From £91,1458

Traditional looks and contemporary tech combine in updated six-cylinder roadster

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All is not as it seems at the Morgan Motor Company.

This quintessentially English car maker is largely owned by an Italian firm and has an Italian CEO, its cars are powered by German engines and the ash wood for its frames comes from… a forest in Leicestershire.

The Plus Six is instantly quick, picking up from dawdling speeds with real swiftness. It is not a car that needs to be driven at all hard to go fast, or to feel enlivening for its outright pace

Well, some things aren’t so different after all. But in order to continue providing the slice of ye olde English motoring that Morgan specialises in, it has had to evolve with the times. As a result, current Morgans are much more modern than they might appear.

Although they didn’t look it (which was entirely the point), the Morgan Plus Four and Plus Six were totally new when they were introduced in 2020, with a new bonded aluminium spaceframe and a pair of emissions-friendly BMW engines.

While Morgan doesn’t follow the same new-model-facelift churn as mainstream car brands, it has in the past four years identified a number of areas for improvement, including some that we remarked on in our early tests of the cars.

We road tested the current Plus Four shortly after its launch (12 August 2020), but we’ve never strapped the timing gear to the 335bhp Plus Six, so let’s do that now and see if the updates hit the spot.

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The range at a glance

Plus Four255bhp£71,830
Plus Six335bhp£90,390

The Morgan range is easy to understand, because there are just three models: the three-wheeled Super 3 and the Plus twins.

The Plus Four has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder and the Plus Six a 3.0-litre six, both from BMW. The Plus Four can be had with either a manual or automatic gearbox, but the Plus Six is automatic-only. Although the two share a bonded aluminium chassis, the Plus Six has a wider body.


morgan plus 8 02 panning

Morgan calls its bonded and riveted aluminium spaceframe the CX platform, referring to the company’s 110th anniversary year in Roman numerals.

And before you ask: no, the aluminium doesn’t come from a tree. Morgan does still employ ash wood to hold the aluminium body panels, because it says that wood is the best material to support the car’s distinctive curves. All the strength comes from the chassis, however.

The four-cylinder Plus Four and six-cylinder Plus Six look the same at a glance, but the Six is wider overall, with most of that width in the middle of the car, rather than just a wider track. That way it benefits interior space. You can also identify the Six by its larger wheels.

Power still comes from the familiar BMW 2.0-litre B48 inline four in the Plus Four and 3.0-litre B58 inline six in the Plus Six – the same as you might find in a BMW 2 Series Coupe (specifically the 230i and M240i), albeit slightly detuned in the case of the Morgan.

Over the past few years, the Plus cars have had two fairly extensive rounds of upgrades. The first, in 2021, included a redesign of the hood to make it less fiddly, the option of upgraded Comfort Plus seats and a sports exhaust and the addition of some USB ports. More profound changes arrived in 2023, including an interior redesign and a host of chassis tweaks.

Suspension is by double wishbones front and rear, as before. However, the dampers and bushes have been changed for more compliant items. The front brakes have also been upgraded. Now by AP Racing, the discs have grown from 315mm to 332mm.

The more significant news is that Morgan has worked with Continental to develop a traction and stability control system, in addition to the ABS that the CX-generation cars had from launch. Morgan has been on a safety drive with the latest Plus cars, as it has also redesigned the dashboard to accommodate a pair of airbags.


morgan plus 8 12 interior

The biggest interior change compared with earlier Plus Sixes comes from the fitting of those airbags. That has required a redesign of the dashboard, although it’s sympathetic enough that you probably wouldn’t notice if you’re not intimately familiar with the pre-update style. The steering wheel always looked like it had an airbag in it anyway.

The main dashboard panel, available in black, silver or body-colour aluminium, is now flat, with the space formerly taken up by a cubby now filled by the passenger airbag. There is at least a small glovebox to compensate.

The centre of the dashboard is still taken up by the analogue clock, tacho and speedo. The latter is mostly ornamental in practice, as you tend to glance at the subtly enlarged digital display in front of you, but then a Morgan is the kind of car that’s complemented by a bit of ornamentation.

The push buttons for the secondary controls work well enough, as do the rotary knobs for the heating and ventilation. That said, it’s odd that there are no telltales of how high or low you’ve set the fan and heating; you need to look at the driver’s display for that.

It’s unfortunate that Morgan hasn’t taken the opportunity to find an alternative for the PSA-sourced shift paddles and column stalks. We like the column-mounted paddles in Ferraris and Alfa Romeos, because they’re big and satisfying to use, but the flimsy plastic ears in the Morgan can be hard to find when you have some steering lock on. Equally, the stalks feel out of step with the obvious craftsmanship in the rest of the interior.

