Three-wheeled Morgan loses the V-twin engine, but none of its charm

Find Morgan Super 3 deals
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
Sell your car
In partnership with
Powered by

Cars can be awfully serious. Every new generation of performance car has more power, stickier tyres, a faster Nürburgring lap time. At the other end of the spectrum, there are ever more sophisticated emissions controls, bigger battery sizes and cleverer charging strategies.

For the past 10 years, there has been a car that doesn’t care about any of it. The Morgan 3 Wheeler has provided light-hearted fun and giggles all round for anyone who has climbed aboard one, or has simply seen one drive by. The revived 3 Wheeler was a breath of fresh air when it was launched in 2012 and remained an Autocar favourite throughout its production run.

And now there is a new version. It’s called the Morgan Super 3, because not only does it stick with just three wheels, but it also trades the motorcycle V-twin engine for a car-derived three-cylinder unit. Incidentally, it has more power and stickier tyres, and if you were to attempt such a thing, it would probably be quicker around the Nürburgring.

It is immediately obvious that the Super 3 is a more grown-up car than its predecessor. Does that make it less enjoyable? One look at its smiling face, yellow aeroscreens and silly graphics suggests that fun is still top of the agenda.

Range at a glance

There is currently only one version of the Super 3. We expect to see an electric three-wheeler at some point, but that hasn’t been officially confirmed yet. Instead of trim levels, you choose from a long list of options, since personalisation is a key part of buying a new Morgan.



02 Morgan Super 3 RT 2022 front corner

If you were to cast no more than a cursory glance at the Morgan Super 3, you might conclude that it is simply an updated version of the 2012 incarnation of the Morgan 3 Wheeler, but the current-day Morgan Motor Company is far less traditionalist than its cars’ looks suggest.

The Super 3 is a clean-sheet design that shares more with the Morgan Plus Six and Aero models than the old 3 Wheeler. Gone is the steel tube frame and, in the biggest break of Morgan tradition, there isn’t even a wood frame to hold the body panels.

The Morgan Super 3 uses a bonded aluminium monocoque with stressed superformed body panels. There is double wishbone suspension with pull-rod-actuated springs and dampers up front and a coil-sprung swing arm at the back. A propshaft sends drive to the rear wheel via a bevel box and a Kevlar-reinforced rubber belt. Weight is distributed 61:39, front to rear.

Instead, it uses a bespoke bonded aluminium monocoque with stressed superformed body panels. As if to compensate for the loss of the V-twin engine slung out the front, Morgan has made a real point of putting a lot of its engineering on show.

The three-wheeled Morgan’s face is now dominated not by an engine but by a solid aluminium casting that is a master of multi-tasking. It is at once an engine mount, a pick-up point for the pull-rod suspension and support for the headlights. Most cleverly of all, it also directs air into the sidepods that house the radiators.

The latter are now necessary, because not even Morgan is immune to emissions demands, and the old S&S V-twin simply wouldn’t do any more. Instead, the Super 3 is powered by a naturally aspirated version of the Ford Fiesta ST’s 1.5-litre Ecoboost triple. The ‘Dragon’ engine, as Morgan has nicknamed it, moves under the cowl and inside the wheelbase.

Downstream, the drivetrain has been finessed rather than revolutionised. A five-speed manual gearbox from an older Mazda MX-5 still sends power through a propshaft to a bevel box that has been re-engineered for less noise.

Front suspension is by double wishbones, but the springs and dampers are actuated by a pull-rod, to bring them inboard and out of the airflow. Even so, the open-wheel architecture still results in a high drag coefficient of 0.59.

A lot of work has gone into the tyres. Morgan tried a number of off-the-shelf options for the 3 Wheeler, but for the Super 3 it collaborated with Avon to produce a bespoke tyre with a more car-appropriate tread pattern and construction. The wheels themselves are also quite clever: the turbofan-style disc wheels allow for a much higher offset while still maintaining a slightly dished look.


