It is so nice to have Morgan still building cars the old-fashioned way. Their flagship vehicle was the Plus Eight, powered by a 4.9-litre BMW V8 engine. Now that BMW has moved on to a smaller twin-turbo V8 to keep emissions down, Morgan’s built a new car. The new Plus Six. It was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. Built on an all-new platform, this car is a revolution in vehicle dynamics for Morgan.
The Plus Six features a six-cylinder engine, the beloved B58 from BMW. It inhales through a twin-scroll turbocharger. The transmission is a very familiar ZF 8-speed automatic. The same setup as the new Z4 and the Toyota Supra (amongst many other cars). The joystick gear lever is a dead giveaway but in the 21st century, we take what we get in old-school technology. Fortunately, there’s a lot of it on this car.
The amalgamation of pre-war and modern-day functionality is what impresses us about Morgan. There is still wood in the chassis. Speakers in the doors are hidden. Central locking and puddle lamps are considerate additions. The interior is mainly the traditional wood and leather, but it does leave a slightly confused feel when it comes to the steering wheel and gearstick. We would have loved to have seen a more traditional wooden steering wheel to compliment a little more of its heritage.
The engine produces 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, enough to accelerate to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. In a car with no roof and spindly A-pillars. Is this the daily driver’s Morgan? It’s certainly a car that makes you look for excuses to drive it. And the Plus Six really does tick a lot of boxes for daily driving – it gets 38 mpg and produces just 170 g/km – the most efficient Morgan in the lineup. However, it still has a very fiddly roof and a few quirks that would prevent it from being a true daily driver. But let’s be honest, a drive in a Morgan is and always should be an occasion, that’s a box it certainly ticks!
Most of the changes in the driving experience are down to the new chassis. The CX-generation underpinnings are made of aluminium with some wooden bits. Torsional rigidity is up by 100% and makes the rear end more eager and progressive in the corners. Unlike other cars using the same engine and gearbox, the Morgan has an open differential and no drivers aids such as traction control. It is considerably lighter too. This certainly makes the car much more energetic and a fun vehicle to drive and keep in check when you are pushing on.
The company instils salt-of-the-earth craftsmanship into its vehicles. Now, that finesse follows in the engineering of the dynamics as well. The rear is noticeably soft – every corner is a slow, delicate process. You turn the car in as it rolls and shifts its weight, and when the roll-bars are loaded up, you can call for a punch from the turbos as you attack the apex.
The Plus Six has a unique exhaust note which rumbles sweetly at lower revs. The engine noise gets overtaken by an intake whoosh at higher revs. People will almost certainly miss the Eight for this. It is worth remembering that times are changing and emissions regulations are getting stricter. It is about retaining an experience from a very different generation. It’s good to see Morgan facing these challenges head on thought and keeping the icon on our roads in these changing times. The changes have also opened up the market somewhat for Morgan and has increased interest from countries who have never been able to accommodate Morgan in the past due to strict emission regulations. We look forward to seeing what comes next!