Geneva Motor Show 2019: Morgan Plus Six Is Your Supra In A Vintage Suit
Morgan has a strong stand at the Geneva International Motor Show with an almost entirely new car on display. Morgan Plus Six is another retro-styled roadster that features a Toyota-BMW co-developed straight-six motor for propulsion.
If you ask a Morgan representative how much of the new Plus Six is carried over from older models, you’ll get a quirky answer. There are only four components aboard the roadster that are not new. They’re the round metallic stoppers for the centre-hinged bonnet. Everything else is either new or completely redesigned.
Morgan had already admitted that the Plus 8 would be its last car to use a V8 engine. So expecting a V8 under that vented bonnet is sure to end in disappointment. However, Morgan has another, equally intriguing engine on offer with the Plus Six. It is a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six engine producing 335hp and 500Nm. If the numbers sound familiar, recall that this same engine powers both the new BMW Z4 and Toyota Supra A90.
Performance is not a priority
Aboard the Morgan Plus Six, the inline-six engine has to move around just 1,075kg. This helps the Plus Six to clock 267kph, and race past the ton in 4.2 seconds. Modern aerodynamics would shave off a few more tenths of a second and add a couple of klicks to the top speed. But you don’t buy a Morgan to beat lap records round a track. You buy it for the pure, simple joy of motoring. If it is accompanied by a sweet soundtrack from the straight-six, what’s to complain?
Also, the engine drives the rear wheels, and there are no safety systems to speak of except ABS. It’s just you, a car weighing a shade over a ton, and 335 horses to play with. There is a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox handling transmission duties and the same central gear selector as the Z4 and Supra. Sounds like fun?
Modern chassis under retro skin
The Morgan Plus Six is based upon an entirely new aluminium and ash architecture that should make its way to the firm’s next generation of cars. The platform is dubbed ‘CX’ and underpins a rather conventional Morgan at the moment. However, the company has radical plans concerning its future.
Hybrids, EVs, active safety systems, even basic autonomy- new Morgan cars will be able to adapt to whatever their maker, or the legislation, has in mind. The burning question is- does the Morgan Plus Six feel any different than a Z4 or Supra? “We worked very closely with BMW,” says Morgan’s design chief, Jonathan Wells. “Their engineers were very excited by the fact the engine isn’t concealed behind layers of sound deadening and interfering tech, and it’s very much a visceral engineering activity.”
Order books are open for the svelte turbo-six roadster, with each car taking four weeks to come to life.