09 Morgan Super 3 RT 2022 dashboard

Morgan has had 10 years to carefully optimise the ergonomics compared with the Morgan 3 Wheeler, and it shows. First off, in the Morgan Super 3 there is no hot exhaust pipe to clamber over, and to avoid getting the seat muddy you are provided with a stainless-steel step just in front of the seat to put your feet on. After that, you simply slide down and thread your legs down the footwell.

At this point in the old car, you needed to have had the foresight and tools to have adjusted the pedals, but in the Super 3 the pedal box can simply be slid fore and aft after being unlocked by pulling a toggle underneath the dash. Even the steering wheel is adjustable for rake and reach. It all creates a remarkably purposeful driving position.

Pedals are much larger than in the 3 Wheeler and so well positioned that heel-and-toe downshifts are almost automatic. There is no space to rest your left foot, but the heavy clutch pedal acts as an effective footrest too.

Don’t go thinking Morgan has turned its quirkiest vehicle into a Volkswagen Polo, however – driving a Super 3 is still a commitment. When it rains, you get wet. How wet depends on how tall you are. Taller drivers’ heads are completely proud of the aeroscreens, which direct the rush of air right in their faces. Morgan does offer a taller flyscreen (don’t call it a windscreen, or the authorities might force Morgan to fit wipers), for those not keen on wearing a helmet all the time.

Wisely for a roofless vehicle, everything in the cabin is weatherproof. The gauges, switches and even the USB ports are IP64 water and dust resistant, and the upholstery options, too, are carefully considered. Black vinyl is standard, and a range of weather-resistant leathers are optional.

More intriguing are the technical fabrics. The Dark Olive on our test car had a strange foam-like texture, and while it does get soaked, it also seems to dry out magically quickly. The Coal Black and Signal Orange fabrics have the same properties but a more traditional weave.

Due to its mechanical layout, the Super 3 is still not especially practical, but it does benefit from some notable improvements over the 3 Wheeler. The passenger footwell is fairly deep, making it the go-to boot space for solo travellers. The rear boot is easy to access as long as no rear luggage rack is fitted. It can’t be locked and is still an awkward shape but will house the tonneau cover, plus a small squishy bag.


18 Morgan Super 3 RT 2022 engine

How characterful you find a Morgan Super 3’s Ford-derived Dragon engine depends on whether you have driven the Morgan 3 Wheeler. Come into it fresh (as some of our test team did), flick up the bomber-style guard for the start button, dip the heavy clutch and awaken the atmo three-pot, and you will find yourself sitting behind one of the most charismatic engines this side of a Porsche Cayman GT4 RS.

It takes a fraction longer to catch than most modern powerplants, and does so with a hollow, resonant gurgle. The exhaust exiting by your right hip only adds to the sense of theatre. Go past 3000rpm and it takes on more of the ‘half a Porsche 911’ character you expect with a three-cylinder, but retains an appealingly unrefined quality.

I miss the rorty chuff of the old V-twin engine, but the Ford three-pot replacement certainly doesn’t lack character. It makes decent torque and likes to rev, too.

It’s almost as if it’s trying to emulate the old V-twin. Some testers missed its unbalanced whump-whumping, but when EVs and anodyne four-cylinder turbos are the order of the day, it’s churlish to complain.

Particularly since the engine’s power delivery suits the Super 3 so perfectly. It loves to rev and does its best work up top, but because it also has a decent amount of low-down torque and very little weight to motivate, it still feels quick and tractable whichever gear you’re in.

Morgan could have got away with longer gearing, but we’re glad it kept the ratios on the Mazda MX-5 gearbox closely spaced, because it means you can indulge in more revs and more blipped gearchanges, which are made all the more enjoyable by perfect pedal spacing and a surprisingly long and light, but tight and satisfying, shift action.

As an aside, rev-matching is an essential skill to driving a Super 3 quickly, because that single rear wheel can lock up quite easily if you feed in the clutch without the necessary finesse after downshifts. Then again, when heel-and-toeing is this easy, there’s hardly an excuse for not learning.

