It’s never easy realizing that you’re no longer the best at what you do – perhaps you’ve never even been there – and you have to recycle yourself into something new to pay the bills. Maybe something you’d really not rather do. Such was the situation with MG. Used to building sports cars, it found itself in a situation where it had to put its famous, respectable badge on a small, three door family hatchback. We all do what we have to. Thus was the 1983 MG Metro Turbo born. In all honesty, the turbo version of the Metro was a respectable sports car, and performed significantly better than the MGB, but it really didn’t look the part. With guidance from Lotus, which offered advice in the area of the engine as well as the suspension, the MG Metro Turbo turned out to be quite the hot little car, and had even greater potential when tuned for racing.
The MG Metro Turbo was fitted with a modern, turbocharged, race-tuned 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine with an overhead camshaft, that produced 93 horsepower. While that doesn’t seem like a lot, look at the car. It was a total lightweight – in the good sense of the word! It could accelerate to 60 mph in 9.4 seconds, and reach a top speed of 112 miles per hour. Its principal design flaw was the fact that it only had a four-speed manual transmission, which meant it had difficulty being taken seriously in a head to head comparison with other hot hatches.
Besides that, the MG Metro Turbo suffered from the usual problems inherent with British automobiles at that time: it was shoddily assembled and thus had massive reliability problems, compounded by the fact that it rusted incredibly fast.