The Plus Six is the first Morgan with a turbocharged engine, an inline-six that makes the Six actually faster than the outgoing V-8–powered Plus 8.
Brace yourselves, Morgan fans, but the Plus Six has automatic headlights, air vents in the dashboard-previously considered too modern for a Morgan-and even a small digital display screen.
Compared to other automakers, Morgan moves on a glacial time scale. The English sports-car maker is still making the 4/4, a car that was first introduced as long ago as 1936, and its Worcestershire, England, factory has become a tourist destination as visitors flock to see how cars are made by hand. So the arrival of what is pretty much an entirely new model is a significant milestone for the 110-year-old brand.
Not that you are likely to see any obvious differences between the Plus Six, which is making its debut at the Geneva auto show, and any of the company's other products. Morgan customers expect their cars to look like Morgans, even if the underpinnings have been substantially upgraded. As its name hints, the Plus Six effectively replaces the recently departed Morgan Plus 8 (we drove the last-of-its-line version last year), swapping its predecessor's brawny N62 BMW V-8 for that company's B58 turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six. As such, it is the first Morgan to leave the Pickersgill Lane factory with a turbocharged engine.
Power output has fallen slightly. The Plus Six has 335 horsepower, 32 horsepower less than the V-8 made. But a reduction in the car's weight to what Morgan claims is a very svelte 2370 pounds, plus the turbo engine's lower, fatter torque curve and a standard-fit ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, means that the Six is actually faster. Morgan claims a 4.2-second zero-to-62-mph time, compared with 4.5 seconds for the manual Plus 8.
The weight loss is attributable to what Morgan is calling an all-new platform, dubbed CX by the company, which is will also underpin other future models, including at least one EV. This still uses the Lotus-style bonded aluminum construction that the brand has used for its fancier models since 2001, but Morgan says that just 1 percent of parts have been carried over from the Plus 8. The company claims significant improvements in strength as well as mass, with the Plus Six's chassis being a remarkable 100 percent more torsionally rigid than that of the Plus 8. Traditionalists shouldn't worry; the bodywork is still made from hand-formed alloy, mounted to a frame that mates to the chassis which is made out of ash timber. Some of the company's archaic methods are too culturally important to be changed.
The Plus Six is shorter than the 8 was-153.1 inches overall means a 4.7-inch reduction over the 8-but its 98.8-inch wheelbase is 0.8 inch longer than before. Morgan also claims it has found 7.8 inches of extra legroom as well as more luggage space, an indication of just how unspacious the old car was. Twenty-first-century equipment has also arrived; this is the first Morgan to have remote central locking, automatic headlights, and even a small digital display screen. It also gains air vents in the dashboard, something the brand has previously regarded as being rather too modern for its products.
We will have to wait for word on U.S. sales. Morgan already sells its 3 Wheeler in several states that classify it as a motorcycle rather than a car, and the brand has previously told us it hopes also to bring four-wheel models across the Atlantic again. We await word on whether the Plus Six could lead that charge.
For buyers in Europe, the better news is a substantial reduction in price; while the last-of-the-line 50th Anniversary Plus 8 cost the equivalent of a very serious $166,000, the Plus Six will start at about $103,000 at current exchange rates, or about $119,000 in slightly plusher First Edition form. Tally ho!
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