In a car like this, the outright performance is secondary to the experience, but it’s still good to know that the Super 3 musters a decent amount. Getting a car propelled by a single budget all-season tyre off the line quickly is all about managing traction. Even on a mostly dry surface, 2500rpm is enough to take off with a small, manageable amount of wheelspin.

The gearbox is happy being rushed through the gears, but get back on the power too aggressively after slotting second and the rear wheel will spin its power away again. The end result is something that is almost as quick as a Ford Fiesta ST, be it from a standing start or through the gears.

While that small contact patch is enjoyable enough to manage under acceleration, there is no ignoring it when you need to stop in a hurry. A stopping distance from 70mph of 59.3m isn’t horrendous, and is better than what the 3 Wheeler recorded, but is a long way off what you can expect from the average modern supermini, let alone one with any performance credentials. To Morgan’s credit, threshold braking feels intuitive, and when the front wheels do lock up, the car still pulls up impressively straight.


15 Morgan Super 3 RT 2022 front corner

The ‘and stability’ part of this section’s heading can sometimes feel like a bit of a holdover from road tests of old. With modern tyre technology and sophisticated electronic control systems, stability is almost never an issue in modern machinery.

When you take away the electronic guardian angels, one of the wheels and about half the contact patch, that stability component suddenly becomes very relevant again.

Driving the Super 3 fast(ish) is all about managing front grip. You need to respect the narrow front tyres’ limits, but if you do, everything else feels pretty much spot on, and you can steer it on the throttle to your heart’s content. It’s a very particular driving style that’s not for everyone, but I got on with it famously.

Let’s deal with the obvious question first: no, unless you push the Morgan Super 3 to well beyond what is possible on the road, and into the kind of territory that would be inadvisable even on track, the Super 3 isn’t especially likely to become a two-wheeler.

Even so, there is no getting away from the fact that those 130-section front tyres and the single 185-section all-season item at the rear can’t muster the kind of grip one would expect from any normal modern car. Barrel into corners as you would in a hot hatch, and you will be understeering about the place, not having a particularly enjoyable time.

However, recalibrate and listen to the chatty, unassisted steering, and in dry conditions at least it’s easy to drive within the front axle’s limits. They are low, sure, but the sense of speed you get listening to the gurgly engine from the open cockpit amply compensates for that.

And if you’re not giggling yet, you soon will be. If there was ever a car that could be ‘steered on the throttle’, a three-wheeled Morgan is it. As long as you get the front settled first, you can squeeze the throttle to tighten your line, or give it a bootful for the most predictable oversteer. It’s hilarious fun, and all happens at manageable speeds.

Like so many things in a Super 3, stringing together a series of bends does require a bit more thought than in most cars – mainly about where to put your elbow: outside or inside? Our test car had the 14in Moto-Lita steering wheel. All agreed it looks fantastic, but some testers found it a touch too large. We would opt for the 13in option.

Frustratingly, wet conditions change the game rather. As much fun as it can be to exit junctions sideways at 15mph, confidence in the front end quickly evaporates when the road gets greasy. Being all-season, the rear tyre maintains more of its grip in such conditions than the front. Big understeer can sneak up on you and dent your confidence. We can’t help wondering if a more high-end tyre manufacturer could have made a tyre with a wider safety margin than the current Avons.

Comfort and isolation

16 Morgan super 3 rt 2022 rear corner 0

The lack of a roof, a windscreen or a full complement of wheels should tell you how this one is going to go. Driving a three-wheeled vehicle always means making a choice: do you hit the pothole with one of the front wheels or the rear wheel? In this case, we would recommend going for the rear.

Although the Super 3 is slightly more stiffly sprung than its predecessor, it’s not indecently so. However, while the suspension is generally well controlled and nicely damped, hitting a sharp road imperfection with one of the front wheels will cause an audible bang, as well as kickback in the steering.

