Traditional looks belie its status as the car maker’s first all-new model for 19 years
Morgan has unveiled a new £80,000 roadster, called Plus Six, as the first of a planned series of models to use the company’s brand-new ‘wide body’ aluminium chassis.
The Plus Six, shown for the first time at Geneva, retains the distinguishing features of the outgoing Plus 8 – flowing front wings, running boards, round headlights and the famous ‘waterfall’ grille – but is a new design in every detail.
The first all-new Morgan since the Aero 8, revealed 19 years ago, the Plus Six is powered by BMW’s latest B58 inline petrol turbo six producing 335bhp and driving through an eight-speed ZF paddle-shift automatic. There is a new Morgan-designed suspension, all independent by double wishbones in the front and a five-link system in the rear.
The new car is very light: its extra equipment and crash structure add almost nothing to the 1075kg kerb weight of the outgoing V8-powered Plus 8. This should make the Plus Six the fastest production Morgan in history, pushing the top speed into the 170mph bracket. Despite this, the CO2 output is an impressively low 170g/km.
Morgan has christened its new chassis CX, Roman numerals that mark the firm’s 110-year anniversary. The new structure uses the same bonded aluminium construction principles of its predecessor, but includes more sophisticated crash structures front and rear, and integrated rather than bolt-on suspension mountings for rigidity and weight saving.
The new CX chassis provides around 20cm more cockpit length to accommodate bigger drivers, allows bigger doors and leaves decent luggage space. The car’s length and width are almost identical to a Plus 8, but the wheelbase is 18mm longer. The body is supported according to Morgan tradition by an English-grown ash wood frame.
As per Morgan’s traditional nature, ABS is the only electronic driver aid on offer, although the firm says others can be specified later. Cockpit design is traditional, with the separate round tacho and speedo dials mounted centrally, but with a configurable TFT screen ahead of the driver.
Morgan will offer its usual wide choice of colours and textures with the Plus Six, and has just started building cars for a spring launch. Production is planned at around six cars a week and the company aims to have 200 Plus Sixes on the road by year-end. The first 50 will be fully loaded launch editions priced at £89,995, after which regular production will start.
Morgan really started something 19 years ago when it launched the Aero 8. Before that, every Mog had a somewhat archaic
twin-rail chassis with a live rear axle, which was fine for those who understood what they were buying but hardly progressive.
The Aero 8’s modern chassis and suspension showed that a new Morgan could drive like a modern car. Now the new Plus Six moves things much further forward than just 19 years. As well as underpinning today’s new flagship, the company’s new CX chassis will be the basis for the secret new mid-’20s super-coupé we exclusively revealed last year. The Plus Six is the rarest of cars, the beginning of a bold new generation. It looks familiar, but it’s very different.