MG ZS Tuning

"The ZS can really fly with the right mods."

The ZS was based on the Rover 45/400 and took the MG brand to new heights. It is a great project car if you want a track day car, and our members have some interesting projects underway in our forums.

The ZS is a good size and suitable for families but the chassis is quite nimble and provides a fun basis for a performance car with plenty of lift off oversteer! Most ZS owners seek better handling of their cars as they want it to handle as well as possible so with this in mind we  would suggest that you look for some performance suspension parts and lower your car by around 40mm.  

Poly bushes will tighten things up and adjustable coilovers allow you to set the car up exactly as you desire. Dropping by more than this will generally require arch work - especially on the performance models which are already equipped with lower and stiffer suspension.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

Bear in mind that a track day suspension setup will be hard to live with on our roads with potholes and rough surfaces to contend with.

Don't look at peak power when doing engine tuning, what you need is a flat torque curve across as much of the rev range as possible.

With some simple modifications you can really transform your ZS into a fun car, and credible track performer.

To be completely frank and honest, on the more modest engine sizes you are generally just wasting your time and money on modifications, we've seen people spend £1000's and only getting a gain of 10-20bhp. So ignore the smaller ZS105/110 and 120 and focus instead on the ZS180. An engine swap to the early Rover Tomcat 2.0 Turbo or a supercharged 1.8 VVC unit makes for an interesting power upgrade.

MG ZS Tuning modifications.

Bear in mind the mantra that you want to keep as much low end power as you can and aim for a wide power band rather than a narrow top end power spike. Don't get misled by manufacturer claims of big peak power gains, they don't tell the whole story, it is the torque or power band you need to focus your attention on.Fast road cams are generally one of the best power mods you can do to your engine.

But you need to select the right profile, for advice on cam selection see our tuning articles for more information. If your car is making more power then it will need more air and fuel so fuelling upgrades are important mods if you are serious about power.For fuelling upgrades you will generally need a set of uprated injectors and a higher capacity fuel pump.

MG ZS intake and exhaust modifications.

Breathing mods are usually easily sorted and probably one of the easiest mods to do. Derestricting the airflow into the engine is the primary part of tuning so get a better flowing air filter. Induction kits sound great with the induction roar they create but due to the warm air in the engine bay they will not add noticeable power and actually rob you of power. Exhaust selection should take into account the flow rate, rather than just the bore size, too small and you have a restriction, too big and the flow rate will dimish the point the engine scavanging suffers.See our article on performance exhausts for details of the issue around large bore exhausts and how to choose the right size for your engine.

Airflow through the head can be dramatically increased with some professional porting and polishing. These should match and be setup to take into account any other engine mods. A good fast road power clutch will help to keep that power going where it should. Never just hope that a standard worn clutch will cope. 

A remap on a NA (naturally aspirated) engine will help unleash the potential if you have done a lot of mods but it is worth noting that the Rover derived MEMS cannot be remapped so to get a custom map installed you'll need an aftermarket ECU or a chip upgrade. Adding forced induction will see big power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. Turbos are harder to add than supercharger. With a turbo the boost curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it hard to map. The nice steady boost to rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them easier to map. Alternatively you could add water injection to control knock.

MG ZS Wheel modifications.

The benefits of alloy wheels include a lower unsprung weight and more efficient brake cooling. It is worth noting that although they can look cool on the ZS Big alloy wheels will actually decrease your performance. The larger you go the lower your acceleration will be - this is due to the change in your effective final drive ratio. Aim to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the same as supplied from the factory. In all cases we do not recommend going above 16 inches.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss ZS options in more detail with our ZS owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased MG tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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2 Responses to “Tuning the MG ZS”

  1. Mark halstead says:

    very infomative as im new to modding cars and as such was thinking which part would you actually start with the suspension or engine thanks

  2. adrian bentley says:

    Great,super,loved it BUT,,,what about the 2.0 ltr ZS deisel turbo..Mmmm.

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