Last year, one of Britain’s oldest car makers entered a new, outward-looking modern era.
After the business had been owned and run by the Morgan family for more than a century, a controlling share of the Morgan Motor Company was bought by Italian-led venture capital firm Investindustrial (which also remains a minority shareholder in Aston Martin Lagonda). In the same year, the company’s first all-new model in decades entered production, based on a box-fresh aluminium platform and powered by an up-to-date turbocharged BMW engine never used by the Worcestershire-based outfit before.
That was the range-topping Morgan Plus Six, of course, and now along comes that car’s slightly smaller, cheaper, lighter and more traditional little brother to be examined, probed, measured and interrogated as part of our road test evaluation.
Tradition is a concept that lies at the core of any Morgan’s appeal and yet it is a word to be applied quite carefully to this car, because it is the first four-cylinder Morgan not to use the steel ladder-frame chassis first introduced with the Morgan 4/4 of 1936. As much as 84 years is a pretty decent innings for any model platform, to Morgan diehards who have favoured what have become known as the marque’s ‘trad’ roadsters, ‘traditional’ is clearly the last thing that the new Plus Four may seem.
The Plus Four still has four wheels and four cylinders, though. It uses a turbocharged BMW engine just like the bigger Plus Six – but, as we’re about to explain, the Plus Four’s ethos and its design cues are a bit more in line with Morgan’s classic English roadster recipe in other respects.