This retro looking car certainly makes a statement on the streets, but is it worth the hefty price tag? We asked Erin Baker, Editorial Director at Auto-Trader, to explain what makes this ride so special
This oddball British sportscar manufacturer, based in Malvern, Worcestershire, has been building the two-seat Morgan Plus Four sports car for half a century. With its Fifties charm, and niche appeal it certainly makes a statement. But what exactly does it say?
It’s not cheap. In fact, it’s eye-wateringly expensive. We know it’s handcrafted in Malvern by a tight-knit group of loyal employees taking time and care etc, but £78,369 for a two-seater with very little luggage space and no creature comforts? We’d rather take a £25,000 Caterham Seven for etc same thrills and a £40,000 BMW 3-Series for practicality and comfort. Odd to reference a BMW in this context? Read on…
The design is unashamedly retro, harking back to a Wind in the Willows and Enid Blyton era of running boards and parp-parp Mr Toad motoring on England’s highways and byways.
The view through the windscreen is fabulous, a long cream bonnet stretching away down the road, curling up over the wheels. Three little old-fashioned windscreen wipers sweep the glass window.
But the inside is bare and unwelcoming, with a long bare black glossy transmission tunnel housing the massive BMW automatic gear-lever (yuck. A manual is available), a black steering wheel that looks like it’s missing badges, a 90s, basic, square digital display behind the wheel for speed and three large analogue dials with tiny figures on them that you struggle to read. We had a mulberry-tone leather inside but the combo with the black was too dark.
There’s very little on board – again, why not have a Caterham, in that case? No radio, no smartphone connection, no satnav, nothing. Optional extras consist of things like embroidered headrests, puddle lighting and air-con, but we’d rather have a DAB radio really.
The suspension is more compliant than it used to be, so your teeth don’t rattle when you go over broken surfaces. But it’s loud and drafty, which Morgan Plus Four owners love, but we don’t. With the rood down, on a sunny day, it’s nicer, and you can even remove the door panels to have the total Morgan wind-in-hair experience which is much fun, but with roof up it’s the opposite, especially on a motorway in the dark, where we found ourselves – the blind spot is awful – when changing lanes you have to shut your eyes and pray there’s no car you haven’t seen right by your side.
This is the only fun part, really. Under that Morgan Plus Four bonnet there’s a BMW 2.0-litre engine with a turbo which woofles and puffs joyously in the open air, and you shoot off down the road at a sporty lick which is giggle-inducing. It has 255 horsepower but weighs little more than a tonne so the result is rapid acceleration: 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds, and that’s proper sports-car territory. If only the rest of it was.