The Morgan Plus Six
An entirely new Morgan. Seriously. It may look like almost every four-wheeled car in the company’s history, but this is a clean-sheet design, and every component – bar the metallic stoppers that keep the bonnet shut – is completely fresh.
One of the biggest headlines belongs to the powertrain. Where the outgoing Plus 8 used a 4.8-litre V8 from a bunch of old BMW saloons, the Plus Six utilises the same 3.0-litre straight-six as the new Z4 and a little-known, barely hyped sports car called ‘Toyota Supra’. It drives the rear wheels exclusively through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It hits 100 in 4.2secs on its way to a 270 kph top speed.
Yep, this is Morgan’s first ever turbocharged car, but despite the introduction of monstrous low-down torque, the Malvern company hasn’t fitted any of the traction control or mollycoddling stability systems you’ll find on the Z4 and Supra, with ABS the only technology you might call ‘assistance’. When you consider the Plus Six weighs just 1,075kg, too – over 400kg down on its engine buddies – then you have the recipe for quite a boisterous driving experience.
This really is a car of two halves, one that exhibits tremendous manners when you drive it smoothly and a slightly deranged side when you don’t. Its 500 Nm peak torque inevitably proves itself as ‘plenty’ in a one-tonne car possessing diddly squat in terms of driving aids, meaning the driver is swiftly pulled into the process.
The engine feels marvellous, too. I’d feared replacing the rumbly old V8 with a relatively mainstream BMW unit would sever the big Morgan’s character, but actually it freshens up the experience very smartly. Less weight up front helps it tuck more keenly into corners, and all that torque makes it much more thrilling as you power out of them.
It sounds belting, too, especially with our optional sports exhaust fitted. Indeed, anyone upset about Toyota’s use of BMW power for its sports car would do well to try one of these to see just how visceral an engine it is with the shackles loosened.
The Plus Six feels like the car to sate the need of anyone twiddling thumbs waiting for TVR to launch the Griffith. It exhibits a wonderfully wild streak when you really grab it with both hands and go for a drive, one that might satisfy and scare you in equal measure.
This is a Morgan that feels precise, honed, poised. Like it’s actually been developed. By an engineering team. Madness.