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It's fast, furious and it's made in Brum.

THE design guru behind one of the stars of the British International Motor Show has given a massive boost to the Birmingham event.

Peter Stevens, director of product and design at MG Rover, explained why the company had decided to launch its fire-breathing XPower SV at the show.

He said: 'I'd rather do it here than anywhere else.

'Obviously we're based in the local area, so it makes sense for us to exhibit our new products here first.

'But I enjoy being in Birmingham because it means we're giving something back to our staff and our loyal customer base who visit the Motor Show.

'It also gives us the chance to show off our latest cars, such as the XPower SV.

'This model shows MG is fit and well. We are giving people a taste of the future not only with the SV but also by displaying the Rover Tourer Concept Vehicle.

'Other manufacturers have embraced the retro look, but we don't believe that is a basis for the future,' said Mr Stevens, previously with McLaren, Lamborghini and Lotus.

The XPower SV - which stands for Sport Veloce - is MG Rover's most incredible coupe ever with outrageous styling, including an enormous rear wing, huge air vents and twin-chromed exhaust tailpipes.

There is also a roll cage in every model.

MG Rover developed the car after buying the Italian Mangusta sports car platform, owned by the American Qvale Automotive group, in June 2001.

Following development of the original X80 concept, which was given a lukewarm reception at the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show, the new MG has been radically evolved. It is lighter and has increased levels of power.

The entry-level car has 325bhp, powering the car from 0-60mph in less than five seconds and a top speed of 170mph, while flagship versions will boast an astonishing 965bhp.

So extreme is the performance that all models will be marketed under the MG Sport & Racing XPower brand.

Targeted at the premier driving enthusiast, the new MG XPower SV will become the icon of the MG brand with opportunity for both road and track driving.

The car wowing the crowds at the firm's NEC stand is the pounds 85,000 Club Sport spec and features a 5.0-litre V8.

Delivering 465bhp, the car is capable of breaking the 200mph barrier and can reach 60mph in 4.2 seconds.

Inside, the SV is kitted out with race seats and harnesses. The spare wheel is behind the seats.

The pounds 65,000 entry-level model will feature a leather interior.

Mr Stevens said: 'I've been working with a small team of experts and enthusiasts to ensure we produce an MG car that will deliver the ultimate in driving exhilaration.

'The MG XPower SV is a car with appeal to passionate sports car drivers who will relish its extraordinary race-track performance characteristics.

'MG is all about having fun, extending the boundaries of excitement and generating visual entertainment for a wider audience.

'The MG XPower SV delivers this objective in a forceful manner, demonstrating the immense potential for MG.'

Inspiration for the SV was taken from a number of places - including a smash Hollywood movie.

Mr Stevens revealed that everyone connected with the project was ordered to watch the The Fast and the Furious, last year's hit movie about undercover cops trying to infiltrate an LA car theft ring.

Mr Stevens said: 'The film's atmosphere, intensity and cartoon nature was what I wanted to get over with this car.'

Around 500 SVs will be built over the next four years, with the first due to go on sale in spring next year.

CAPTION(S):

INCREDIBLE STYLE... Peter Stevens with MG's XPower SV, and an original sketch of the model (above)
COPYRIGHT 2002 Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Oct 27, 2002
Words:620
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