*sort of. But who cares how tenuous the party is, when the cake looks this good?
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The Top Gear car review: Morgan Plus Four (2020)
For:As charming and unique as ever, now less likely to spit you into a hedge
Against:Over-excited steering, not cheap, engine could sound more interesting
What is it?
The new Morgan Plus Four is the Roberts DAB radio or the pastel-coloured, chrome-handled Smeg fridge of the car sphere: olde worlde aesthetic on the outside, up to date technology underneath. And no, ‘up to date’ isn’t a typo. This is the second of many Morgans, following its big bro the Plus Six, to be based on a new bonded aluminium ‘CX’ platform. Around 97 per cent of its components are new.
Fitted with a new 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged BMW engine, double wishbone suspension all round and a more commodious interior with such wizardry as automatic headlights, central locking, puddle lighting and a Bluetooth connection, this is nothing short of a revolution for the 110-year old company tucked away in the Malvern hills. Just as well… Morgan expects around two-thirds of the 1,000-or-so cars it aims to build per year to be Plus Fours.
Anyone not OK with dragging Morgan kicking and screaming into the 21st century, may I invite you to drive a pre-CX steel ladder chassis car in earnest. While fantastic fun, it’s also a bucking muddle of twist, shudder and axle tramp. By comparison, this new model is the very byword in sophistication.
The building blocks of its chassis are shared with the Plus Six, the differences are shorter double wishbone suspension, and skinnier tyres and wings, making it 78mm narrower overall. While the Six gets the same 335bhp 3.0-litre BMW straight-six as the Toyota Supra, the Four makes do with BMW’s single-turbo 255bhp four. Not quite the 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds snap of the Six, then, but 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds isn’t exactly shabby. That’s for the eight-speed auto version, but unlike the Six, you can save £2,000, sacrifice four tenths, and go for a six-speed manual instead. And you absolutely should.