Interest in small roadsters increased following the launch of the Mazda MX-5 in 1989, and MG (then owned by Rover Group) capitalised on this in 1992 by producing new body panels to create an updated version of the old car. The suspension was only slightly updated, sharing the old leaf spring rear of the MGB. The boot lid and doors were shared with the original car, as were the rear drum brakes. However, the engine was the 3.9-litre version of the respected aluminium Rover V8, previously used in the MGB GT V8. A limited-slip differential was also fitted. The interior was built to luxury standards, featuring veneered burr elm woodwork and Connolly Leather. Performance was good, with 190 bhp (142 kW) at 4,750 rpm and 0–60 mph (96 km/h) in 5.9 seconds. Largely due to the rear drum brakes and rear leaf springs (perceived to be too old fashioned for a modern performance car), the RV8 was not popular with road testers at the time. However, this did not prevent the RV8 from being a moderate sales success, and it paved the way for the introduction of the modern MGF a few years later.
It also capitalised on an appreciation for British products in Japan. A large proportion of the limited MG RV8 production went to that country – 1579 of the 2000 produced.
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