Morgan Plus Six Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Thursday 5th October


What is it like to drive?

Within yards of pulling away you’ll realise just how much of a step change this is for Morgan. Steering that’s light and quick, suspension that breathes naturally with the road, a smooth gearbox that shuffles up through the gears quickly for maximum efficiency. Sound too sanitised? Then simply flick the gearbox into Sport (or better yet, start manually shifting with the paddles), drive with a bit more vigour and discover one of the wildest vehicles on sale.

This really is a car of two halves, one that exhibits tremendous manners when you drive it smoothly and a slightly deranged side when you don’t. Its 369lb ft peak inevitably proves itself as ‘plenty’ in a one-tonne car possessing diddly squat in terms of driving aids, meaning the driver is swiftly pulled into the process. It’s an all-consuming car to hustle along quickly, with lots of little slides to correct if you’ve kept it in a low gear but delightfully sharp and intuitive controls to do so with, not to mention a rich stream of communication keeping you informed of what’s afoot.

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The engine feels marvellous, too. I’d feared replacing the rumbly old V8 with a relatively mainstream BMW unit would sever the big Morgan’s character, but actually it freshens up the experience very smartly. Less weight up front helps it tuck more keenly into corners, and all that torque makes it much more thrilling as you power out of them.

A manual gearbox would doubtless add another layer to the experience, but the supremely short ratios of this eight-speed auto make it very easy to engage with the powertrain and ensure its sledgehammer power delivery feels even more immediate. And there’s more room for your left leg than normal in here…

It sounds belting, too, Morgan strapping on its own cackling, burbling exhaust system that makes the Z4 and Supra appear tame in comparison. Indeed, anyone upset about Toyota’s use of BMW power for its sports car would do well to try one of these to see just how visceral an engine it is with the shackles loosened.

All told, the Plus Six feels like a genuinely modern sports car, just one that’s forgotten to sign up to any of the electronic neutering we’re led to believe is necessary. But so smooth is the gearbox that if you pop it back into D and settle down a bit, this is an entirely friendly car to drive and a place you could while away several hours in relative comfort.

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A car whose character adjusts in tune with the driver’s behaviour, and not via the prodding of drive select buttons? It could catch on.

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