The Plus 8 sits alongside the other traditional roadsters, rather than the ‘modern’ Aero cars, in Morgan’s price list. But don’t be fooled. Yes, the hand-beaten aluminium bodywork mimics the traditional roadster’s (although it is somewhat bigger) and, to our eyes, it looks terrific.
But the new Plus 8 has the same BMW-sourced 367bhp V8 as the Aero coupé and Supersport, more than 1000 of which already ply the world’s highways. Naturally, it also gets the bonded and riveted aluminium chassis that has marked out the Aero 8 and all other Aero models since their inception in 2001.
The first Aeros were powered by a 4.4-litre BMW V8, which was some way advanced from the Rover unit that went into early Plus 8s. Since 2007, however, Aeros have been fitted with a 4.8-litre variant of the BMW engine, which the Plus 8 shares. It is mated to either a six-speed manual or six-ratio ZF automatic.
The Plus 8, at 4010mm long and 1751mm wide, may be the biggest traditionally styled Morgan to date, but the firm claims that it is the world’s lightest V8 production car to meet EU safety standards. Fully fuelled, our Plus 8 test car registered 1230kg on the weighbridge. That’s more than Morgan’s claim of 1100kg, but we weren’t particularly surprised – and certainly not disappointed – by the figure. Its 367bhp, we reckoned, would be more than enough.
Modern Morgans don’t come with a plethora of safety systems, but they get what you’d expect – and what Morgan needs for them to sell through its network of 10 dealers in the USA. ABS and airbags are standard and, while there’s no visible roll-over bar and you wouldn’t trust a toddler to sit on the windscreen lip without damaging it, the seats are reinforced.