The MGF was launched at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show. The MGF endured with relatively few minor interior changes for six years and 77,212 vehicles (excluding pre-production vehicles) were made - before the F's first truly comprehensive face lift in 2002 to become the hugely successful TF, racking up sales of 41,635 prior to MG Rover's demise in April, 2005. There have been a number of special editions, new model variants and detail alterations- and these are summarised below:
[/FONT] The Original MGF: 1.8i and VVC (1995-1999; VIN 000251-511058). Launched in 1995 as two models- the 1.8i and VVC, which possessed power outputs of 118 bhp and 143 bhp respectively. Standard equipment levels were good for the class of car: remote central & dead locking; passive arming immobiliser and remote activated perimetric and volumetric alarm (earning, in 1997, Thatcham Category 2 security status); electric windows and heated door mirrors. The VVC added further to this standard spec to include electrically assisted power steering (EPAS- which was to become standard on the 1.8i in 1998), ABS and half leather interior trim.
[/FONT]Legend has it this car is based upon the tweaks developed by Gerry McGovern for his own Tahiti blue car... The Abingdon LE (spring, 1998) was the first MGF special, limited-run edition, based upon both the 1.8i and VVC. The car's more luxurious specification included full ('Walnut' beige) leather upholstery, beige soft top and unique paint colour, Brooklands Green (a kind of dark, non-metallic British Racing Green). Other cosmetic extras include an interior and exterior chrome pack- chrome ashtray and lighter, chrome exterior door handles and stainless steel grilles. Also standard, and first seen on this car, were the 6 spoke 'Abingdon style' 16" wheels, fitted with Goodyear F1 (215/40 R16) tyres. The 16" wheels were soon to be found on the options list for all MGFs and have proven an extremely popular design!
[/FONT] The 75 LE (March, 1999) was launched as a celebration model to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the MG car company (1924-1999). The specification of this model mirrored in many ways the earlier Abingdon LE with unique colours (Mulberry red and solid black) with leather and the fabric hood in a contrasting colour (black on red cars, red on black cars). Chrome interior and exterior highlights were as per Abingdon LE. Interestingly silver was a colour option offered in some markets (but not the UK). The 75 LE came with Multispoke design 16" wheels, and with either 1.8i or VVC engine options.
Mk2 / MY2000 MGF (1999-2002; VIN 511059-535576). Autumn of 1999 saw the launch of the improved 'Model Year (MY) 2000' MGF models, that are also known amongst MG enthusiasts as the 'Mk2'. The cars incorporated a number of detail improvements aimed at eliminating some of the earlier car's weaknesses, including re-specified EPAS, double skinned petrol tank and detail changes to the cylinder head location and gasket design. Cosmetic and specification changes were few- what there were was aimed at improving the ambience of the cabin- with the only external changes being the painting of the windscreen surround in body colour where previously it was painted black, and the change of colour of the front indicator units from orange to smoked-clear lenses. Thus the cars received new seats designed to improve comfort and lateral support; the door trims now included an alloy insert (or wood as an option), the centre console was redesigned with an alloy theme incorporated (such as the gear lever surround) and improved switch gear. The heater controls were now silver painted. Controversially, the instrument dials lost their 'MG' logos, and the cream faces changed for silver items with a new italic type face. Compensation arrived in the form of an improved six-speaker stereo, with a pair of speakers behind the occupants' heads.VVC models retained their improved specification over 1.8i models. Where the 1.8i received new 8-spoke 'Minilite-style' wheels, the VVC received a new 16" 6-square spoke design. The interior is half leather, and the VVC, unlike the MPi, has ABS fitted as standard.
[/FONT] MGF Steptronic (2000-2002). Introduced a little after the MY2000 models, the Steptronic cars received a technically advanced continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). This autobox includes a 'F1 paddle-shift' gear selection mode, that makes the gearbox operate as a six-speed sequential gear box. The gears can be selected either by the gear lever (push or pull) or the selector buttons on the steering wheel (pictured opposite). Unfortunately, this gearbox is only available with the 1.8i engine, as the gearbox has an input speed limit that is inadequate for the engine speeds that the VVC engine is capable of. Performance figures are broadly lower than the standard manual 1.8i (although it is argued that this car is at least as fast in the real world), whilst trim specs are close to VVC levels.
[/FONT] The Wedgwood SE (July, 2000) is the first limited edition based upon the MY2000 MGF. Following the successful formula struck by earlier limited editions, the car comes in a unique-for-MG colour, Wedgwood blue, and its improved standard specification includes leather seats, CD player, chrome interior and exterior accessories and 16" Multispoke wheels. This particular SE also possesses a rear deck spoiler- the first MGF to come so-equipped with it as standard.