When it comes to comfort, though, any niggles in the ride pale in insignificance to how exposed you are to the elements. As previously noted, the aeroscreens don’t offer much protection against the elements if you are over average height. Up to about 50mph, that’s perfectly bearable, but any extended motorway driving realistically requires a helmet and, even then, wind noise is constant.

The seats, which are fixed cushions rather than seats in the typical sense, don’t look like much but are actually remarkably comfortable, thanks in part to plenty of adjustment in the pedals and steering column. The footwell is ultimately quite narrow, and the handbrake being on the driver’s side hems you in even further, which does limit your freedom to shift about in the seat on longer drives.

Track notes

Driving the Super 3 to its limits is an exercise in hard work, smoothness, thought – and a little restraint. You’re soon aware of the car’s three-wheeled stance, and the influence of your own weight on its equilibrium. Sitting on the right with no passenger, you can lever the inside front wheel up into the air if you try to carry too much speed around long, tighter left-handers, and especially when the car is squatting on its rear tyre and driving forward as well as carrying high lateral load. Likewise, it’s easy to overwhelm the front contact patches with braking forces when they should be given over entirely to cornering.

So carrying speed effectively turns out to be achieved by juggling your weight a little in the seat; using plenty of leverage at the unassisted steering; judging your entry speed just right; turning in on a balanced throttle; and accelerating away from the apex smoothly.

It’s a strangely satisfying but simple triumph when you get it just right – and, needless to say, always both mentally and physically involving.

Morgan super 3 rt 2022 track notes


01 Morgan Super 3 RT 2022 lead front

With an on-the-road starting price of £43,165, the Morgan Super 3 is expensive for what is ultimately a toy. That’s about £10,000 more than a 3 Wheeler cost in 2012, but then those went up in price over the years too, as all cars have done.

If you have your heart set on a Super 3, you can at least be fairly confident that it will hold its value well. We don’t have the usual forecasts from CAP, but a quick glance at the classifieds turns up no 3 Wheelers for under £30,000, and there’s no reason to assume the Super 3’s value would be less stable than its predecessor’s.

If you plan on doing more than short journeys in your Super 3, options like the heater, heated seats, tonneau cover, USB ports and under-seat storage would be worthwhile. (A heated steering wheel is not available.) Otherwise, you can spend as much or as little as you like on accessories and personalisation.

21 Morgan super 3 rt 2022 jet fuel only 0

A small, modern engine powering a small, light car always pays dividends for fuel economy. As a result, the Super 3 posted one of the best track fuel consumption figures we have recorded in a while. Even when thrashed, it still returns 24.4mpg. At a cruise, it is hampered by its vintage aerodynamics, but 43.5mpg remains very acceptable. What’s more, despite the decals specifying ‘jet fuel only’, regular unleaded is all the Super 3 requires.

As for regular upkeep, it would be unreasonable to expect Toyota-like reliability from a small-volume sports car, and Morgan only offers a 30-month, 30,000-mile warranty. On the other hand, a maintenance schedule of services every 12 months or 10,000 miles isn’t out of the ordinary.


22 Morgan Super 3 RT 2022 static

With its three-wheeled layout, open cockpit and styling that looks like a 1920s vision of the future, the Morgan Super 3 is unique. And like other unique things, it divides opinion. As ever, the guiding question is whether it is fit for purpose.

Some won’t gel with its wilful quirkiness and the way it demands to be driven. Others will delight in driving something so different from the mainstream and revel in the feedback of the controls, the low-speed thrills and the challenge of managing grip levels.

The Super 3 is an improved car over the Morgan 3 Wheeler. It’s more ergonomically sound, it’s more dynamically competent and it has an engine that should keep the regulators happy for a few years to come. In the act of making this a better car, however, there’s a hint that Morgan has also made it a very slightly less charming and alternative one – but only a hint.

Even so, it is not trying to be the one car anyone could ever need. Instead, it aims to put a smile on your face with an experience that takes you away from the mundane and everyday, and it does so with joyful verve. A blueprint for the perfect sports car? Perhaps not. Fit for purpose? Absolutely.

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.