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    CarWale Off-Road Day 2023: MG Gloster Blackstorm Edition

    Authors Image

    Pawan Mudaliar

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    MG Gloster Right Front Three Quarter
    MG Gloster Right Front Three Quarter
    MG Gloster Right Front Three Quarter
    MG Gloster Right Front Three Quarter
    MG Gloster Right Front Three Quarter
    MG Gloster Right Front Three Quarter
    MG Gloster Right Front Three Quarter
    MG Gloster Right Front Three Quarter

    Introduction

    Right Front Three Quarter

    Make/Model: MG Gloster 4WD Blackstorm Edition

    Tyre Size and Brand: 255/55 R19, Goodyear EfficientGrip

    Ground Clearance: 210mm

    Off-Road hardware: 4WD with low-range gearbox along with seven-drive modes — Eco, Snow, Sand, Mud, Rock, Sport, and Auto

    Rear Logo

    If you are in the market for a full-sized, rugged, ladder-on-frame SUV, the choice is now limited to the Fortuner and the slightly newer Gloster. Since we were taking a couple of days off from the desk and going out in the wild to test some 4x4 SUVs in real and practical tests, I was delighted to take the Gloster out of its city confines and evaluate its capabilities.

    Right Front Three Quarter

    There’s plenty of brawn under the hood of the MG Gloster Blackstorm Edition. It delivers strong power and torque figures –218bhp and 480Nm. Its 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo diesel engine sends power to all four wheels via a Borg Warner transfer. Backing up its mechanical front is a suite of electronics that offers no less than seven drive modes, most of which are focused on off-road driving conditions. As for the ride, the Dual Helix independent suspension at the front and the five-link integral setup at the rear look promising on paper. Lastly, our test car was riding on 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped with 255/55-section tyres.

    CarWale Off-Road Day Tests Explained

    Like every year, the 2023 CarWale Off-Road Day constituted five different types of tests. Our main agenda behind these was to test the potential of these 4x4s when the roads cease to exist along with their practical application.

    Right Side View

    The first of the five tests was the 40-metre acceleration test. For this, the 4WD sprints from a standstill to a 40-metre mark on an off-road patch that has loose gravel. This test helps us to determine the car’s ability to put the power down, especially if there’s a short run-up available to gain momentum ahead of a steep climb.

    Front View

    Next was the Slalom test, but with a twist – a twisted slalom if you will. The surface that we chose to perform this test was partially covered with grass accompanied by gravel on a curve. This test exercised the 4x4s’ manoeuvrability, requiring the driver to navigate through the cones placed at a fixed interval without hitting them. On the clock, if a car touches the cone, it’s a 2-second penalty in our rulebook.

    Front View

    The third test was a new one – the hill descent test. We introduced this as most cars – whether it's a hardcore 4x4 or not – now come equipped with a hill descent control. Here we evaluated not only the electronic prowess of braking and traction while going down a hill or steep slope but also the engine braking, if any. The car that came down the slowest won the race.

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    Following this, it was time to get your pants wet, but not in the way you thought it to be. It was the beaker test. In this, we gauge the SUV’s ride quality and its body roll with Vikrant driving the SUV on a fixed lap and me holding the beaker filled with 600ml of water. The one who got out of the car with maximum water in the beaker won the test.

    Right Front Three Quarter

    Last but not least, the lap time on a curated track. This track had a couple of right- and left-handers, water dip, tight U-turns, and a fast straight runway. Unlike conventional track racing, the offroad lap time assessed the SUVs on various prowess aspects, such as engine performance, agility, steering handling, and suspension.

    Now let’s see how the Gloster performed in all of these tests at the 2023 CarWale Off-Road Day.

    How the MG Gloster Blackstorm performed

    Acceleration test:

    Right Front Three Quarter

    The Gloster was not the quickest among the lot because when you put your foot down on the floor, it takes its own sweet time to accelerate off the mark. But wait till the turbo kicks in, and boom, you can feel the thrust of 480Nm reeling in together. Unfortunately, in our case, by the time the power band kicked in, we were already beyond the 40-metre mark and the Gloster secured the last place on the table.

    Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon4.47 seconds
    Land Rover Defender4.50 seconds
    Maruti Suzuki Jimny4.50 seconds
    Toyota Hilux4.84 seconds
    Mahindra Thar5.06 seconds
    MG Gloster5.09 seconds

    Hill Descent challenge:

    Left Front Three Quarter

    Not surprisingly, where the Gloster should have been the slowest, it was the fastest. Being a heavy car, the Gloster relies on electronics and engine braking to keep things in check. In our case, we assumed the electronics would do their magic and slow things down, but they didn’t work as well as we predicted. Or simply, it could have been the gravitational force that loved the Gloster’s weight.

    Land Rover Defender41.97 seconds
    Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon29.50 seconds
    Toyota Hilux18.69 seconds
    Mahindra Thar17.69 seconds
    Maruti Suzuki Jimny15.16 seconds
    MG Gloster14.00 seconds

    The Slalom test

    Rear View

    Given its length and weight, I expected the Gloster to struggle between the cones. But in reality, the problem was something else altogether. Although equipped with a light steering, it has more turns lock-to-lock. Once you dab on the throttle, the power kick-in isn’t instantaneous. So, between the turn-in and the power put down between the cones, the Gloster overshot a couple of times and came in last here as well.

    Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon13.53 seconds
    Maruti Suzuki Jimny13.93 seconds
    Land Rover Defender13.97 seconds
    Mahindra Thar14.19 seconds
    Toyota Hilux15.53 seconds
    MG Gloster16.00 seconds

    The Beaker test:

    Front View

    I was disheartened after a couple of last-place finishes. But finally, Gloster gave me the opportunity to flaunt a little. Yes, the beaker test. From 600ml of water in a beaker, only 170ml soaked in my pants, and the Gloster topped the chart here. The credit goes to the initial acceleration (or the lack of it) along with the controlled left-right movement on the most crucial part of the track. Oh, wait, how can I forget my gimble-like hands!

    MG Gloster430ml
    Land Rover Defender420ml
    Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon390ml
    Mahindra Thar380ml
    Maruti Suzuki Jimny380ml
    Toyota Hilux360ml

    The Timed Lap

    Right Front Three Quarter

    The Gloster is a big car, by any standard. And this lap was around a tight track. However, its light-and-nimble steering along with the comfortable ride quality darted it towards the finish line in an impressive time. Finishing on top of the chart, even on the narrow U-turns, the Gloster turned in quickly and the electronic aids worked in its favour rather than hampering.

    MG Gloster51.62 seconds
    Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon51.72 seconds
    Land Rover Defender55.68 seconds
    Toyota Hilux59.37 seconds
    Mahindra Thar59.40 seconds
    Maruti Suzuki Jimny1 minute 6.60 seconds

    Overall, the Blackstorm secured the fourth position out of the six SUVs on the 2023 CarWale Off-Road Day.

    Tester’s Note

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    Let me start by telling you the cons of the Gloster that we observed. Out on the streets, it undoubtedly has a remarkable road presence. But when you are off-roading, its dimensions can become too much to handle. And its long wheelbase does affect its brake even angle. So it did scrape the footboard a few times, notably when going down in the hill descent test. Secondly, the highway-biased tyres instead of all-terrain ones restricted some of its off-road prowess. Add to it the struggle of initial acceleration, which cost the Gloster a precious few seconds in some of our tests.

    But then, the steering – huge but light – made it very easy to handle around tight turns. It feels so nimble that one can even turn it using a finger. Plus, the long travel suspension and the comfortable ride quality of the Gloster made it popular among the lot. In fact, as soon as we wrapped up the shoot at the end of the day the crew was always ready to hop in the Gloster for a comfortable ferry.

    Conclusion

    Left Front Three Quarter

    As the sun dipped below the horizon, dust settled and the engine notes faded, with the 2023 CarWale Off-Road Day coming to an end, leaving behind a trail of memories and kilos of dust on our clothes. Despite being a luxurious and family-friendly SUV first and then a rugged off-roader, the Gloster greatly impressed us in all the tests. Initially, I had second thoughts about it, courtesy of its beefy, large, and heavy (weighing over 2.6 tonnes) persona with not very impressive off-road geometry. But to my surprise, it performed very well.

    So, if you are looking for an SUV with robust performance and a comfortable ride quality that will take you to places with less hassle, the Gloster stands as a testament.

    Until then, drive safe!

    Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi and Kapil Angane

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