Visually, it seems that the most significant change to this new Morgan’s design relates to the badging on its rear, where the previous ‘Plus 4’ lettering now reads ‘Plus Four’.
This tweak in nomenclature is no doubt intended to subtly hint at the sea change that has taken place beneath the skin (Morgan claims that 97% of its parts are new) and subtly mark this two-seat sports car out as being a product of the firm’s bold new era. In any case, the Plus Four’s gorgeous post-war design remains as idiosyncratically Morgan as ever – much to the approval of our testers and the general public alike.
Beneath it all, the steel ladder-frame chassis that underpinned Morgan’s four-cylinder sports cars for more than eight decades has been replaced by the firm’s new CX-Generation architecture. This bonded aluminium platform is not only lighter than that which came before it (weighing just 98kg), but it is demonstrably stronger, too. In fact, with a torsional rigidity of 4377N/ mm, it’s 100% stiffer even than the aluminium chassis that previously underpinned Morgan’s cross-eyed Aero supercar.
Of course, Morgan’s iconic ash timber frame remains, sitting atop the new platform and forming the foundation on which much of the cockpit, doors and rear body panels are then assembled. Just upstream sits the new BMW powerplant. The longitudinally mounted B48 four-cylinder motor belongs to Munich’s TwinPower engine family and is related to the motor that appears in the 330i saloon.
Here, it develops 255bhp at 5500rpm and as much as 295lb ft of torque when paired with BMW’s eight-speed automatic transmission. In the case of our six-speed manual test car, however, that figure is capped at 258lb ft, which arrives at the rear wheels at 1450rpm. In any event, that should make for a fair amount of punch in a car that weighs a claimed 1013kg.
Stopping power comes courtesy of ventilated disc brakes front and rear, and ABS has been included for the first time. Curiously for a car that seems to champion a more analogue approach to motoring, Morgan has fitted electronic power steering to this latest Plus Four. Emissions regulations and a desire to make the car more marketable in the US were probably key influences in this regard.