Morgan gives its Plus Four roadster classic off-road rally flair
Harking back to some of the earliest days of off-road motor touring, the all-new Morgan Plus Four CX-T is guaranteed to turn heads from highway to uncharted backcountry trails. Developed in cooperation with the experienced Dakar builders at Rally Raid UK, the CX-T looks back at Morgan's heritage while pushing the British namesake into the future.
Differentiating itself from the rally roadsters and off-road supercars that have popped up relentlessly over the years, the Plus Four follows a more historical path to introduction. Way back in the early 1900s, shortly after Morgan premiered the single-seat, three-wheeled Runabout, company founder HFS Morgan ran his vehicles through a series of UK reliability trials, kicking off with a gold medal attack on the winter treachery and unsealed roads of the Motor Cycling Club's London to Exeter Trial.
The new CX-T pays homage to that motor trials history by serving as something of a reliability demonstration of its own, showcasing the capability of the new CX-generation bonded aluminum architecture that not long ago took the reins from Morgan's long-running steel platform. So the CX designation comes from the chassis while the "T" stands for Trial.
To realize its CX-T vision, Morgan teamed with Rally Raid UK to beef the two-seater up for proper off-road touring capability. The 255-hp 2.0-liter BMW TwinPower turbo four remains untouched, but the addition of a three-mode locking differential and competition-grade EXE-TC coilovers attached to Plus Six wishbones give the car the enhanced traction and cushion it needs to claw and leap around rugged terrain. Add in a set of off-road tires and an SUV-like 9 inches (23 cm) of ground clearance, and the Plus Four is now ready to explore moors and highlands without getting hung up on every stone and root.
The CX aluminum structural bits are part of the stock Plus Four kit, but they come fully shielded by an add-on five-piece underbody armoring suite that also protects the engine. A bespoke exhaust with side exit improves the departure angle.
Despite its open-top Plus Four roots, the CX-T won't be breezy like a Jeep Wrangler because its cabin comes roofed with a composite hard-top sandwiched between internal and external roll cages. The stock rear-end also disappears, replaced with a rugged tubular rack holding a pair of spare tires, two 11-L Rotopax fuel canisters, two waterproof Pelican cases and a Zarges toolbox. Owners will be able to adapt the rack for carrying alternative equipment, like bikes and surfboards, making the Plus Four CX-T a proper all-terrain adventure shuttle. Recovery equipment like traction boards and tow ropes are also mounted around the vehicle.
We'd love to see the tubular rear complemented by a front bull bar to protect the iconic Morgan headlamp rounds, fenders and grille, but it looks like buyers will have to fend for themselves there. Behind the windshield, the interior comes with two "CX-T" badged seats, a RAM mount system for attaching accessories, a map holder and light, a custom first aid kit, and an insulated cooler bag.
Those looking to get in on a 21st century Morgan overland adventure will have to be well-heeled, and they'll have to act quickly. Morgan plans to build only eight CX-T models in a limited production run to wrap up before 2022. Each will carry a starting price of £170,000 (approx. US$235,500) before taxes. Everyone else will have to settle for watching the CX-T in action from afar, which you can do below.
Source: Morgan Motor Company