Quite a handful…

The Morgan V6 Roadster

I always know what car I’m going to be driving, and I always know if it’s going to be a ‘special’ one judging by how I feel the night before. There are nights when I am simply looking forward to the next day, nights when I’m genuinely excited, and then there are nights that involve very disturbed sleep. It’s these nights, that I know the car I’ll be enjoying the next day is something a little bit special.

One night when this was particularly noticeable was when I was picking up the Morgan V6 Roadster the following morning. The most powerful of the classic style of Morgan (according to the website) this is a car that weighs less than a tonne, and offers up almost 300bhp per tonne through the rear wheels of a lightweight sports car. It’s going to be fun.

And what a handful…

A couple of years back I drove the Morgan Plus 4, and it was awesome… so much fun, and so much power, I wondered how this would be able to improve. In terms of equipment in the cabin, its the same… nothing should (and nothing does) distract from the driving experience. It’s still raw, and relatively untamed power under the control of your right foot. The changes under the bonnet gives a 3.7 litre Ford Cyclone as opposed to the 2 litre Ford unit, and coupled with the 6 speed Ford gearbox (and thankfully, power steering) it’s a car you have to physically drive.

While some purists may say the power steering is an unnecessary luxury, and such a car should be heavy and make you work, I think it’s a good thing. The Plus 4 is hard to manoeuvre at low speeds, and given the wider tires of the V6, not adding the ‘luxury’ would be a step too far. Bear in mind the original Morgan didn’t have anything as heavy as a V6 under the bonnet, and I think even Henry Fredrick Stanley Morgan himself would agree that power steering makes sense.

Even with this addition, this car is a serious handful. Twitchy under breaking (and when you plant your foot) so you have to concentrate. It’s not subtle, it’s not quiet, but neither is it meant to be. This is a serious sports car for serious enthusiasts. It shaves 2 seconds of the 0-62 mph time of the Plus 4, coming in at 5.5 seconds… and that in a car that is a matter of inches from the floor, with (let’s just say) firm suspension… hitting that time on anything that wasn’t the smoothest of tracks would be virtually impossible.

But the key thing is the experience. And regardless of your actual ability to transmit that power to the road, it will feel fast. Really fast. And you will smile. A lot.

So it’s a crazy car. A stunningly fast car. A beautiful car. A car with heritage, that harks back to the early days of motoring, and still has that hand-made feel (because it is), but in many subtle ways, it’s been brought up to date. It still looks the part, it still performs much better than many of it’s modern rivals, but underneath it all it has evolved. It has grown and made use of technological developments where it counts. You can’t always see them, but they are there, working to provide the experience you expect from something that looks like that, but with a modern twist.

Many people, after testing the Roadster, opt for the Plus 4. If I had the choice, and the budget allowed, which would I choose?

My brain says the Plus 4. But every time I heard that V6, I would know I’d made the wrong choice. And that’s why I’d opt for the classic look, but with a little more under the bonnet. I’d take the Roadster.

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