Automotive

Morgan gives its Plus Four roadster classic off-road rally flair

Morgan gives its Plus Four roa...
Morgan plans only eight Plus Four CX-Ts
Morgan plans only eight Plus Four CX-Ts
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The CX-T comes powered by the standard Plus Four BMW turbo four, but it features an array of off-road modifications throughout
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The CX-T comes powered by the standard Plus Four BMW turbo four, but it features an array of off-road modifications throughout
The custom rear rack carries two fuel canisters, two spare wheel/tire assemblies and several storage cases
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The custom rear rack carries two fuel canisters, two spare wheel/tire assemblies and several storage cases
Other off-road essentials are mounted around the vehicle
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Other off-road essentials are mounted around the vehicle
A look inside
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A look inside
Down below, a full suspension upgrade and skid protection make the Plus Four more off-road ready
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Down below, a full suspension upgrade and skid protection make the Plus Four more off-road ready
Five skids plates provide thorough underbody protection
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Five skids plates provide thorough underbody protection
The CX-T is meant to go where other Morgans are not
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The CX-T is meant to go where other Morgans are not
Stirring up dust with the new Morgan Plus Four CX-T
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Stirring up dust with the new Morgan Plus Four CX-T
Morgan trials of the 21st century
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Morgan trials of the 21st century
The Morgan Plus Four CX-T shows what it can do
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The Morgan Plus Four CX-T shows what it can do
Speeding toward a rugged horizon
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Speeding toward a rugged horizon
Morgan plans only eight Plus Four CX-Ts
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Morgan plans only eight Plus Four CX-Ts
Morgan Plus Four CX-Ts strike a magazine cover-worthy pose
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Morgan Plus Four CX-Ts strike a magazine cover-worthy pose
Morgan Plus Four CX-T
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Morgan Plus Four CX-T
View gallery - 14 images

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.

The Morgan Plus Four CX-T shows what it can do
The Morgan Plus Four CX-T shows what it can do

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.

Five skids plates provide thorough underbody protection
Five skids plates provide thorough underbody protection

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.

Morgan Plus Four CX-Ts strike a magazine cover-worthy pose
Morgan Plus Four CX-Ts strike a magazine cover-worthy pose

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.

Morgan Plus Four CX-T [LAUNCH FILM]

Source: Morgan Motor Company

View gallery - 14 images
5 comments
5 comments
BlueOak
“ 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.”

Weren’t Morgan frames made of wood + fiberglass until not too many years ago?

It really is fascinating Morgan has survived all these years. Clearly there are just enough appreciators of its old-school style. But consider the alternative options you could buy for US$235,000. Appreciators indeed.
DavidB
I think Morgans are gorgeous. If I had the scratch, I’d own one of their battery-electric models. If I had even more scratch, I’d have one of these, as well—it looks to be a blast.
Nelson Hyde Chick
Another example of men with more money than common sense.
HoppyHopkins
Sweet looking retro, but if they want to test it, try running it on my road for a year. If it can survive a road that has destroyed 38 wheel bearings, twelve U joints, three drive lines, 8 brake calipers and rotors, 3 transmissions, 4 sets of tie rod ends and two engine rebuilds in only 7 years; then this rig will be a winner
BlueOak
@Happy, “Sweet looking retro”

Is it actually “retro” if Morgan never stopped making cars that styled like that?