MG4 XPower vs Abarth 500e: Are ELECTRIC Hot Hatches Fun?

MG4 XPower vs Abarth 500e: Are ELECTRIC Hot Hatches Fun?

foreign loves a good hot hatch you can't beat that combination of a powerful engine hilarious handling and good everyday practicality but what will electric hot hatches look like in the future rubbish well let's find out today we have the Abarth 500e and the mg4x power we're going to put them head to head to find out which is better which is most fun and importantly whether either of these are as good as a traditional gas hatch hardcore specs out the way shall we the above is slightly smaller with two doors as opposed to four on the mg but it's more expensive 38 and a half thousand pounds compared to 36 and a half for the mg despite being cheaper the mg gets two Motors and all-wheel drive instead of one and front wheel drive on the above and it has a bigger battery 62 kilowatt hours versus 38 

kilowatt hours both cars are designed to be sporty but there is one huge difference power VR bath has 154 horsepower cute this has 429 that's 44 more than a Porsche 911 Carrera mg says this car will do naught to 62 in 3.8 seconds let's see if that's true right sport mode launch yeah okay 30 40 50 60. 70 80. 90 miles an hour that's 100 miles an hour wind noise a little bit of buffeting and we are at 121 miles 122 miles an hour 123 124 125 26 127 okay I'm breaking 127 miles an hour flat out the acceleration was very impressive I mean for a car that costs less than 40 Grand nuts the mg did not to 62 in 3.9 seconds and the quarter mile in 12.3 that makes it potentially the fastest car you can buy at this price point let's launch the arba 500e as well shall we just for Giggles before I do that I want to show you this car's party trick it has a sound generator which means that 


it mimics the sound that it's petrol-powered counterparts make uh using speakers on the outside look at this when you press the power button it makes a little guitar riff [Music] but if you can hear that and then you can hear the idling noise of an Abarth 595-695 you could even rev it listen [Music] interesting now I'm not going to lie to you everyone has the right to do as much stupid stuff as they want but I feel like a bath are really abusing that privilege right now let's launch it right Drive put on the brake go oh 30. okay that's 40 50. 65 70. 80. 90. 100 99 . not the quickest car in the world is it [Music] cute as for the naught to 62 time the up bath managed the Sprint in a fairly unimpressive 7.6 with a quarter mile arriving eventually in 15.5 obviously straight line performance is only half the story part of the appeal of a hot hatch is in the looks and both these cars are attractive I think we all know the Abarth 500e is based on the Fiat 500e which means it's quite Compact and cute but there's some extra aggression with these lights and the Scorpion badges on the side interestingly Fiat and therefore above have a No Gray policy so all their cars are finished in bright colors including this acid green 

MG4 XPower vs Abarth 500e: Are ELECTRIC Hot Hatches Fun?

the mg4 isn't bad looking either though and to me feels fresh given that the 500's shape hasn't really changed in 16 years this car is available in Gray if that's your bag but I love the map racing Green Scene here the sharp styling and there's plenty of detail to get lost in the rear lights are especially clever with a unique light signature behind an acrylic panel helping the car stand out especially at night [Applause] I also really like the interior of this car if you're thinking MGS are low quality then you're in for a bit of a shot because there's nothing really to complain about inside for a start you get some wireless charging for your mobile phone up here nice easy to reach controls and in terms of infotainment and Technology there's plenty of that with a big old display up here in the center and also one for your driver data there's also a lot of storage in this car in the center console down here and also some cup holders Plus in this Central storage bin and also the materials are surprisingly good the lever on the dashboard isn't the best but I do 


