That car's naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine returns just 43.3mpg on the WLTP combined cycle while emitting 147g/km of CO2 - figures that are comfortable outshone by its newer rivals and upon which the new 3 is expected to drastically improve.
The move to a substantially electrified powertrain means the new 3 will command a substantial premium over the outgoing one, and Autocar understands that a starting price of around £21,000 is likely - cementing it as a rival to the similarly sized Renault Clio E-Tech and Toyota Yaris Hybrid.
MG plans for the new 3 to be a competitive proposition in terms of its specification and equipment offering, and the fact that it has been designed and engineered primarily for European motorists is seen as a boon in that regard.
Precise technical details will be given at the car’s unveiling at the Geneva motor show next month, where MG is one of just a handful of mainstream manufacturers exhibiting.
The new 3 will be followed into dealerships shortly after by the second-generation MG HS, which adopts a striking new look and – Autocar has learned – a new plug-in hybrid powertrain that's tipped to offer the longest electric-only range of any car at its planned price point.
Details remain under wraps ahead of its launch later this year, but it's understood that the new SUV is based on the Chinese-market Roewe eRX5, which pairs a 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine with an electric motor for 242bhp and 420lb ft. Details of the battery remain under wraps.