The MG Gloster is the most ambitious car that MG Motor India has launched in India. It is big, bold, luxurious and packed with features that make some of its rivals look like an animal from the Jurassic age. Priced between ₹ 28.98 lakh and ₹ 35.38 lakh for the first 2,000 customers, it offers something that even a technologically advanced car like the Volvo XC60 doesn't provide. MG Motors has made some bold claims about the car's level 1 autonomous technology and it does walk the talk. The Gloster could be the torchbearer for cutting edge technologies on more vehicles in India and in a way open the flood gates. We take a look at some of the smart tech features on the car - which make it stand out from the competition apart from its hulking size, and 218 bhp twin-turbo diesel engine.
The Gloster comes with a 12.3-inch infotainment system capacity touch display which is horizontally placed in the central console of the car. It is powered by its I-Smart interface which gets a voice-based integration with Gaana.com allowing you to find conceivably any Bollywood song. This system is paired with a 12 speaker sound system that also comes with a dedicated woofer. MG Motors hasn't talked up the make of these speakers, but 12 speakers plus a woofer even in a car as big as the Gloster will surely make quite the racket - in a positive way. This screen can also play videos, in case you're not driving the car. If Gaana.com is not your music service of choice, then via Android Auto or Apple CarPlay you can conceivably have anything like Spotify, YouTube Music or Apple Music running. Adding to the fun vibe of this car, it has advanced ambient light control offering up to 64 colours. If you ever wanted an SUV to create an ambience, then here you have one. If that's not enough you can always roll down the ginormous panoramic sunroof.
The core of the value proposition of MG Motor has been the narrative around the fact that its cars are fully tethered to the internet allowing the user to do clever things with just a push of a button over the cloud. It already gets the integration with Gaana.com for music, but it also comes with MapMyIndia maps which are among the best for India. It can be argued that MapMyIndia's solution is more diverse and accurate for India. It also has been optimised to show you where you can get tested for COVID-19 which is something very handy. In the case that doesn't work, you can always fall back to Google Maps or Apple Maps via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Here you can always fall back on the Google Assistant or Siri to do your bidding while you hum along cocooned in the serenity of the Gloster cabin. Android Auto and CarPlay on the Gloster is tethered via a wire, however, MG Motors says that there will be an I-Smart interface update which will enable a wireless connection in the coming months. Bluetooth connectivity is restricted to just one device at a time which is a bummer.
The iSmart interface, of course, isn't just a user interface layer on the infotainment system, but an entire connected car platform supported with a companion app that works both on Android and iPhone. In fact, there is even an Apple Watch version of the app. It allows you to provide theft protection by allowing you to remotely immobilise the vehicle. It does the usual tricks of geofencing the car around a region or time-fencing it so that your chauffeur or valet doesn't galavant with the vehicle without your consent. MG Motor has its own voice assistant in case you don't have the patience to hook up your phone via CarPlay or Android Auto. This would of course work in tandem with in-built apps like Gaana.com, MapMyIndia and Shortpedia which can give you news in a bite-sized form over the 12-speaker system. That being said, we doubt this will be better than the Google Assistant which is world-renowned for its expertise with the Indian dialect and well, taps into the search engine that literally has the motto of "organising the world's information".
I-Smart can also handle peripheral features like give you a battery alert when it is low, tell you the tyre pressure of the vehicle is not ideal or remotely heat your seats and open and close all windows for the sake of ventilation.
Smart but not quite autonomous
But most of these are features that we see on many vehicles that are priced way below the Gloster. Its focus and narrative around technology come into play because MG Motor plays the fact this car has level 1 autonomous technology. This means it doesn't have one trick but a host of tricks which give it this level 1 capability. Its advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) comes from the fact that it combines adaptive cruise control, automatic parking assist, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot detection and lane departure warning. But it is more important to understand what all these technologies can do in their individual capacity as these terms are not all-encompassing.
For instance, cruise control on most cars allows you to set a speed and cruise along at that locked in - on the Gloster, it goes one step further as it can sense the road ahead thanks to a suite of sensors and then figure out what speed a vehicle is at in front of you and adapt to it and match the speed while also maintaining a safe distance. Its forward-collision warning system will detect four-wheelers, two-wheelers and pedestrians but the emergency braking system is restricted to four-wheelers and wouldn't detect humans or animals which are quite rife in India. MG Motor has indicated that this could be updated if they are able to tune their algorithms in such a way that this system doesn't get triggered all the time in an intrusive way on India's roads where you have all kinds of animals on the prowl and bumper to bumper traffic.
Features like blind-spot detection and lane departure warning just give the driver an additional layer of spatial awareness which is always handy. This works in concert with a suite of sensors and cameras that provide this intelligence. We have tested this feature before on vehicles like the Volvo XC40 which is slightly more expensive than the Gloster at launch. The parking assistance is also a feature that's very handy for a car of its size especially in a country like India which has many disorganised parking spots. MG Motor is making a big deal about this being autonomous technology but in reality in a country like India where the road conditions and traffic is unpredictable but these are assist features which will make life easier if you're going to drive the car on your own.
MG Keeps Safety Paramount on Gloster
Already, the ADAS and autonomous capability of the Gloster makes it quite safe but what's more enchanting is that it gets a 5-star rating from ANCAP or Australasian New Car Assessment Program. It also gets 6 airbags to boot. In fact, to provide spatial awareness to the driver, it has a 360-degree camera and even a driver fatigue system which will remind you to take a break or stop if it senses the driving is becoming erratic. For extreme climates, the ORVM's are also heated so they don't fog up.
The standard stuff which one would expect from just a loaded car is also there. You get ESP, Traction Control, ABS+EBD+brake assist, roll movement intervention, automatic vehicle hold, electro-mechanical differential lock, hill hold control, hill descent control, automatic vehicle hold and an electric parking brake with auto hold. There is a lot happening here to keep you safe.
Other tech-related frills
Even from the outside, there is some tech wizardry happening. It has steering assisted cornering lights, and the LED headlamps have auto levelling, while the wipers are of the rain-sensing kind. And the moment you jump back inside, you get a sophisticated air filter system with PM 2.5 filters, wireless charging for smartphones like the iPhone and driver seat ventilation system alongside and automatic start and stop.
All in all, with the amount of kit being offered and the general size and dimensions of the vehicle, the Gloster is looking quite formidable. The price makes things particularly sweet as its four trims will be offered between ₹ 29 and 35 lakh - but mind you, this is price just for the first 2,000 buyers, Rajeev Chaba told carandbike that his target is to sell 6,000 cars this year, so that would mean basically 33 per cent of their target is getting this special discounted price, but once the price goes upwards, the Gloster will be compete with cars from the likes of Volvo, Volkswagen and Audi instead of the Ford Endeavour and Toyota Fortuner which is an important distinction as that also changes the psyche of the consumer and could tempt one to opt for a more noted brand.