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Morgan responds to the criticisms of our 2012 road test of the Plus 8 with this latest version

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.

The Aero-derived chassis contributes to all-in car weight of around 1100kg before options. It is assembled from a kit of 32 panels, which are glued together and then riveted for extra strength, before being cured in a two-stage heating process. Those aluminium panels are then supported by an ash frame, which lends the car both its light weight and decent rigidity.

The end result is a chassis that has a more than reasonable balance. Corner hard and there’s a touch of initial understeer followed by a touch of oversteer. Even on Aero-sourced 19-inch wheels it rides acceptably.

Foibles? There are a few. A cloth roof introduces inevitable compromises, the door locks are near-pointless and a frustration to operate — and the fuel filler seems angled solely to provoke the automatic spillage cut-off to kick-in. For brief moments they can make you wonder why you’d spend more than £70,000 on such a car.

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Should I buy one?

Be assured, though, those moments of doubt are fleeting. This car exudes charm and is a thrill to drive when the engine’s roaring. The steering and chassis are decent. Sure, the interior finish and general ergonomics aren’t great, but if you’ve taken the decision to buy a Morgan Plus 8 the chances are you will have accepted that already.

And if you are thinking about it, my advice would be to take the plunge. It’s not an everyday car, but it is an extraordinary one. Add it to a diverse garage and use it when appropriate and you will return home smiling every single drive.

Morgan Plus 8

Price £85,200; 0-62mph 4.5sec; Top speed 155mph; Economy 23mpg; CO2 256g/km; Kerb weight 1100kg; Engine V8, 4799cc, petrol; Power 390bhp; Torque 370lb ft; Gearbox 6-speed manual

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Comments
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madmac 10 July 2013

Singer?

You think this is a lot "for a throwback"? What about a Singer 911 ? For this $ I would prefer a 4S Cabrio but would Love a Speedster.

 

haji 10 July 2013

i see an aircon botton on the

i see an aircon botton on the dash but where does the cold air come out from??

Marv 9 July 2013

I want one!!!

It just looks so appealing!

I actually looked at 2nd hand prices and found a 35th anniversary 4.0 V8 going for £50k. It looked amazing with its wire wheels.

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