MG refreshed the ZT range in 2004 in a final attempt to make it a more desirable car on the market and upgraded the engines.
After three years on the market, MG tried to make the ZT more appealing to its customers. The sales were slow, and the customers were not that happy with that model. Rover initially developed the car under BMW ownership. After it separated from the German carmaker, the small British company struggled to survive, and it just didn't have enough money to make a significant change.
On the facelifted version, the carmaker introduced a new front fascia. Its formerly used double headlamps system was dropped and replaced by single units, clear-lens, headlights. The bumper had to be changed to match their new design, but there were just slight differences. At the back, the carmaker moved the badge from the right to the center-bottom area.
The interior lost the ambiance of a British saloon when the carmaker removed the wood-veneers from the dashboard, door panels, and center stack. It replaced them with black plastic panels, which looked cheap. In the instrument panel, the dials were back-lightened in an electro-luminescent blue glow. Its front bucket seats offered good bolstering on the sides since MG tuned the car for sportier drivers.
Under the hood, MG ZT offered a choice of four gasoline engines and one turbo-diesel. The latest addition was the 4.7-liter Ford V-8 engine, which sent the power to the rear wheels. All other engine versions were front-wheel-drive only. MG stiffened the suspension for the ZT by 70% when compared to its sibling, the Rover 75.
After BMW sold MG Rover group for 10 GBP in May 2000, the new owner decided to use the Rover 75 as a platform for an upscale, sportier model, and thus the MG ZT was born.
It wasn't just a trim level for the 75 but differed in many ways from its sibling. Phoenix Consortium, the company that acquired MG Rover, thought that the sporty brand deserved more than just a different label on the trunk and new bumpers.
Thus, the MG ZT featured a slightly modified front fascia. It still featured the same quad-headlights system, but it sported a redesigned bumper with a lower apron that hosted a mesh grille flanked by round foglamps. From its profile, the lowered suspension and the unique, multi-spoke alloy wheels warned about the car's sporty character. To top it all off, at the back, the ZT received a wing on the trunk and metallic trim around the dual-exhaust pipes placed underneath the redesigned rear bumper.
Inside, the customers could find a better interior than on most of the Rover models. The high-bolstered bucket seats at the front, the three-spoke steering wheel, and the carbon fiber trim offered an upscale look for the car. At the back, the bench was profiled for two, although there was enough room for a third child seat in the middle.
MG Rover decided to start the ZT range with only one engine, a 2.5-liter, Rover-sourced V6-mill. It provided 160 hp (162 PS) with an option for a pumped-up version that sent 190 ponies to the front wheels. Later on, the carmaker added other engines to the offer. Even though it was not the success that Phoenix Consortium hoped for, it still helped the group to sell 170,000 units in 2001, the brand's best-selling year.