[/FONT] The Trophy 160(May, 2001)- so named because the re-tuning of the engine resulted in its VVC engine producing 160 PS (158 bhp). The spec includes lowered and stiffer suspension, AP racing 'MG' branded red coloured 4 pot brake callipers acting on significantly larger front brake discs, a new aerodynamic package consisting of front splitter and rear deck spoiler and that aforementioned engine.Other features include bold new colours- Trophy Yellow and Trophy Blue, a new style of 16" wheels and re-styled front head lamps. The interior has body coloured centre console and door trim inserts, plus coloured high-lights on the seats.
The MGF 1.6i (May, 2001) was launched somewhat quietly at the same time as the Trophy 160. Designed to compete at the other, cheaper end of the roadster market. Compared to the 1.8i, the car is de-spec'ed: no central locking, no volumetric alarm, no radio, no power adjustable mirrors, no fancy trim inlays for the doors.
[/FONT] The MGF Freestyle (Autumn, 2001) was the last MGF before its radically face lifted replacement the TF arrived in February 2002. Equipped with the cosmetic up grades already found on the MGF Trophy 160, the Freestyle thus came fitted with a Trophy-style front bib splitter and rear deck spoiler. The car also rides on 16" wheels, although this time using the familiar 'Multispoke' wheels featured on previous special edition MGFs. The Freestyle does without tuning upgrades found on the Trophy 160 or that car's superlative brakes, and as such is based upon the standard model 1.8i and VVC.
[/FONT]And now, the MG TF! (February, 2002 - April, 2005; VIN 000101-641764) This car includes a number of engineering changes. These include a new suspension system (the car is now sprung by coil-over damper units with a brand new multi-link rear) extensive body strengthening, and a new faster 2.8 turn lock to lock steering rack to name but three. The interior style is practically identical to the earlier MY2000 model,
[/FONT]Sprint SE (July, 2002), based upon the TF 135 and 160 variants. The sprint SE had a specification trim consisting of Gunsmoke Alcantara and black leather seats, Smokestone fascia and door panels, a coloured hood, chrome pack and front fog lights. On TF 135 models, Sports Pack 2 (ABS, uprated 304mm front disc brakes and callipers and 16" eleven-spoke alloy wheels – already standard on the TF 160) was specified as standard equipment. Only 600 MG TF Sprint models were said to have been produced in the five colour available combinations: Solar Red, XPower Grey, Starlight Silver, Le Mans Green and Trophy Blue.
[/FONT]Cool Blue SE (March, 2003), based upon the TF 115 and 135 variants. The Cool Blue SE is distinguished by its blue hood and unique Alcantara blue seats. All models feature a Momo leather/alloy gear knob, leather steering wheel, wind stop and ash grey fascia. The 'Cool Blue' SE features six-spoke "Abingdon" 16" alloy wheels, found on so many previous MGF special editions, along with standard fit chrome grille pack and front fog lamps. This SE is available in a choice of three exterior colours: Trophy Blue pearlescent, Starlight Silver or Anthracite metallic.
[/FONT]SunStorm LE (October, 2003), based upon the TF
115, 135 and 160 variants. Limited production run of 500. Offered in three body colour options - Raven Black, Nightfire Red and Starlight Silver. The standard-fit body-coloured hardtop is complemented by a Smokestone coloured interior and Gunsmoke Alcantara/ black leather seats, leather steering wheel, 'Momo' leather and alloy gear knob and a single slot CD tuner. The specification includes a black hood, bright pack, 16" 11-spoke alloy wheels and MG/AP Racing disc brakes as part of standard specification sportspack 2, front fog lamps and body coloured electric door mirrors. The Sunstorm SE is available with a choice of engines with three power outputs 115, 135 or 160Ps.
80th Anniversary LE (January, 2004), was launched in celebration of the MG 80th anniversary. There were three exterior colour options: Pearl Black, Starlight Silver and Goodwood Green. All engine and transmission options were available. The silver and black anniversary models were trimmed differently from the green cars, with burgundy red hood, ash grey interior with grenadine Alcantara and black leather seats and bright-finish console, door casings, gear knob and handbrake grip.
The Goodwood Green Anniversary TF is more traditional in style, combining tan hood with matching tan interior and black Alcantara and tan leather seats. Wood effect inserts are fitted to the console, doors, gear knob and leather steering wheel. All models feature a folding windstop and CD tuner. 16" 11-spoke alloy ‘shadow chrome finish’ wheels are fitted, along with front fog lamps and bright door handles. Anniversary ‘1924 MG 2004’ logos are found on the boot lid and embroidered on the seats, which distinguishes the 80th Anniversary LE from other LE models.
