I think that for a powerful car (especially one with a the the great low engine speed torque of a direct injection, petrol, turbo engine) front biased, four wheel drive gives considerable benefits both in the dry - no wheel spin on a full power take off, or low gear, full power overtaking - and superior traction in the wet - just look at Golf Type R wet weather laps times.
If the 217 BHP version of the MG GS comes, then 4 x 4 for me!
I think that you get far more control with a manual car - right gear at the right time rather than waiting for an auto to periodically, inadvertently put you in too low or too high a gear for the circumstances, so manual for me!
I thought that MG stood for "Safety Fast". Offering ceramic bakes as standard on the MG GS seems to show this intent. If that is the case, why not offer four wheel drive also, with all its benefits.
Also, why would GKN spend a reputed billion pounds on their far eastern facilities if they thought there was no market for both their two wheel and four wheel drive systems developed specifically for the MG GS.