like this chrome effect for the vents down here and on the seats and doors you get a nice mixture of leather Alcantara and red stitching it's pretty impressive in here the up off is a step down in terms of interior quality there's definitely more cheap plastic on show especially on the doors every time you go to open them you'll feel that lack of quality in the materials on the handle and the window buttons yeah bath also doesn't feel quite as good in terms of fit and finish with some bits not feeling particularly well screwed down it's also not the kind of car that many would want to use as a family vehicle it does have rear seats but there's only really enough room for three adult passengers and the boot is pretty small if you want usability you are much better off buying the mg4 with its generous rear space and reasonably sized boots foreign [Music] let's talk about the most important aspect of hot Hatchery which is of course the fun factor and I'm going to start in the above 500e the first thing you notice when you get in this car is the sound which seems like a quite bizarre thing to say about an electric car but honestly it is you press the power button and it plays this little guitar riff and then you pull away and you can hear an almost synthesized version of the 595. [Music] now I've got to give credit to our bath it's a great idea in principle and I've also got to give them credit for creating a dedicated team of people who 


spent 6 000 hours creating this noise but I've also got a call of spade a spade and say this noise is trash it really is not saying I could do better but it is what it is and it is not very good [Applause] the first 10 minutes of using it are actually okay it's quite impressive it's an interesting gimmick shall we say and it makes driving an electric car seem a little bit more interesting I guess but there are problems with this sound generator which I will tell you first of all it's just one long drone and when you accelerate it picks up in frequency or pitch which is designed to mimic the sound of an ice engine getting higher up through the Rev range but at the same time you also hear in the background the sound of a 595 idling so you get both noises you get the acceleration noise and the idle noise at exactly the same time which is just bizarre real cars don't do that [Music] the second problem is when you're driving on a Motorway for example doing 70 miles an hour it just makes a constant drone that makes you feel like you're almost stuck in third gear for the entire trip you almost want to change up yeah I'm not 


impressed half the time it just sounds like a CVT gearbox which is probably the worst thing you want your heart has to sound like and the other half of the time it just sounds like a toy luckily you can turn it off okay as for the Driving Experience well the acceleration isn't particularly impressive not to 62 in around seven seconds so it's about a second slower than a 695 but actually it's quicker in other acceleration metrics so according to our buff this car accelerates quicker between 25 and 37 miles an hour and it's that kind of quote unquote in gear acceleration that means the 500e is actually quicker than the 695 around their test circuit in Italy [Music] okay what's it like in the corners that's kind of this car's party trick really it's reasonably light for an EV it weighs 1400 kilograms and yeah I know that's about 400 kilograms heavier than a 695 but you can really Chuck it into a bend and it definitely sticks I mean look at this I just bring it in here there's a lot of grip in this car and you don't feel an awful lot of inertia compared to a lot of electric cars as it goes through the corner [Music] it turns in pretty accurately as 


well you point it at the Apex it goes hunting for it and as you go towards the exit of the corner there's a little bit of understeer just gently pushing you out wide [Music] but that's the party trick this is a car you can just toss into a corner with almost Reckless abandon and it'll stick or it will just gently wash out wide in a nice safe manner I guess the one downside is that the Alba 500e feels a bit like it's on Rails really you can't really get it wrong in this card you bung it into a corner and it pretty much goes exactly where you want it's not bouncing it's not up on its toes it's not a dance partner you're kind of along for the ride [Applause] that kind of thing then great but the very best hot hatches give as well as take and right now I don't feel it's connected to the driving experience as I want to be I'll tell you what would make this more interesting third pedal a clutch pedal and a manual gearbox I know it's highly unlikely it is possible to put a manual gearbox in an electric car it wouldn't necessarily be the most efficient thing to do but it 


would add a lot to the Driving Experience especially in a car like this just being able to involve some of my other limbs my left foot for example my left arm just rowing up and down the box I think that would make this a much more immersive Driving Experience right now I kind of feel like I'm playing a computer game if I'm honest with you right what's the mg like oh hello did you see that it just completely stepped out on me I was not expecting that little bit of Personality there LG 4X power [Music] okay so very different experience driving this mg4x power first thing you notice is the car feels a little bit more grown up a bit more sensible It's a larger car and the suspension is not quite as jiggly and bouncy as it was in the above 500e the seats seem more comfortable as well not quite as supportive I am sliding out my seat a little bit more in comparison but I have a lower driving position so I feel a little bit more connected to the car also it doesn't 