Spark SE (July, 2004), based upon the 115, 135 and 160 variants; 1000 produced for the UK market. The Spark SE falls into the now familiar TF SE pattern of offering the SP2 chassis option as standard on all models (AP brakes, 11-spoke shadow-chrome 16" wheels), along with Gunsmoke and Black Alcantara MG-logo embroidered seats in an Ash Grey interior and a Charcoal Grey hood. Uniquely, this SE offered an extensive 'alloy' effect interior trim finish on the door inserts and steering wheel, along with the usual 'Bright Pack' items: chrome ashtray and handbrake button, Momo leather/alloy gear knob, bright side and front grilles and chrome exterior door handles. Additional spec items include a windstop, front fog lights and a Sony CDX-2000 CD player. The Spark SE premiered Firefrost Red as a body colour and featured a unique Sonic Blue (pictured right) along with old exterior colour stalwarts, Xpower Grey and Starlight Silver.
Vintage Racing SE (October, 2004 - France only), was launched at the October Paris motor show, 2004. Based on the TF160, this car was painted in a unique colour scheme of Dover White with French racing blue 'Cobra' style stripes - this special edition is perhaps the most visually arresting of all the TF special editions released.
Above: the numbered 'Vintage Racing' plaque mounted between the two seats. 'Vintage Racing' script also echoed below the side air intakes on each side. Clearly designed to evoke the spirit of 1960s motor racing, the car also came fitted with X-Power roll-hoops (the slanting variety), along with 'Vintage Racing' decals below the air intakes and on a numbered plaque below the seats. The specification also included all the usual SE refinements of chrome pack, shadow-chrome 11-spoke alloys and a decent MP3/radio head unit. The seats were black leather, incorporating blue Alcantara inserts, while the centre console was painted in contrasting silver (which was matched to the steering wheel and the door trim inserts). This is a very desirable car - what a shame that an equivalent special edition was not launched in the UK!
2005 Model Year Update (Feb, 2005-April, 2005; VIN 637929-641764). The MY2005 version of the TF has brought with it a range of modest, yet useful updates on the now classic theme. Those expecting a dramatic facelift in line with the concurrent MG saloon range were disappointed, but the upgrades meant :
The suspension incorporated softer springs, re-rated dampers, thicker anti-roll bars and re-specified bushes.
MY2005 Production details:
It is understood that 1878* 2005 model year MG TFs were built prior to the collapse of MG Rover Group on April 7th, 2005 (excluding29 pre-production cars) over the last quarter of 2004 and first quarter of 2005 - with a further 253 vehicles being completed following in the 2nd quarter of 2005, presumably under the supervision of Pricewaterhouse Coopers*, the administrators. The precise model composition of these vehicles (presumably a mix of 115, 135 and 160) is at this time, unknown. The VIN range of these vehicles ranges from 637929 (lowest) to 641764 (highest).
MGTF LE500 (September, 2008). The new Longbridge-built MG TF - the LE500 - the '500' signifying the number of cars in this series.
The Nanjing-built TFs had already broken cover, being shown to the Chinese and world media in March, but there remained much anticipation as to what the UK cars would look like and how the specification would change in comparison to that seen on the old MG Rover built cars. On May 29th we found out - the new car's most striking feature being a very nicely re-designed front bumper, with styling reminiscent of Gerry McGovern's original, the MGF, with its twin 'nostril' intakes on either side of the octagonal MG badge and single large intake below the number plate.
1.8 litre 135ps 'N-series' engine - this power plant is directly descended from the K-series 135ps engine found in earlier TF and F derivatives (there are no immediate plans to bring back the VVC 160ps engine at this stage).
5-speed PG1 gearbox (no CVT automatic gearbox planned at present)
MY2005 specification suspension
New black-on-silver MG badge, along with LE500 badge work inside and out (including the door sill tread plates)
Piano-black centre console and instrument binnacle
New instrument cluster, incorporating a digital temperature display (see opposite, left) and new fonts on the instrument faces themselves
Hardtop will be supplied as standard, in body colour (colour palette pictured right)
Softtop will come with a heated rear window - as per the MY2005 TFs
Unique and numbered LE500 badge work - expect to see a 75 LE style numbered badge over the centre cubby box on the production cars
2009 model year 'standard' TF135 (April, 2009). With the credit crunch threatening the collapse of many iconic international names in motoring (Crysler at the time of writing having just filed for chapter 1 bankrupcy), these have not been the best of times to relaunch the famous octagon brand into a fragile market. Perhaps this is part of the reason why MG UK have now launched the 'standard' model TF. Devoid of such fripperies such as leather seats and reversing sensors, the new model in the revised MG sports car range come in under the Â£14,000 price threshold, making this car one of the cheapest roadsters currently available on the market. For those making use of the current scrapage scheme, it could mean that you could be driving home from the showroom having spent under Â£12,000 - incredible value!