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41 years of the SD1
 
 
 
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Car comparison by Dave Puzey, SD1 Club Vice Chairman.
Vitesse vs ZT260
Vitesse vs ZT260

by Dave Puzey

 


 

 

 

Some time ago we published a comparison of the MG ZT260 spec with the Rover Vitesse. The press have been calling the ZT260 the successor to the ‘legendary Vitesse’, and on paper it is a close call, fuel consumption apart! But what are they really like. Recently I got the chance to find out.

I have always quite liked the style of the MG ZT, even the ‘ZT190 front wheel drive’, for it is a car with presence and does stand out from its rivals. Well on first sight the ZT260 looks exactly the same as the 190, possibly not a good thing. Look at the Triumph TR8, they look exactly the same at the smaller 2lt TR7’s, but the noise made a difference!

Side by side the MG towered over the Vitesse, and this is the one big difference I found. You ‘sit’ in a Vitesse and other SD1’s, low down, where as in the ZT and other modern cars you feel like you are sitting ‘on’ them. Initial impression of the ZT interior was that it was quite nice, no wood though. Lots of toys, and a bit cheap and very dark! The Vitesse is nice and light inside with its two-tone grey trim.

Next job was to get comfortable, how do you move these seats? No electrics here, and very difficult to sort out as it seemed to raise the seat as you go forward. Anyway time to fire up, it makes a lovely subdued V8 noise, obviously it must meet current drive by noise regulations, which thankfully my Vitesse does not! Engaging reverse bought the obligatory bleep from the parking aids, how I wish they could be fitted to SD1’s! Now to go forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accelerating reasonably hard, the ZT gathered speed quite quickly, and without fuss, probably about as quick as a Vitesse, it is a lot heavier though. Then came the interesting bit, trying to accelerate out of a corner; The traction control cut in at the first opportunity, meaning I had to lift off and start again! Now we all know how difficult a 77mm gearbox can be to change gear, particularly when cold, but trying to find 3rd on the ZT’s Tremec 5 speed box was unbelievably slow and awkward, thankfully with plenty of torque you need not change gear too often!

Performance was brisk, but not stunning. A Vitesse would keep up without any problems. Apart from the traction control, the ZT went round corners reasonably well, but how did it stop?

The other area the ZT beat the Vitesse was in the level and quality of sound inside the car, but that was to be expected with a modern design, and a new car, compared to a 30 year old design! So overall the ZT is a nice car with plenty of character, if a little thirsty, but better than a Vitesse. Well I will stick with my Vitesse thank you very much.

A big thank you to Keith Adams for letting me try the ZT260, he was writing a comparison article for Total MG magazine at the time, and no, my Vitesse is still not for sale! Dave.
Spec comparison ...
Rover SD1 Club 2005
 
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