Why I'm so excited for the MG Cyberster (but wish they'd change the name)

A resurgent MG is going after Porsche and Polestar with its new electric sports car, but the name needs a rethink.

MG Cyberster
(Image credit: MG)

For years, I’d wondered why on Earth MG had a showroom in the posh bit of West London, on Piccadilly, opposite greengrocer-to-the-royals Fortnum & Mason. It felt incongruous, to say the least, and even more so when on closer inspection well-heeled passers-by would see a decade-old MG TF in the corner. Was it for sale? If so, was it some kind of delivery-mileage time-warp that had somehow become valuable?

Who knows. But what I now realise is that MG’s prime W1 real estate is starting to make sense. The British brand has been in Chinese ownership since 2005, first by Nanjing Automobile, which was then purchased by SAIC Motor, a Chinese State-owned automotive giant selling millions of cars a year. Lotus, another British brand now owned by the Chinese, has a similarly plush new showroom just a few doors down Piccaddily, while China’s BYD, the world’s largest EV maker, is a few minutes’ walk away, rubbing shoulders with Bentley and Ferrari down on Berkeley Square.

The second reason MG’s Piccadilly dealer makes sense is its new electric sports car, called the Cyberster. I’ll come back to the name later, but for now this thing needs celebrating.

When it was revealed in 2023 it seemingly came from absolutely nowhere, since MG’s recent return to form had been built solely on selling affordable EVs beloved by Uber drivers trading in their Priuses. The MG5 estate is a very affordable way of ferrying suitcases to Heathrow and the MG4 adds a funky design and splash of colour to the school run. You’ve probably seen a few painted a shade of orange straight out of Lamborghini’s configurator. As an aside, did you know MG now sells nine different models in the UK? Nine.

MG Cyberster

(Image credit: MG)

But every car company needs a flagship, so why not stick the MG badge on a two-seat convertible sports car with vertically-hinged doors (hello again, Lambo) and enough performance to rival the Germans? That’s exactly what the Cyberster is, and we’re told deliveries will begin in the UK this summer.

Any rivals? No, not really. Porsche’s electric Boxster is still wearing camouflage somewhere in the Arctic and isn’t due on sale until 2025, while the gorgeous Polestar 6 won’t land until 2026 at the earliest. So if you want a convertible electric sports car right now, MG is your only option. Who saw that coming?

It’s a pretty thing, the Cyberster. Nothing is carried over from MG’s past, but that’s okay because this car is much larger than the dear old MG F. It’s also much, much more powerful. The dual-motor, all-wheel-drive variant produces over 500 horsepower and MG says it’ll crack 62 mph in 3.2 seconds, just like a McLaren F1. WLTP range from the 77 kWh battery is a claimed 277 miles, while a single-motor, rear-drive version should go even further, albeit with less power (335 bhp) and a 0-62 mph time of around five seconds. Still quick then, and most definitely not an electric rival to the Mazda MX-5. MG has its sights set on far bigger targets, like Porsche.

The Cyberster will likely be priced like a Porsche too, with even the single-motor version expected to cost around £60,000.

MG Cyberster

(Image credit: MG)

The dramatic doors of the Cyberster open and close electronically, and inside the driver is presented with four (count ‘em, four) digital displays. Three sit behind the steering wheel, while another is fitted to the centre console and handles the climate control.

Early reviews claim it drives as well as it looks, despite weighing a full two tonnes with a driver and passenger onboard. Buyers can thank Marco Fainello for that, the Italian who before tuning the Cyberster’s setup was head of vehicle dynamics for Ferrari's F1 team during Michael Schumacher’s glory years. After that he transferred to Maranello’s road car division, where he was head of performance development and created the witchcraft that is Ferrari's Side Slip Control system.

What's in a name?

Safe to say, I’m very excited about the MG Cyberster...but I wish they’d change the name.

I at first thought it was Cybster, which drops a syllable and, in my opinion at least, is easier to say. But no, the Cyber prefix is what MG went for. Like the Tesla Cybertruck, which will surely go down as the biggest automotive folly since the similarly steel-clad DeLorean DMC-12.

It’s a name that also, rather unfortunately, reminds me of how Donald Trump refers to cybersecurity as “the cyber”, and gamers will recall how the much-hyped Cyberpunk 2077 was so comprehensively broken at launch that buyers were offered a refund.

MG Cyberster

(Image credit: MG)

MG’s past is unfortunately full of literal, unexciting names like MGA, MGB, MGC and so on. A rekindling of the MG Midget isn’t going to work in 2024, and the Cyberster promises to be so much more than the MG F that a revival of the brand’s most recent sports car isn't right either.

I digress. Despite the name I can’t wait to see what the MG Cyberster is like to drive, and what’s next for the company as a whole – a company that’ll be celebrated by the ‘Central Feature’ at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Hopefully, 2024 will mark a milestone centenary for a brand in the midst of a successful revival.

Alistair Charlton

Alistair is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. He has bylines on esteemed sites such as the BBC, Forbes, TechRadar, and of best of all, T3, where he covers topics ranging from classic cars and men's lifestyle, to smart home technology, phones, electric cars, autonomy, Swiss watches, and much more besides. He is an experienced journalist, writing news, features, interviews and product reviews. If that didn't make him busy enough, he is also the co-host of the AutoChat podcast.