And rest assured, there is plenty of that. You can choose from a range of veneers for the centre console and the rail under the dashboard, the leather feels wonderfully soft and in this updated model there’s more scope to mix things up with some interesting fabrics, which now line redesigned door cards.

Overall, this is a superbly designed interior, one that is the antithesis of the modern trend of hitting you over the head with technology. Instead, this does have the essentials (air-con, heated seats and a Bluetooth speaker system are optional) but hides them from view.

It also provides you with a classic sports car driving position: low, with your legs outstretched and the steering wheel (adjustable for rake and reach) close to your chest. Unusually, it favours taller drivers, who have an abundance of leg room. Shorter testers complained that the steering wheel was slightly too close for comfort.

The seats are manually adjustable, and the lever for the backrest has been repositioned to be easier to reach. On the Comfort Plus seats in our test car, there were two hand pumps for the lumbar and thigh support. They proved quite comfortable but caused some slight upper backache on very long drives. 

For those long drives, you will need to pack carefully, because there is no boot as such. The shelf behind the seats forms the main storage area and will hold a pair of soft bags. For anything more, you will either need to kick out your passenger or go for the optional luggage rack.

Multimedia system

An infotainment system? In a Morgan? Well, sort of. There are no touchscreens to be found here, but one of the headline changes for 2023 was the option of a Sennheiser audio system. You don’t get any speakers as standard, the basic Bluetooth speaker system is £395 and the Sennheiser system costs £2995.

Sound comes from four conventional speakers in the doors and the rear storage area, and four invisible speakers, of which three are behind the dashboard and one in the lower compartment panel for the bass.

The trouble is that no matter how good the audio system might be, it’s always fighting a losing battle with wind noise in a Plus Six. At low speeds, it’s genuinely pleasurable, but on the motorway you have to strain to understand a podcast.

The Bluetooth connection proved simple and reliable, and although we found the hidden volume under the dashboard slightly odd, it does the job.


morgan plus 8 19 engine

The Plus Six’s performance figures are a lesson in the power of lightness and aerodynamics.

It has the same engine and eight-speed automatic gearbox as the Toyota GR Supra that we tested in 2019. While the Toyota weighed 1495kg on our scales, the Morgan weighs just 1188kg.

Launching the Plus Six cleanly in the wet takes a little practice, because once the engine hits its powerband, it’s easy to convert the power to wheelspin in first through third gear. Things are easier after that, as the engine doesn’t care very much when you shift up, being all about the mid-range.

The Supra got away more cleanly in the dry, but the Plus Six quickly catches up, and the two recorded identical 0-60mph times of 4.4sec. In better conditions, the Morgan would likely dip under 4.0sec. To 100mph, the Plus Six takes nearly 1.5sec out of the Supra, but to 130mph the gap starts to close again as the Morgan runs into an aerodynamic wall.

Exceeding 100mph in a Plus Six is also a little more adventurous than in most performance cars. It feels perfectly stable and planted, but the handbook also recommends not to drive at “excessive speeds with the hood and sidescreens up”. An open-air 140mph is quite the experience, particularly since any light drizzle is sucked onto the inside of the windscreen; make sure to have a rag at the ready.

Back on the road, it’s a wonderful powertrain that, liberated of the kilos of the cars it normally powers, punches all the harder. The way the sports exhaust adds a bit of raspiness to the almost overly refined base character of the engine, without making it too shouty, makes it a must-have. It can occasionally sound a little like a V6 in the mid-range, but that’s not the worst thing in the world.

Morgan has tweaked the software for the gearbox so that it’s keener to downshift in automatic mode and to give it a sportier calibration in the sport modes. In the standard D mode, it seems to try to emulate a Porsche PDK, rifling through the lower gears somewhat forcefully but not clumsily, signalling some sporting intent. In the sport modes, it’s more alert and will downshift while braking, but it doesn’t hold onto gears unnecessarily. It’s better resolved than in many mainstream cars. Responses are good in manual mode, too.

hen they first go for the brake pedal, some drivers may be slightly put off by how much pressure it requires, as the brakes feel almost unassisted. However, those more familiar with other lightweight sports cars will feel at home and appreciate how easy to modulate the Morgan’s brakes are. The ABS functioned impeccably well too, stopping the car from high speed with no drama whatsoever.


morgan plus 8 03 rear tracking

If the Plus Six looks a bit like a luxury Caterham, that’s not entirely how it drives. It inevitably shares some traits with the lightweight hero, chiefly the sensation of sitting deep in the chassis and on the back axle, while the steered wheels feel as if they are in the next county.

However, the electric power steering, less rigid chassis and not-quite-featherlight kerb weight mean the Plus Six can’t manage the same levels of precision and feedback, putting it midway between a classic and a more modern roadster. And that’s not a bad place for the Morgan to live.

