England-based Morgan planned to unveil the 2020 Plus Four at the annual Geneva Motor Show. Instead, two of its designers unexpectedly put the show car, which was already on location, through its paces by taking the scenic route from Switzerland to the company's headquarters in Malvern in time for a live webcast on March 3.
Unveiled online, the Plus Four replaces the Plus 4 to delight driving enthusiasts and grammar geeks alike. You may need a magnifying glass to spot the visual changes between the two cars, but they're there. The lower part of the front fascia receives a wider air dam, while the rear end gets minor tweaks like new exhaust tips spread further apart. It looks like a Morgan, and that's the point; stylists couldn't move away from the design language that has characterized the brand for decades. And yet, Morgan noted 97% of the Plus Four is entirely new.
The heritage-laced design hides a surprisingly modern and comfortable machine. Yes, it has power steering and ABS brakes; it's not a Volkswagen Beetle-based kit car. It also comes with automatic LED headlights, leather upholstery, and even a sport plus mode the driver can engage by pressing a button on the center console. And yet, Morgan explained it went to significant lengths to ensure the Plus Four doesn't feel like another watered-down me-too roadster. We're told it's just as charming to drive as its predecessor, and it's much more agile when the pace picks up thanks in part to a firmer chassis and a completely revamped suspension.
Morgan built the Plus Four on the aluminum CX-Generation platform it began developing in 2016. It shares these bones with the bigger Plus Six, but it downsizes to a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder sourced from BMW. It's the first Morgan ever fitted with a turbo four. It offers 255 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque when it's ordered with a six-speed manual transmission, but the latter figure swells to 295 when buyers select the eight-speed automatic. The sprint from zero to 62 mph takes 4.8 seconds with two pedals and 5.2 seconds with three.
In the United Kingdom, the hand-made 2020 Morgan Plus Four carries a base price of £62,995 with a stick-shift and £64,995 with an automatic, figures that convert to about $80,500 and $83,100, respectively. Tradition isn't cheap. The long list of options includes 15-inch wire wheels, several paint finishes including matte and two-tone, a rear-mounted spare tire, a subtly-integrated sound system with Bluetooth connectivity, and heated seats.
Normally, this is the point in the story where we'd point out you'll need to move to England to enjoy the Plus Four. Not this time: The United States is on Morgan's radar, and Autoblog learned the roadster is headed our way.
"It's looking positive for America. We're hoping to get the Plus Six in this year, and the Plus Four in within the next 12 months," a company spokesperson told us. Pricing will be available closer to both car's American launch.