Morgan Plus 8 - XCAR

Many people moan about Britain's lack of car industry -- they do so without realising we have a pretty impressive one. We build all manner of cars for manufacturers from all over the world. The naysayers' problem is the lack of 'British' brands; e.g. Rover and the like. There are a few left, though. One such example is Morgan. At their small (for a car company) factory in Malvern, Morgan creates some truly stunning cars. Using traditional techniques and materials fused with modern technology, Morgan's motors may look stately, but by God they pack a punch. The Plus 8 we had the pleasure of driving is a wonderful example of how judging a car by its looks may not be a wise choice. You see, the new Plus 8 isn't like the old Plus 8 at all... The new car runs on a bonded aluminium chassis; it looks angrier than the old car; it's got a bigger, noisier V8 with plenty of power on tap. It's light, so once you realise how heavy your right foot really is you're shot off into the distance with a cacophonous growl from its hearty BMW-sourced V8. The noise gets under your skin, as does the drive. Your arse teeters over the rear wheels while you crane your neck to see the fronts. This long wheelbase has two wonderful side effects -- 1) it handles like an old school sports car should and 2) you have plenty of time to spot, encourage, play with and correct oversteer. Yes, the Plus 8 has some flaws -- its roof (and doors) may be removable, but while you're covered the fabric can get caught in the window. Not an issue when it's dry, but when the sky has a wee you wind up very soggy. It drinks a fair bit, too, but that's to be expected from a big 'ol V8. Oh yeah, it also costs more than £85,000. That's quite a bit of penga, especially when you remember just how much Porsche 911 you can get for that much. However, while you may get lots of 911 for £85k, you also remember there are lots more Porsche 911s on the road than there have ever been Morgans. The noise, the drive, drama and exclusivity of the Plus 8 make it a very special thing. It's a fusion of old and new, like a Heston Blumenthal hot pot. It's the type of car you wouldn't only glance back at when you leave it in a car park, but stare longingly at. If you ever get the chance to drive one, do take it.

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