It’s often said that Group B is rally’s greatest era. Flimsy little hatchbacks with enormous power and four-wheel-drive being flung sideways through forests for all to see. It was a time of great cars like the Audi Sport Quattro, the Renault 5 Turbo, the Ford RS200, and the Lancia Delta S4, as well as great loss. Too fast, too wild, too dangerous to go forever. However, some 37 years after the demise of Group B, you’ll be sort-of able to buy a brand new Group B car. British outfit MST Cars, known for its high-grade Ford Escort reproductions, has decided to have a crack at resurrecting the infamous MG Metro 6R4.
While mid-engined hatchback monsters like the Renault 5 Turbo and Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 are widely-revered, the MG Metro 6R4 never quite gained the same sort of appreciation. Sure, it had a reputation for constantly breaking down, but the 6R4 really is a different breed. For the sake of competing in Group B rallying, Williams Engineering took a standard Metro, then went absolutely berserk. The ancient A-Series lump under the hood was ditched in favor of a Cosworth V6 mounted where the rear seats would normally go. Mega power required mega rubber, so the 6R4 features absurd side skirts and overfenders to harness wider tires and a new four-wheel-drive system. Roadgoing Clubman models put out 250 horsepower from a naturally-aspirated V6, but certain full-race trims whacked that up to 410 naturally-aspirated horsepower, a fierce figure by any standard.
While the 6R4 did make the podium at its first event, it never quite repeated that success. With competition like the incredible Lancia Delta S4, Peugeot 205 Turbo 16, and Toyota Celica TCT, it’s little wonder why MG’s rally car wasn’t a consistent leader out of the gate. In addition, Group B as a whole was killed after 1986, so the mad MG only got to run one complete season. Mind you, it’s not as if the racing effort was for nothing. A turbocharged version of the 6R4’s V6 made its way under the hood of the Jaguar XJ220 supercar.
So, can the reborn 6R4 move and shake like the original? Well, we won’t know for certain until it’s actually built, but the first one in progress shows promising signs. Like the original, it features a three-liter V6, although it’s not one from Cosworth. PistonHeads reports that it’s the supercharged unit normally found in a B8 Audi S4, pumped up to 450 horsepower courtesy of a standalone ECU. That sounds lively at the top end, and thanks to the positive-displacement blower, should have buckets of torque down low. Power goes through a proper sequential gearbox to all four wheels, bringing a dose of modernity to an ‘80s icon.
As for the bodywork, it’s mostly a carbon fiber affair, and far more than just reproduction pieces. All of the cartoonish bits come from Innovative Composites, a company that makes replacement panels for the original 6R4. Oh, but it gets so much cooler than that. According to PistonHeads, MST was able to dig up the original monocoque jigs for the 6R4, which means that each and every MST 6R4 will feature a brand new bodyshell built to original dimensions using original tooling. No hacking up old Metro 1.0s here.
MST Cars plans to make ten 6R4s in 2024, each carrying a price tag of around £300,000, or around $369,000. That’s an enormous amount of money, but if you wrap your head around it and consider the general landscape, it’s not horrendous. Someone could easily spend $369,000 on a new McLaren or Ferrari and while that’s all well and good, not everyone wants to look like an investment banker. What’s more, none of us grew up dreaming about a 720S or a 296 GTB for the simple fact that they didn’t exist back then. The 6R4 is an icon for anyone with a 30-over-crest-addled childhood. For those who grew up playing Rallisport Challenge or even watched WRC tapes from back in the day, this preposterous little hatchback is a hero.
(Photo credits: MST Cars, FIA)
Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.
Here Are Some Photos Of The Beautiful Ford RS200 For No Reason
McLaren F1 Chief Engineer Gordon Murray’s Mk I Ford Escort Is A Restomod Masterpiece
This Gorgeous Restomod GMC Is A Music Executive’s Ultimate Festival Tour RV. Here’s My Up-Close Look
How A Corvette LS3 V8 Turns The Already-Sketchy Land Rover Defender Into A Lovable Monster
The Ineos Grenadier Is The Overlanding Beast The Land Rover Defender Could Have Become
Got a hot tip? Send it to us here. Or check out the stories on our homepage.
“No hacking up old Metro 1.0s here.”
Awww 🙁 I guess we’ll just have to send them straight to the crusher then.
Metros are my least favourite product from BL, I have an almost irrational hated of them. For starters, the only two colours they seemed to come in was either shit brown or nicotine brown.
(The 6R4 get a pass for being well lairy, and because it means one less stock Metro on the roads)
Given my extreme intolerance of ugliness in a vehicle i shouldnt be giving this thing the time of day.But that sound!And the ridiculous performance 🙂
I’ll allow it
“…Williams Engineering took a standard Metro, then went absolutely berserk.”
Best quick summary of extreme racing car development ever.
Not just mildly berserk, or plain old berserk, but absolutely berserk.
God these are tha absolute ugliest cars i have ever seen.
That is properly bonkers. In all the right ways.
I appreciate how it’s a homage to a rare car and not another go at one of the more common Group B cars. Having the original tooling and exact copies of parts made for the original makes it that much more special in my eyes. Yeah the price is steep but probably justifiable for the labor involved.
The 6R4 was used a lot in Rallycross after group B ended so a lot of cars saw action, and also several wete destroyed
The Metro 6R4. The answer to the question nobody asked.
What was that question? Glad you asked!
What if we said fuck them, and just went for it anyways?
And we’re glad they did. We are so very glad they did.
Probably the last Group B car I’d replicate, but it’s still cooler than another shrugworthy video game exotic.
I’ll just leave this here (assuming links are allowed)
I have heard the one at Lane run before and its insane. Deafening even. Its kind of intimidating. The 6R4 is a testament to mankind’s hubris. It was also the last thing many many group B fans saw before they exploded like bugs all over those absurd overfenders.
I would very much rather have this than a new McLaren or Ferrari. So much cooler!
Well, there’s an ice cream flavor for every taste, but if you are talking 1980’s Broup B, make mine an Audi Quattro please. I can never get enough.
BTW, how are we coming along on the edit function?
I need it