make a stupid noise which is definitely worth something now I've got to reiterate just how fast this car is in a straight line we've already seen it a minute ago but my God it's not wanting for acceleration at all if you want to overtake someone put your foot down and you will disappear it's quick [Applause] I guess the one downside are the brakes from the outside they look much larger than the brakes in the above 500e but I don't think it stops quite as well as that car there's a couple of reasons for that first of all this car is 1800 kilograms so there's a lot more inertia as you approach a braking Zone the second reason is that the braking is split into regenerative braking and also physical braking and the feel between regen and physical isn't particularly consistent I think this car goes much better than it stops so mg have changed the suspension for this car compared to the standard model it's 25 stiffer at the front and 10 stiffer at the rear not uncomfortable by any stretch of the imagination it's just there to help you in the 


bends and speaking of that this car doesn't seem to have quite as much grip in the corners as the out bar but my goodness it is a lot more playful you can feel it going into kind of snap oversteer mid corner and while some people might be terrified at that I am actually embracing that this car feels much more up on its toes in the corners and is much more of a driver's car I think I wasn't expecting that I'm slightly impressed [Applause] what's the general balance like through the corners well electric cars tend to do best when you're going at eight tenths rather than ten tenths they get a flat out and when you do that the balance is actually pretty impressive it's actually quite rear biased so as you drive into a corner you can feel the back end slightly wanting to rotate but the minute that rotation occurs the front axle kicks in and it pulls it straight and just pulls you out of a corner very impressive [Applause] still having it move around underneath you ever so slightly just makes you feel that much more connecting to the Driving Experience what's the steering like I'll carry a bit too much speed into here actually there's a little bit of feel there and you can feel the chassis start to rotate underneath you as well yes I wouldn't say a Golf GTI has anything to worry about but I will say whoever put this car together yeah they knew what they were doing the only thing I will say is that if you're trying to push really hard as in take this 


car to a track day I don't think these are the world's grippiest tires and also when you're really pushing you can definitely feel the electronic stability control system trying to gather things up that maybe shouldn't be gathering up trying to save your life when you don't need it and that does hamper your performance but it's a pretty impressive car especially for the money especially for the straight line performance it is of course worth touching on the Range and recharging ability of both cars the Abarth will manage 164 miles if driven sensibly and will recharge at 85 kilowatts not the fastest but then the battery is small so charging is quicker by default the mg4x power recharges at a more respectable 135 kilowatts and has a superior range of 239 miles if you drive it sensibly but what happens when you don't drive these cars sensibly and decide to set some hot laps well I decided to find out I ran a head to head with a rolling start to nullify the mg's massive straight line Advantage but even by the first Corner a couple of hundred yards up 


the road over the crest of the Hill the mg had pulled out a lead into this first right-hander the mg gets squirmy once again but drags itself out of the bend with great all-wheel drive traction and sets off down the road pulling a gap the air bath is up to speed by now but just doesn't have the power to keep up under acceleration even with it having plenty of grip by the time we reach the most twisty section of track the Gap is now up to 2.1 seconds and it's the last hope for the R Bar to carry some speed through this sequence and reduce the Gap it doesn't quite play out that way though because by the time these cars power through the final corner and head towards the line the mg is 2.3 seconds ahead impressive especially on a very short lap these cars are very interesting but maybe for the wrong reasons they are both hot hatches in the sense that they offer a bit more athleticism than you get in the standard versions but I feel like there's still quite a long way to go before they deliver the fun Factor you get in anything with a badge 


that says GTI St or n obviously they are Greener so they have that Advantage especially that thing is very green but there's still a little bit of work to be done before they get to the same levels as a traditional gas-powered hot hatch that being said they are not as far away as people might think yes they lack the noise and involvement and yes they do weigh considerably more but these things are still a blast even on track if I was to choose one I'd personally go for the mg it's quicker it's cheaper it's more versatile and doesn't lose out too much in terms of looks to the above the very green 500e is still commendable though and here's hoping that the next generation of hot hatches takes the groundwork laid by these two to new levels 

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