Frontline announces first V8 and EV MG B

Welcome the LE60 and Bee GT, MG Bs like you've never known them before…

By Matt Bird / Wednesday, 20 September 2023 / Loading comments

Frontline Developments (as it was back then) might be known to committed PHers for its LE50 and Abingdon Edition MG B restomods. They were driven by PH way back, with glowing reviews: ‘huge character, true discerning exclusivity and enormous sense of fun’ was the LE50 verdict. Hopes are high, then, for the latest from Frontline (as it’s now known). One is the LE60, its first V8 build in more than 30 years of existence, and the other is the Bee – an electric MG B. With a manual gearbox…

Where to start, eh? The grey MG here is the LE60, a car pitched as Frontline’s ‘most powerful, brutish and driver focused car ever built’. Which is pretty encouraging. The V8 has its roots in the iconic Rover motor, but it’s basically just the block that’s carried over; the 4.8 now has its own forged pistons, balanced steel crank, cylinder head, conrods – everything. The exhaust manifolds are unique to the LE60 engine, there are equal length headers, and the induction plenum has been designed by Frontline’s founder and Chief Engineer Tim Fenna. This is not just one more restored British classic with a V8 in it.

Performance ought to be more than ample. The LE60 produces 380hp and 297lb ft, enough for 0-60mph in something like four seconds and 170mph thanks to a kerbweight of 1,122kg. Power reaches the road via a new five-speed manual that combines both Tremec and Frontline hardware. That’s just the start of the reengineering, too. The LE60 uses a strengthened chassis, Nitron suspension, a new pressed steel body by British Motor Heritage to Frontline’s spec (i.e. much wider), massively upgraded brakes, the Dunlop-style wheels and more. That’s in addition to a completely overhauled interior tailored to the buyer’s taste in best restomod tradition, with upholstery done by Frontline’s in-house trim shop.

Looks good, huh? As in really, really good, an MG B drastically improved for bulking up and dechroming. Frontline will build just 30 LE60s (it’s sort of meant to celebrate 30 years of the company, too, though it was created in 1991), all coupes, and it’ll cost around £200k depending on spec. Bossman Fenna describes the LE60 as a “culmination of years of passion and dedication”. He continued: “It’s a testament to the art of restoration and enhancement, a harmonious blend of heritage and modernity. Our journey began over thirty years ago, and today, as we present these special cars, we celebrate every challenge surmounted, every detail perfected, and every dream realised.”

If anything, the green car here is probably even more significant for Frontline and the genre of reimagined classics. It’s battery powered, and known as the BEE (Roadster) and BEE GT Coupe, which stands for MG B EV Edition. Both employ a Hyper9 100v motor than can rev to 9,000rpm and a 40kWh battery, which is nothing out of the ordinary for an EV. What’s different for the Frontline car is the inclusion of a manual gearbox and the ability to rev like a combustion engine. Frontline says you can even heel and toe, with torque characteristics that aim to mimic an old school ICE as well. Which is nothing if not an interesting take on the electric classic car.

Fenna once more: “We resisted conventional EV conversion despite the demand until we were able to deliver a vehicle that delivered the Frontline drive and ethos, a vehicle that feels engaging and a pleasure to drive without compromise, yet meeting modern environmental changes. The results impressed us all and retaining the gearbox and carefully tuned electric motor that deliver an experience akin to a normal ICE car is incredible. We all absolutely love them and are so pleased we can offer such an innovative and incredible line-up of EV Editions.”

All sounds very exciting, and it gets better: PH has had a go in the new Frontline builds. Sadly we can’t tell you anymore about either until October, but there’s a video coming very soon on the LE60 (hopefully it doesn’t bust any embargoes to say V8s sound fantastic) and a drive on what sounds like a fascinating electric MG. The future of Frontline looks very bright indeed.

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