What the heck is going on in these new MG SUV press photos?
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Press photos. Within the motoring world their central goal is pretty simple; to highlight their two or four-wheeled subject in the best light. This is often done by placing said vehicle in an environment where users can envisage themselves using it. Sports cars are often shot on race tracks, hatchbacks and compacts in urban cityscapes, and SUVs on rough terrain in the middle of desert or rain forest.
All of which is just simple marketing 101, but occasionally manufacturers stray from the traveled path and deliver us a slice of weirdness. A bit like Holden revealing their new Commodore Tourer with photos of it driving on snow — a surface it'll rarely, if never, see in its native Australia.
But that's nothing next to the photos that English-but-Chinese company MG paired with their ZS — which is set to go on sale in the UK under the 'XS' name later this year.
They start simple enough with a certified photographer classic; the car parked in front of a metropolitan café. It's parked outside of Bocca di Bacco and the Einstein Kaffee in Berlin, which is admittedly a little strange for a car that has never seen Germany.
You do wonder how it got there, and you also wonder what's in that seemingly abandoned black duffel back next to the table and chairs. Is it a collection of Where's Wally books? A severed head, perhaps? The man sitting opposite to it looks calm enough, almost like he's perfectly unaware that his likeness is going to be used to sell an entry-level off-roader on the other side of the planet.
However, this sheen of normality takes a quick turn.
This scene appears to show the MG stepping out to some kind of performance. There are no people in the immediate shot, just the vehicle, a complex lighting set-up, and speakers.
Can the MG ... talk? Is it about to thrust out a power ballad? Deliver a speech to the masses? Some would say that's unlikely, because cars typically can't talk. Apart from that smarmy one in that show from the ’80s. Nobody would've given him a second look if he was plonked in a Ford Pinto.
This is clearly still our world, with the bustling metropolis on the horizon displaying lights in various offices. People getting on with their lives, filing that last account for 'the man', still trying to talk up Trudie at the water cooler even though she's clearly not interested.
I'm not even sure that speaker is plugged in. Maybe it's a metaphor.
Holy crap what is this.
Things have clearly taken a downturn for humanity, with autonomous drones that shoot beams through the sky are clearly now the master race. Humans are left to cower in back streets, hiding in the shadows and only revealing themselves to source sustenance. Families of humans have mainly deteriorated, as blood ties turn on one another faster than you can say 'who used all our internet data last month?'
Our soul bastion of hope is the MG ZS crossover, which lives in the snowy mountains — truly the Yeti of our times (not including that one Škoda made, intended as a mere distraction from our true post-apocalypse saviour).
But the MG has a huge metaphorical and literal mountain to climb, as the net tightens in and those who govern the world's fate close on our last hope of survival.
It's even quite roomy inside.