The Morgan Plus Six starts a new chapter for the English boutique brand
Change is afoot at Morgan, the British automaker so wedded to tradition that it still uses wood frames and only now decided that perhaps turbochargers aren’t a passing fad.
The company just announced its first new model in 15 years, a lovely little roadster called the Plus Six that will ride on the company’s new aluminum CX platform and use a turbocharged BMW straight-six.
A big change for sure, but nothing compared to the other announcement out of Malvern: For the first time since H.F.S. Morgan founded the company in 1910, someone not named Morgan will be running things. Investindustrial, the Italian investment firm with holdings in everything from Aston Martin to plastics manufacturing to high-end shoes, just acquired a majority stake in the company. Neither company disclosed terms of the deal, which provides equity shared to every employee. Morgan said the partnership will allow it to “accelerate new product development after the launch of the new Plus Six.”
The new model replaces the Plus 8 as Morgan’s flagship, a change necessitated by the fact BMW stopped producing the V-8 engine found beneath the 8’s bonnet. The Plus Six get the turbocharged B58 engine found in the Z4 and its hardtop cousin, the Toyota Supra. This is the first time a Morgan has relied upon forced induction.
Although the Plus Six features the curvaceous, sweeping lines that would have fit well in the 1930s, the underlying platform is entirely new. It is slightly wider and longer than the Plus 8, with an aluminum platform the company claims provides 100 percent greater torsional rigidity. That said, the aluminum body still sits on a frame handcrafted from English ash, and still rides on the sliding pillar front suspension Morgan designed 110 years ago.
The engine makes 335 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, about 10 percent less than the V-8. You shouldn’t notice the deficit, though, because the Plus Six weighs a bit less than 2400 pounds. It sprints to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, shaving half a second from the Plus 8’s time. You can have any transmission you like, as long as it’s BMW’s eight-speed automatic. The shifter, by the way, looks totally out of place in the Morgan’s wonderfully old-fashioned cockpit. The loss of a manual transmission for a car from an old-world brand like Morgan is a tragic oversight.
You’ll find the leather-swaddled interior roomier than those in earlier models, and the Plus 6 gets a full-color LCD display. So much change at Morgan!
Anything this cool rarely comes cheap, and the Plus 6 starts at $102,524. No word yet on when, or if the car is headed to to the U.S. At the moment, the only Morgan sold new in North America is the 3-Wheeler.