Pros: standout design, engaging driving experience
Cons: limited space inside
The new Morgan Plus Four is a car that transcends time. Its classic styling harks back to a different era, one of hand-crafted bodies and driving that was as much about the journey as the destination. And then you notice the automatic gear shifter that’s identical to what you’ll find in the latest BMW (not shown in our pictures), and you begin to realise that this isn’t your typical classic car.
Morgan Plus Four Design
Over the last number of decades, the Morgan Motor Company, as it’s officially known, hasn’t done a great deal to alter the look of its cars. It has, after all, something of a design icon on its books and the Plus Four that you see here is the very latest and best iteration of this roadster design.
Its two-seat layout sees both driver and passenger seated right back almost over the rear axle, leaving a long bonnet extending ahead of the snug cabin. It’s not an especially large car, but with such uninterrupted visibility, the Plus Four is incredibly easy to place on the road.
A big part of what Morgan does is offer a customisation service that allows buyers to choose from a dizzying array of colours and interior trims. Exterior details such as spoked wheels, Cibie fog lights and more can all be customised.
Putting up (or retracting) the fabric roof is the work of a moment, but is made easier with two people. Side windows for the doors are supplied in a useful carry bag, but they’re best left off to fully enjoy the driving experience.
Morgan Plus Four Interior
There isn’t a great deal to see or do inside the compact Plus Four. This car is about driving and enjoying all that goes with that. As you ease yourself in over what must be the smallest doors of any current production car and slide into the seats, the dash and steering wheel are right before you. Ergonomically it feels similar to a Mazda MX-5 with wheel and gear selector within easy reach.
The BMW-sourced auto shifter does look a bit incongruous in such a classically-styled cabin, but it gets the job done. You can have a manual gearbox if you prefer. Simplicity is the name of the game inside: a small digital display in front of the driver can show speed and other relevant info and is braced by fuel and temperature gauges. A central cluster holds the rev counter, speedometer and a clock, along with the controls for the ventilation.
An absence of touchscreen displays seems odd in today’s modern world, but it is equally refreshing in a car such as this. We would like if the switchgear and controls had a higher quality to them given the car’s price, though. Storage is at a premium inside, with some space behind the seats for a couple of soft overnight bags. Morgan offers a luggage rack that goes onto the rear of the car over the spare wheel for longer trips.
Morgan Plus Four Performance & Drive
Morgan has called upon the services of BMW to supply both the engine and transmission for the Plus Four. The 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit is similar to what can be found in cars like the BMW 330i, and it produces 258hp and 400Nm, which, in a car that tips the scales at just over 1,000kg, makes for scintillating performance.
In the past, Morgan cars didn’t always enjoy a reputation for being the sharpest steer on the road, but with this modern Plus Four, the driving experience is engaging and rewarding. Some recalibration of driving style is required, in part due to how you sit so far back from the nose. The ride is firm but not uncomfortable and in general the Plus Four is lithe on the road, while the steering response is fast and accurate, keeping you involved and engaged at all times.
Having the automatic does make longer drives a touch easier if you don’t want to be working the gears yourself, but switching it into its Sport setting and using the paddle shifters does show a different side to the Plus Four that will surprise many drivers. Little provocation is needed to make the Morgan move around and it’s easy to instigate some controllable oversteer should you so desire.
Morgan Plus Four Pricing
Generally speaking, a new Plus Four will cost in the region of €100,000. Beyond that it depends on how you want to have the car specified.
Carzone Verdict: 4/5
What makes the Morgan Plus Four such a unique car is that it is ostensibly a classic car but with new, modern underpinnings. So, you won’t have the potential hassle of fettling an old car to keep it on the road and you get the benefit of what is quite a punchy engine and performance that results in a car that’s seriously good fun to drive.