Morgan Plus Six: Geneva 2019

Sadly the corporate time machine is in use today - we're trying to bring Emerson Fittipaldi's hair back from the early 'seventies - so we won't be able to conduct any experiments with the Morgan Plus Six. Because what we'd really love to do is to send what we're told is an all-new car back in time to see if anybody noticed.

Its name answers the question of how Morgan plans to replace the recently retired Plus 8, and its sonorous BMW V8 engine. The Plus Six offers what looks certain to be a very similar driving experience but sits on a newly-developed chassis and uses BMW's B58 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine. As such, it is the first Morgan to leave the factory with a turbo engine. It produces 335hp, 32hp less than the 4.4-litre N62 V8 of the Plus 8 managed, but a reduction in mass to a svelte 1,075kg dry means that the Six is actually quicker, Morgan claiming a 4.2-second 0-62mph time compared to the Plus 8's 4.7.

But the more important statistic is probably the reduced price tag. Morgan has always struggled to sell its aluminium-chassis models in anything like the volumes it manages for its far older-tech classic line-up - the ones with chassis that stopped evolving in the late 1940s. The last-of-line 50th Anniversary Plus 8 cost a very serious £126,000; the Plus Six is a far more palatable £77,995 - or £89,995 in slightly plusher First Edition form.

While exterior design has changed to a modest extent that few people will immediately notice, the Plus Six sits on what is an almost entirely new platform. This CX architecture still uses the Lotus-like bonded aluminium construction that Morgan has been using since the late 1990s, but it is lighter and stronger - the company claims a 100 per cent improvement in torsional rigidity, which sounds like it should be impossible. Dimensions have been rejigged, too - at 3,890mm in length the Plus Six is 120mm shorter than the 8 was while its 2,510mm wheelbase is 20mm longer. Remarkably, Morgan reckons it has found 200mm of extra leg room as well, plus more luggage space; an indication of just how cramped the old car was.

Although Morgan claims that just one per cent of parts have been carried over from the old car, many of the fundamentals remain unchanged. Bodywork is still made hand-beaten alloy and is mounted to the chassis via an ash frame, similar to those the company has been using for more than a hundred years. That's one tradition the brand will almost certainly never get rid of.

Switching to the 3.0-litre engine makes plenty of sense, especially given the emissions-enforced retirement of the N62. But it does mean the Plus Six will miss the characterful wuffle that made spirited roof-down progress in the Plus 8 so much fun. It also seems to mean the loss of the manual gearbox, with the official release suggesting the Six will be auto-only using the eight-speed ZF transmission.

Plus Six buyers are also going to get an unprecedented level of tech for a "Moggy", including such fripperies as remote control central locking, automatic headlights and even a small digital display screen.

This isn't the first Morgan planned around a BMW six-cylinder engine. The Morgan Eva was going to be a four-seat coupe using an earlier version of the 3.0-litre unit. It was abandoned after the huge cost led to a boardroom putsch which saw the ousting of former boss Charles Morgan. The Plus Six is a far more traditional take, but it won't be the last car to use the platform, with Morgan having already told us it plans to launch pure electric models in the medium-term future. Tally ho!

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (99) Join the discussion on the forum

  • WolfAir 06 Mar 2019

    How is such a beauty not more popular?
    If I had to make a choice between this (or an aero 8) and say a Lamborghini Gallardo or Ferrari I would pick this.
    Or am I comparing wrong cars?

  • rix 06 Mar 2019

    That gear knob, in that car?? Sure the most deserving bit of investment for a bespoke item...

  • rare6499 06 Mar 2019

    Wow, this is a dream car for me. Absolutely stunning.

  • Numeric 06 Mar 2019

    For me a manual would be a must have in a Morgan - it is surely all about the 'Old Fashioned Charm' of the car and while I think this would have been on my lottery win list - that gear box, while utterly brilliant when I have used it - would just not suit the whole character of the experience I am seeking in a car like this.

    I am sure it is the best package they do - but mastering the thing must be much of the charm rather than point and squirt and let the box sort it out.

  • tonker 06 Mar 2019

    rix said:
    That gear knob, in that car?? Sure the most deserving bit of investment for a bespoke item...
    I was thinking that. All that retro. And a gearstick straight out of a repwagon. It’s jut electronic anyway, so surely not beyond the wit of man to engineer something a lot less obviously parts bin...

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