Auto Shows 2021 Morgan Plus Four First Look: Morgan’s Modern Classic

20:10  03 march  2020
20:10  03 march  2020 Source:   motortrend.com

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At first glance, the 2021 Morgan Plus Four looks just like the car Britain's quirkiest automaker launched 70 years ago. But underneath the retro styling is an automobile bristling with 21st century hardware. The new Plus Four is built on a bonded aluminum platform, has multilink suspension front and rear, and is powered by the same TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder engine that sees service in BMW's 330i sedan. For years Morgans looked old-fashioned because… they were. Now they look old-fashioned because that's how people expect them to look.

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The new Plus Four is built on the bonded aluminum CX-Generation platform—so named because it made its debut as Morgan celebrated its 110th anniversary—that also underpins the six-cylinder Plus Six revealed at last year's Geneva Motor Show. The platform weighs just 214 pounds, helping contribute to an overall vehicle weight of less than 2,300 pounds, but, more critically, it also delivers a significant improvement in rigidity over the previous car's steel ladder chassis, which has allowed engineers to more finely tune ride and handling.

a car parked on the side of a road © Motor Trend Staff

The 2.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo engine under that vintage-style louvered hood develops 255 hp, enough to propel the Plus Four to a claimed 149 mph. Two different torque outputs are specified—295 lb-ft if the engine is hooked up to the eight-speed automatic transmission and 258 lb-ft when combined with the six-speed manual.

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The new Plus Four is the first four-cylinder Morgan to be available from the factory with an automatic transmission and the first Morgan with the CX-Generation platform to be fitted with a manual. (The Plus Six is only available with the eight-speed auto.) With more torque—and an 8.8-pound weight advantage—the automatic Plus Four is the quicker of the two to 60 mph, Morgan says, taking about 4.7 seconds for the sprint, compared with the manual car's 5.1 seconds or so.

a small blue car: 2021 Morgan Plus Four 12 © Motor Trend Staff 2021 Morgan Plus Four 12

The 2020 Plus Four also marks the debut of wire wheels on a CX-Generation-platform Morgan. Getting the 15-inch low-offset wheels, which will be available in silver, black, or polished finish, to fit required a redesign of the suspension and brake components. A new 15-inch alloy wheel that recalls 1960s and '70s designs will also be available.

Morganatics will know that four-cylinder cars have always had a narrower body than the larger-engine models and will therefore be relieved to hear the new Plus Four maintains that tradition. Compared with the Plus Six, the Plus Four is 4.1 inches narrower across the central body section and 3.1 inches narrower overall.

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Standard equipment includes LED lighting front and rear, remote central locking, anti-lock brakes, power steering, and a mohair top. Options include puddle lighting and an audio system with Bluetooth connectivity. The Plus Four goes on sale in Britain today, priced from the equivalent of $80,500 for the manual, with the first deliveries expected before midyear.

Morgans have long been an acquired taste, not the least because of their old-fashioned design and engineering. The design remains old-fashioned, but the engineering underneath has now been updated to the point where the new Plus Four (along with the Plus Six) doesn't have to be treated like a classic car. Indeed, after the cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show, Morgan head of design Jon Wells and lead digital designer Michael Smith flew to Switzerland to drive the show car more than 1,000 miles back to the U.K. for today's reveal at the factory.

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