MG4 Long Range 77: bigger, better, faster, longer

Dean Evans, Editor
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  • Range well over 500km
  • Reduced range anxiety
  • It’s our COTY, made better
  • No way to ID it as the big battery model
  • Added $9k premium over Essence 64
  • Annoying electronic idiosyncrasies

No badges, no stickers, not even an added LR motif, the Long Range version of the MG4 is nothing if not subtle. Discreet. Non-existent, even; at least for those wanting to show that they’ve shelled out another $9k for the 77kW Long Range version of the MG4, the biggest of the three 2WD models offered, overarching the capacities of the mid-spec 64kW and the entry level 51kW.

Truth is, with the admirable sub-20kW/100km economy offered by the hot hatch MG4, even the 51kW version is enough for most buyers, and the matching 350km it affords.

But for the boys and girls with bigger commutes, it might not be enough if the electric life is for you. And for my own purpose, and the absolute joys of the daily transit from Hamilton to the DRIVEN office in Auckland CBD, more is always better. Sidenote: last week I set a record of 2h:50m for my 130km commute thanks to two crashes (sarcastic thumbs-up emoji).

So, what does the big boy of battery MG4 bring to the party, besides a rego label with the wording LR 77KW printed on it, its only externally identifying factor?

Apart from a big range increase, not a lot, to be honest – and don’t interpret that as a bad thing.

As the Essence model (up from the entry Excite), the LR gets satellite navigation on top of CarPlay/Auto, 360 deg parking cameras, height-adjustable loading floor, wireless phone charging and auto-dimming rearview mirror. Of those, we felt the wireless phone charging was the most noticed omission from the entry Excite – which also reinforces just how well equipped it is.

Being the Essence it also adds the more sporty bodykit, including the “twin-aero” rear spoiler, plus the no-cost silver metallic paint.

It also gets 180kW of power over the 150kW in the 64kW battery models, which does also make it faster: MG claims 6.5 seconds for the race to 100km/h, though we tested it at a slightly quicker 5.8 seconds, the rear-wheel drive really helping combat that extra 100Nm of torque over the MG4 64, that tends to overwhelm tyres.

The MG4 LR also has an on-board 11kW three-phase charger, in lieu of the 6.6kW charger in the base-/mid models, which means it has the capacity to charge faster on AC, at home or shopping centres.

The user-friendliness of the standard MG4 reinforces just how worthy it is of awards, including our own Car of the Year for 2023. And the bigger battery makes it even better, not just for the range, but the choice, with four key models and three battery sizes to suit most budgets: the added $9000 of the LR 77 over the 64 does seem like a lot for a battery and another 95km of range over the mid-spec Essence 64, given the equipment level is otherwise the same.

Though its extra power and speed and range are all numbers that are on the plus side.

Weight does increase, and at 1748kg, it’s up 86kg over the Essence 64, and 113kg more than the Excite 51. And the added weight only decreases economy a fraction: from 13.8kW/100km up to 14.0kW/100km.

However, it’s not without its niggles, most of them electronic based and many of them potentially over-the-air updateable. The lane-keep assist comes off as overly aggressive, tugging at the wheel and sometimes following lines on the road in directions you don’t want to go. The external door handle locking button can sometimes take a relative age, we’re talking seconds here, to lock once exiting the car. And this becomes a mandatory part of leaving the car as if it’s not locked the car’s interior, radio, dash and lights remain “alive”, which is particularly redundant if the car is parked in a locked home garage – which many EVs are, to charge. It could all be easily fixed with an off or exit button, as it’s sometimes a little too clever for its own ease of operation.

Conversely, start-up is a snap, by simply unlocking, entering and selecting a gear to go... but even this has its issue, with the car’s electronics needing to “wake”, and there’s a specific procedure required, along the lines of pushing on the brake to wake the car, and then releasing and pressing it again to signal you want to now drive. It all takes longer than it should, and often seems reluctant to comply, and on average is longer than a conventional key or button start. This ranges between odd and infuriating, depending on your state of urgency.

Additionally, when charging is completed, the car will not release the charging plug, even when the touchscreen ‘stop charging’ button is pressed, requiring the door to be lock-unlocked cycled, particularly annoying as the charge plug is on the opposite side to the driver's door. A simple 'release' button in the flap would make life much easier.

On the matter of charging, MG claims around 144kW max charge rate on a DC fast charger, and we saw 110kW in almost optimum conditions (good temperature, low state of charge and a 300kW charger without any other cars charging), so we’re not sure what circumstances would allow it to reach maximum. Still, 110kW is quite fine and in our use, we saw it offer around 480km after our mix of motorway and suburban driving, which made the long drives far less focused on charging stations and more about enjoying the journey. And this helps relieve range anxiety, a lot.

Using the AC system does immediately drop the range 5 per cent, though even in Autumn weather, windows still fog, so it requires the AC for demisting as much as passenger comfort. At least with the big battery, it’s less of a concern.

So the sweet spot in the range might be the mid-spec model, but the LR 77 makes the MG4 even broader appealing for those with big kays to rack up. It makes a great package even better.

MG4 Essence 77kW Long Range
POWER: 180kW/350Nm
RANGE: 530km (WLTP), 144kW max charge rate (DC)
ECONOMY: 14kW/100km
0-100KM/H: 5.8 sec (tested)
WEIGHT: 1748kg
PRICE: $63,990


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