With the Marvel R, the Chinese are launching an electric SUV that is a real competitor to established quality brands. The Marvel makers don't want to copy the German partners - but are happy about some things "Made in Germany".
In the new world of the electric car industry, there are three powerhouses on three different continents: The Mecca of battery cells is in the Far East, IT nerds are working on cool apps and hot software in California – and above all, good old Germany is leading the way in production and processing.
MG wants to change
No product from one of the three regions around the world has really inspired the whole world. With one, the software gets stuck, with the other, the batteries go limp all too quickly, with the third, gap dimensions or plastic colors don't stand up to higher demands. Matt Lei would like to change that: “With electric cars, no manufacturer has a big lead over the other, especially on the drive side; but we can do some things better than others.” And with these words, the fingers of the boss of MG Motors Europe pat the bonnet of his latest product: The Marvel R is supposed to secure the breakthrough on the world market.
The subsidiary of the Chinese car giant SAIC already celebrated a good debut a few months ago with its first purely electric car for the continental European market: The unspectacularly designed ZS received favorable reviews with solid performance, good crash test ratings and decent workmanship. And with a starting price of around 30.000 euros, the properly equipped compact SUV can hope for cost-conscious customers. Rather not to the classic premium trailers or Tesla fans.
The 4,67 meter long Marvel looks much more attractive for customers from these circles. It starts with the extendable door handles that are flush with the body. Already has a coolness factor - which continues as you enter the spacious interior. The non-slip steering wheel is the only reminder of the blissful days of the classic British roadster brand. The rest of the interior shows that no copy shop of established manufacturers was at work here.
The ventilated and heated seats - MG likes to refer to Italian Alcantara and German nappa leather - seem suitable for long journeys; all switches, plastic surfaces and levers feel like one is used to from the products from the premium shelf of the Volkswagen Group. SAIC has been manufacturing vehicles together with them “for a long time, even in China,” as Lei emphasizes. But nothing seems copied, even if MG likes to point out to Chinese Marvel buyers that the all-aluminum chassis was developed and coordinated “together with a German luxury car brand”.
Chic and fast infotainment
The huge 19,4-inch monitor, which sits slightly at an angle under the center console, seems more like an interpretation of the Tesla style. A real eye-catcher, which, unlike in the ZS, is not equipped with simple graphics. The touchscreen is smartly animated and reacts quickly to every pressure.
Also available as a power pack
The Marvel R is not yet ready for road testing. In the top version for around 50.000 euros, the Marvel will be powered by three electric motors when it is launched in autumn. With permanent four-wheel drive and a maximum output of 288 hp, the 4,9 km/h mark is reached in 100 seconds. It is only locked off at a speed of 200. The rear-wheel drive version with two electric motors and 180 hp also achieves this. Both Marvel variants have a 70-kWh lithium-ion battery with quick-charging capability, and the MG can also transfer its juice to external devices.
The Chinese do not achieve any peak values in terms of range. A maximum of 402 kilometers is also quite decent, especially since the battery can be largely recharged in three quarters of an hour. And with a maximum trailer load of 750 kilograms and 357 to a maximum of around 1.400 liters of luggage space, the Marvel is on par with the similarly long Jaguar iPace. However, in a significantly different price range: The list prices of the MG between 40.000 and 50.000 euros are several 10.000 euros below those of the Jaguar, and the similarly large VW ID.4 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 are more than 10.000 euros away, because the Chinese are already in the Basic with panoramic roof, electric tailgate or heat pump drives up.
However, Matt Lei is not yet allowed to offer the really cool arguments of the brave new car world to European Marvel prospects: In China, where the car is offered under the "Roewe" brand, the Marvel is already on the road autonomously at Level 3 - well, without the driver having to keep their hands on the steering wheel. We don't allow that yet. And there the Marvel also uses artificial intelligence to learn where the driver has his parking space. They can then get out in front of the front door - and use the app to drive their car to the garage around the next corner.
Five-door, five-seat SUV; Length: 4,67 meters, width: 1,92 meters, height: 1,62 meters, wheelbase: 2,80 meters, trunk volume: 357 to a maximum of around 1.639 liters
Up to three electric motors, two-speed automatic, lithium-ion battery with 70 kWh, total output 132 kW/180 hp (four-wheel drive: 212 kW/288 hp), maximum torque: 410 (665) Nm at 0 rpm, 0- 100 km/h: 7,9 (4,9) s, Vmax: 200 km/h (limited), range: 402 (370) km, standard consumption: not specified, DC quick charging 5-80%: 43 min., CO2 -Emission: 0 g/km, efficiency class: A+
Price: from around 40.000 euros