My MG TF 160

My passion for cars has finally pushed me to buy in March 2016 a small spider which was the successor of one of my favorite cars when I was a teenager, the MG F. I drive a MG TF 160 from late 2004 I got for a very good prize at a reasonable mileage.

My MG TF 160

The MG TF is a wonderful car, drawn by the well known Peter Stevens. It turns out that it is, partially due to her reputation for unreliability, a bargain in 2016.

The interior trim, with new carpets!

The interior trim, quite a 1990-style, but I like it. I bought new carpets to lift up a little the ambiance.

I could drive it for all the summer 2016 and after the thousands of kilometers I did with her, I have to say that I am very happy of this little car. The spare parts are easily available in England when you speak English fluently and they are reasonably affordable (even if the MG-Rover group is no longer existing). The only problem is to find a mechanic who knows how to work on those mid-engined cars, quite uncommon here in France. In particular, one of the trickiest operation is the bleeding of the cooling system. If it is not done correctly, the K-series engine has a reputation of easily blow the head gasket. I also bought some wrenches and tools to do by myself the easiest repairs and maintenance, since a constant attention is absolutely mandatory.

The MG TF 160 at the Moncenisio lake

My MG TF 160, close to the wonderful landscape of the Moncenisio lake.

The MG TF is a driver's car which is perfect for me: I am not a fast driver and I search my fun only at legal speed. I could leave for a 3000 km summer journey in the north of Italy without any problem. The booth is not huge, but it fits my needs. The engine is brilliant and its sound is wonderful sound even with the stock exhaust. On the other hand, the car does not filter at all the driving sensations: suspension is harsh, you quite literally have the wind in your hair and it is noisy. A driving experience more similar to the original 1960's and 1970's MG A and MG B roadsters. Quite a difference from those SUV's which are mainstream today. Therefore, driving the TF is not very comfortable on highways. The engine has enough power and torque to push the car very well at any reasonable speed you may choose, but the noise makes it difficult to drive for a lot of hours continuously (but I have a CitroŽn DS4 which is perfect for that). The TF is just perfect for some sheer fun on a windy mountain road (but always with a great deal of prudence and respecting speed limits) or gently cruising at low speed, admiring the astonishing panoramas of Dolomites, the Lugano's or the Moncenisio's lakes.

My Lancia Fulvia and MG TF 160

My Lancia Fulvia and my MG TF. Both are a classic in their rather peculiar way.

I like very much the Mazda MX5/Miata and I find the Fiat 124 Spider which is derived from that platform just awesome, but driving a mid-engine car such as the TF with no electronic controls (apart ABS) has a charm of its own. I was very happy to found a model equipped with the most powerful engine, with a very advanced variable valve timing mechanism (VVC) which allowed to obtain 160 bhp from the 1.8 liter displacement. The acceleration is very progressive and becomes aggressive after 4000 rpm up to 7000 rpm.

I think that the MG TF is not a good first car for a young person, even if the low price are attractive right now. It may be unreliable in some situations, it requires a great deal of care and love and the complete lack of electronic assistance in the drive can be dangerous for an unskilled driver, especially on wet tarmac. I have another car which is my daily and I know pretty well what a classic car is (have you seen my page about my Lancia Fulvia?). I think the TF is a future classic which is now a well kept secret.

Note written in February 2018:I have a look at announces here and there and I have the impression that the average prices are growing (at least in France) with respect to 2016, when I wrote this article. I do not know if it is a bubble or not. However, I hope that those cars are landing more often in the hands of people that cherish and that keep a good care of them, allowing to raise a little bit their value. By the way, the car works perfectly after some maintenance and I like it even more.


November 12, 2016: first version of the page

November 13, 2016: translation in italian language

February 15, 2018: translation in french, review


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