Vehicles | March 7, 2019 9:00 am

Morgan’s New Sports Car Is Turbocharged, BMW-Powered and … Automatic?

The 110-year-old British carmaker is also getting new owners

This week’s Geneva Motor Show is Willy Wonka’s factory for car nuts, with a new daydreamable vehicle around every bend. Yet, for those who relish those flowing bodies of pre-war coupes that recall Downton Abbey or The Great Gatsby, it has been somewhat of a disappointment. That’s where Morgan Motor Company comes in.

The historic British automaker is currently celebrating 110 years in business, but they’re not stopping at the anniversary models they announced last year. Oh no. There are big changes coming to Morgan, two of which we’ll focus on today, one that’s important to new fans of the brand and one that’s important to all you diehards.

First, the fun stuff: They’ve got a brand new, completely reworked flagship model! It’s called the Plus Six, and thankfully looks like a classically styled Morgan, what with the curvaceous wheel arches and rounded headlights and wood body frame. But it runs more like something made in 2019.

Plus Six (7 images)

The Plus Six features a laundry list of firsts for the company:

  • The first turbocharged engine: Replacing the BMW V8 is the 2019 BMW B58 TwinPower Turbo inline six-cylinder engine, which is technically less powerful at 335 HP and 369 lb.-ft. torque. But it has a better 0-60 time of 4.2 seconds and top speed of 166 MPH.
  • Automatic transmission: It’s not the first automatic Morgan, but as of now the Plus Six is only available in an eight-speed automatic configuration. But as Morgan notes in the press release, “Manual shifting through the eight gears can be achieved using the paddles or gear lever.”
  • The first CX-Generation platform: While retaining a similar wheelbase, this bonded aluminum platform is stiffer and lighter while increasing leg and storage space.
  • The first automatic headlights: Modern lighting. Whodathunk.

The second big change? The Morgan family, which has owned the company for the entire 110-year run, is selling a majority stake to Italian investment firm Investindustrial. Yes, that sounds potentially catastrophic, as Morgan is one of the last British-owned automakers. But as Investindustrial also partially owns Aston Martin and Ducati, this is basically a move to bring Morgan’s cars to more people.

Ah, thus the automatic transmission.

The Plus Six is currently available for purchase (in the U.K.) starting around $102,048 (or £77,995), but there are four editions available: the Plus Six, Touring and two First Editions in “Moonstone” and “Emerald.” Yeah. At least for now, it looks like Morgan’s sophistication is intact. Let’s hope Investindustrial’s first move is to make it easier to get these stateside. 

Images courtesy of Morgan Motor Company