8

The Murray T27 is the more recently produced battery-electric version of the Murray T25 built in concert with electric hardware maker Zytek.

Like its fossil-fuel twin, the compact and lightweight T27 electric city vehicle is designed to demonstrate Murray’s ingenuity in packaging and to lead the way in a new and extremely efficient method of car manufacture, called iStream.

The T27 is even more simple still than the uncomplicated T25; switch it on with the key, twist a round dashboard knob to get either forward or backward motion (with neutral in the middle) and release the parking brake with a ‘touch’ button on the dash.

Afterwards, simply press the accelerator, gingerly at first because initial acceleration is brisk. Eventually you’ll discover a detent roughly halfway through its travel to show when you’re being especially wasteful with battery energy. 

The T27 is a shade faster off the mark than the petrol-powered T25 thanks to the ‘max torque from zero’ characteristic of its 34bhp electric motor, but top speed is governed at 65mph. Be sensible and its surprisingly compact lithium ion battery will take you 100 miles before it demands a four-hour ‘fill’ through a domestic power socket.

Like the T25, the Murray T27 seems ideal for low-speed city running. Despite its short wheelbase and narrow track, The T27 does not prove fallible in its ride and handling characteristics at higher speeds. Fact is, the T27 and T25 simply feel ‘planted’ at all times, the T27 slightly more so because its centre of gravity is a little lower, courtesy of the low-mounted battery’s mass.

In ride quality terms, the suspension isn’t exactly soft, but it’s on the supple side of sporty, the obvious rigidity of the chassis providing a superb platform for the all-independent suspension.

Given the short wheelbase and short overhangs (zero rear, a hand span in front), you might expect lots of pitch, and over short suburban bumps there is indeed some of it. But the car’s pitch damping is truly brilliant. So is its general resistance to body roll, given the bump absorption capabilities. In an ideal world you may want slightly more direct steering, but Murray has opted to increase overall efficiency with power assistance. As it is, the system connects directly to the road.

Driving the T27 is seductive: even if someone embraces Murray’s designs and processes tomorrow, it will be a long time before cars like these become ordinary. 

Above all, the hope must be that any manufacturer who takes up the concept embraces Murray's delightful simplicity while preserving the T27's purity and avoiding cheap adornments.

The T25 and T27 undoubtedly have the capability to usher in a new age of automotive realism. They must be allowed to do it.

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    22 December 2014
    Entry-level diesel MPV shares its three-cylinder engine with Mini but, due to long gearing, lacks the authoritative punch of a convincing premium product
  • Car review
    17 December 2014
    The replacement for the CL grand tourer has some big boots to fill
  • Mercedes-Benz CLS 350 AMG Line Shooting Brake review
    First Drive
    16 December 2014
    Elegant, alluring and with some welcome improvements, but not good enough to lead the class
  • First Drive
    15 December 2014
    Hushed, flexible and remarkable value for money. Arguably more fit-for-purpose than any other ‘S’.
  • 2015 Mazda CX-3 review
    First Drive
    12 December 2014
    The Mazda CX-3 has style and substance, and deserves consideration for anyone wanting a compact urban SUV. Here’s hoping Mazda gets the price and equipment right