Rumours of a Rover 25 based Roewe 250 proved incorrect when Roewe showed
the N1 concept in
2009. The concept smacked of a slightly disguised production car in much the
same way the W2 previewed the 550. Although overshadowed by the MG6 which also
debuted at the 2009 Shanghai Motor Show, the car still managed to attract
attention with its clean modern styling and high tech promises. Again, like the
550, itís clear Roewe is aiming at a younger market with high tech design and
features, probably with more success than Rover managed in its later years. In
the press internationally the car continued to be overshadowed by the hype
around the MG6, but spyshots still emerged from many soruces, as well as a very
accurate rendering, meaning the car was revealed well ahead of its official
By the first half of 2010 the Roewe 350 was in production and at its launch it did manage to attract some unusual attention internationally, unusual in the fact that it came from technology blogs. The N1 concepts promise of integrating with a modern 3G lifestyle (being connected to decent speed mobile internet to you and I) were made good by including Googleís Android in the car. For those who donít know; Google Android is a mobile operating system, primarily for phones, that has been busy over the last few years rivalling the seemingly unstoppable iPhone. It's use in a car brings the possibility of features such such as streetview based sat-nav, voice activated calling and live traffic. In the 350 itís marketed as bringing high end features normally found on luxury cars to a more affordable vehicle. The software allows the driver to use navigation avoiding traffic with live traffic updates over the air, as well as find businessís and places with live up to date information on them (such as current offers available at businessís for example). You can also browse the internet from the car, a feature only just filtering down to non premium vehicles in Europe.
wasnít left to the in car entertainment either, the car received a brand new
engine, designed by ex-powertrain engineers
in the UK. The 1.5 Variable Valve Timing petrol engine kicks out 108 bhp, while
it only meets Euro 4 there is expected to be a more advanced 1.5 Turbo to
follow, as well as a 1.3. The rest of the MG-Roewe range so far (bar the MG3's)
has featured the sophisticated Z-Axle rear suspension system, the 350 receives
a more old-school torsion beam set up, with MacPhearson struts up front , a
setup not related to that of the Rover 25 based MG3 SW. This keeps costs down
allowing Roewe to sell their high tech small car for £9,000 (or £8,500 sans
Android trickery). Roewe havenít cut costs on safety for that money either
C-NCAP gave it a full 5 star rating. This new platform is to form the basis of
an MG5 in much the same way as the 550 spawned the MG6. The suspension set up
is also shared with the MG3.
Unfortunately a Autocar road test revealed that the engine and chassis set up arenít too hot by European standards, and the car is unlikely to be sold here. Back in China the car received plenty of praise, although not keen on the body roll, and the 1.5ís lack of low down power either, the clever ICE system seems to count a great deal toward the car. Clearly this a car aimed at people who given the choice between high end in car technology and driving ability would go for the former every time. Given the fact that it has been MG-Roewe's top seller (constantly well within the top 100 sellers in China as-well), it seems Roewe made the right choice.
In mid 2011 the car received a very mild exterior facelift to bolster itís sales, however the car still only has the 1.5 litre naturally aspirated engine with a choice of manual or automatic transmissions. The 1.5 Turbo with dual clutch transmission is now rumoured for early 2014.