-stage automatic transmission. Porsche was the first manufacturer to provide a variable transmission on a fully electric model (the Taycan).
The more expensive four-wheel-drive version gets an extra electric motor in the front, where the rear-wheel-drive version is fitted with a frunk, in which you can store the charging cables.
With a 70 kWh battery, the manufacturer promises a driving range of 400 km, and that seems realistic because, during this first drive, energy consumption remained relatively low. Moreover, the electric motor spun at around 6 000 rpm at highway speed, where the competition (without gears) runs at over 10 000 rpm.
Until now, it’s an open question if more manufacturers will soon add a gearbox to their electric models. However, some suppliers are also developing them and proposing them already to potential customers.
The standard heat pump will keep energy consumption reasonable, especially in winter. Charging is done on a wall box with a capacity of 11 kW in case of a three-phase connection. A DC fast charger would enable a charging capacity of up to 92 kW.