By modern standards, the medium-weighted steering is rather slow for a sports car, and it’s not bursting with feedback. There’s just enough, however, and the response is linear, which hasn’t always been the case with Morgans. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do, it gives you enough confidence to push on. Testers who had also driven the Plus Four did report that the lighter front end made it sweeter to steer, with more natural build-up of weight and less delayed responses.

The Plus Six isn’t especially firmly sprung, so it takes bumpy roads in its stride despite not being over-endowed with suspension travel. Large wheels and some chassis flex conspire to make the ride moderately brittle – certainly more so than on the Plus Four.

Comfort & Isolation

Two and a half stars will seem unfair to the Morgan faithful, who would argue that what we’re about to say describes intrinsic aspects of the British roadster experience. But quite simply, someone used to their BMW Z4 or Porsche 718 Boxster may be in for a shock with a Plus Six.

The hood, while much easier to erect and stow than previous iterations, is still quite fiddly, with its catches that don’t line up perfectly every time, and the way it wants to be folded a particular way. It heightens one’s appreciation for the simple and ultra-user-friendly hood in Mazda’s MX-5. It’s also quite a thin piece of fabric that lets in plenty of road and wind roar, hence why our noise reading at 70mph was lower with the car’s top down (it was admittedly quite a windy day).

The sidescreens are removable, but even with them in place, the Morgan’s cabin is draughty and not entirely watertight when driven in heavy rain. The air-con does a good job at stopping the windows from misting up and the heater is reasonably strong. However, the Plus Six only has two vents in the centre console, so it’s possible for your left arm to be roasting, your right arm freezing in the draught.

With all that said, the high-speed ride and the seats are mostly comfortable, and at least there’s a roof, a heater and an (optional) sound system, so long-distance touring and even daily usage don’t require great commitment, unlike with an Ariel Atom or a Caterham.


morgan plus 8 01 front tracking

A Morgan is a low-volume, specialist, hand-built car: the firm made only around 700 cars in 2023, with about 30% of those Plus Sixes.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that a Plus Six is more expensive than more mainstream alternatives. Prices start at £90,390, but it’s safe to assume that an option-free Plus Six doesn’t exist. Our test car, which seems fairly typically specified, was £109,960.

A BMW Z4 with the same engine needn’t cost more than £60,000. Then again, you don’t need to go too crazy with the options to turn a 718 Boxster GTS 4.0 into a £90,000 proposition. Morgans also hold their value exceptionally well. CAP doesn’t have any data, but a look at the classifieds suggests a four-year-old one is still worth £70,000.

ven so, finance remains fairly expensive. For a car similar to our test car, Morgan requires quite a large deposit, and there’s a big balloon payment at the end as well.

Fuel economy is excellent, given the performance potential. Before doing the performance testing, we calculated 36.7mpg. The small, 43-litre fuel tank still limits cruising range, however.The Plus Six’s niche nature means you might have to put up with the odd foible. However, thanks to plenty of proven components, it shouldn’t be too troublesome, and in general our test car gave off a feeling of solidity that inspired the confidence to drive it in all conditions.

The standard warranty runs for 30 months/30,000 miles and can be extended to 48 months/48,000 miles. This costs an extra £1445 and is also included in finance packages. 


morgan plus 8 22 static

By using mainstream powertrains in a very effective way, cleverly updating its cars and playing nicely within the rules for small-volume manufacturers, Morgan seems to be thriving.

Of course, those same rules limit how many cars it can sell, and the Plus Six is hardly affordable. Then again, neither is it so exclusive as to be destined to remain a billionaire’s garage ornament.

The BMW Z4 and Porsche 718 Boxster are objectively better cars, there’s no doubt. More affordable, too. But Morgan won’t feel too threatened by that fact. A Plus Six is capable enough to be easy to own and stand up to scrutiny as a modern sports car, yet it has the character and style to appeal to the individualist for whom the aforementioned alternatives are just too ordinary.

If the Plus Six has a problem, it’s that the cheaper, lighter Plus Four is sweeter to drive and its four-cylinder engine’s rortier character somehow fits the car’s vibe better. Be that as it may, it’s a good problem for Morgan to have, and we wouldn’t blame you if you can’t resist the additional musicality, power and clout of the Six.

Illya Verpraet

Illya Verpraet Road Tester Autocar
Title: Road Tester

As part of Autocar’s road test team, Illya drives everything from superminis to supercars, and writes reviews, comparison tests, as well as the odd feature and news story. 

Much of his time is spent wrangling the data logger and wielding the tape measure to gather the data for Autocar’s eight-page road tests, which are the most rigorous in the business thanks to independent performance, fuel consumption and noise figures.