Myth Buster MG Maestro Turbo
Debunking the most common old wives’ tales
1 IT WAS A VW GOLF GTI RIVAL
The Maestro’s image and background was never going to endear itself to the 1980s yuppie generation, which worshipped the Golf GTI’s pace, image and quality. Make no mistake, though – it was a very rapid car, hitting 0-60mph in 6.7sec on its way to a 132mph top speed. The drivetrain was very similar to the heavier Montego Turbo’s, but lost much of that car’s alarming tendency towards torquesteer. It was good fun to drive and handled well, but lacked much of the Golf GTI’s subtle sophistication and innate build quality.
2 IT WAS THE LAST NEW CAR FROM AUSTIN ROVER
Correct. The company transformed itself into the more upmarket-sounding Rover Group months after the MG Maestro Turbo took its bow at the 1988 British Motor Show. But this car wasn’t down to Austin Rover alone. Tickford designed and fitted the MG’s none-too-subtle five-piece body kit at its Coventry plant, and added other touches such as Lucas driving lights and bodyside graphics, for the strictly limited edition run of 505 examples. Red was the most popular colour choice for the £13,529 car.
3 IT WAS THE ONLY TURBOCHARGED MAESTRO
Attention within the company switched away from the Maestro after the MG Turbo edition was launched, and that looked like the end for the controversial five-door hatchback. However, a new model was introduced in 1992 with a 2-litre Rover/Perkins Prima turbodiesel, offering 81bhp of mid-range boosted power in a bargain-priced utilitarian package. It was noisy, but economical and – thanks to its turbocharger – could deliver a surprisingly swift turn of speed.
MG MAESTRO TURBO
Aggressive bodykit and external tweaks came courtesy of Tickford.