The MG EXE181 electric hypercar is inspired by land-speed record cars | CAR Magazine

MG’s EXE181 electric hypercar revealed ahead of Beijing motor show

Published: 22 April 2024 Updated: 22 April 2024

► Inspired by Stirling Moss’s land-speed car
► Concept car for 2024 Beijing motor Show
► Expected at Goodwood for MG centenary

MG is signalling another return to more powerful and heritage-influenced performance cars with the reveal of the EXE181 concept – an electric hypercar inspired by Sir Stirling Moss’s classic MG land-speed record vehicle.

The EXE181 concept boasts a ridiculously low drag coefficient and (theoretical) 0-62mph time of less than two seconds. It will make its full public debut later this week at the Beijing motor show. 

What’s the EXE181’s inspiration?

This electric hypercar concept draws inspiration from the MG EX181 – notice the lack of second ‘E’ in its name – from the 1950s.

It was a super-slippery car designed for one thing and one thing only – speed. It’s the aero-smooth silver car in the right of the photograph below.

Old and new MG land-speed record cars

Despite packing a fairly conservative 300bhp, by modern standards at least, the EX181 was used throughout the late 1950s to try and push speed records, with racing drivers Sir Stirling Moss and Phil Hall both taking to the wheel at various times. Moss would hit 245.6mph in 1957 with this car, only for Hall to achieve 254.9mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats two years later.

The EX181 would be MG’s last attempt at a land speed record. 

So what about this new car?

The EXE181 is electric, obviously, and shows MG hasn’t forgotten about its history when it comes to seeking performance – as much as cars like the ZS EV might leave you to believe otherwise. 

Details about the new concept are still thin on the ground until it’s officially unveiled at the Beijing motor show on 24 April, and we’ve had to source details from MG’s official page on the Chinese social media site Weibo. 

MG EXE181 concept

MG calls the concept its new ‘electric supercar’ and says it’s a tribute to the ‘roaring raindrop’ land-speed record cars. There’s no word on power, but with a 0-62mph time of 1.9 seconds, you can expect a power figure well beyond 1000bhp, although it’s all rather academic.

Of rather more interest, pay attention instead to the incredibly slippery drag coefficient of 0.19Cd, designed to cleave through the air with minimal drag – a useful skill for any electric car seeking longer range and efficiency. 

And how does it look?

Well, you can clearly see the inspiration with the two cars side-by-side in these design sketches. There’s minimal bodywork and the driver sits in a central glass cockpit surrounded by metal. 

MG EXE181 concept interior

The futuristic interior isn’t dissimilar to an F1 car’s, with a central seat and a small yoke-like steering wheel. The interior material choice seems to be knitted fabric, which is an unusual choice in a land-speed record-baiting car. 

When will we see it?

The EXE181 concept is making its debut at the Beijing motor show, one of the largest automotive events of its kind, which takes place between 25 April- 2 May. There will be a host of other high-profile reveals taking place too, including the new electric Mercedes G-Class and electric Mini Aceman crossover

But following its reveal in China, you can expect to see the EXE181 concept on UK soil at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, as the Chinese firm takes centre stage at the event as part of its centenary celebrations. It will also mark the launch of MG’s new electric Cyberster sports car.

By Ted Welford

Senior staff writer at CAR and our sister website Parkers. Loves a car auction. Enjoys making things shiny