What is it?
This is the latest iteration of the Morgan Plus 8, a car that now combines its traditional body shape with V8 power and a modern chassis. It is also a glimpse at Morgan’s future, as it demonstrates its capability of uniting old-school shapes with modern, cutting-edge technology.
While the experience is dominated by that body shape and the BMW-derived 4.8-litre V8, this car is of note because it was produced after the original Autocar road test midway through last year.
Showing the type of agility that only small car firms can (but rarely do), Morgan has responded by fitting an entirely new power steering system in response to our criticisms.
Unlike the auto on our road test car, this version is also fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox.
What's it like?
Charming and thrilling in equal measure, albeit it with a small dose of frustration thrown in.
First, though, the positives, because when all is said and done they are what really stand out.
The engine is a belter. From the bark on start up to the roar at higher revs it makes a noise to set the hairs on the back of your neck upright, while the real world performance of 0-60mph in about 4.5sec does everything to be the equal of it. Roof down, revs up, there is little on the market that will put a wider smile on your face.
That six-speed manual also helps. It’s action, and that of the clutch, is very heavy, but that firmness and directness is a positive, lending the car a heft that takes getting used to but which complements the engine’s meaty performance once mastered.
The revised steering system is also a qualified success. The once uncertain feel of the all-electric system is gone, replaced by a more dependable, and hydraulically assisted, if not sparkling, set-up.
As for the rest of the car, it is hard not to applaud Morgan’s ability to mould old and new tech. That a car that looks like this and that is built around a wooden frame can also be fitted with ABS and airbags is praiseworthy. That it can meet modern legislation and retain such charm is a lesson to other car makers.