New 2012 Morgan Plus 8What do you say when Charles Morgan, of the Morgan Motor Company, asks you if you’d like to drive the companies latest V8 powered sports car? Well, anything other than “yes please!” would be extremely rude.

Here, in brief, are my initial impressions of the 2012 Morgan +8;  The first things that impresses you about the reborn Plus 8 are both the ride quality and steering feel. After spending many hours behind the wheel of a standard Aero 8, an Aeromax and a variety of Classic Morgans, the new +8 went straight to the top of the pile in terms of steering precision.  The poise is aided by the chassis being closest to the Series 1 Aero and thus with the minimal overhang of the Plus 8 bodywork, the car feels both nimble and lithe (this is also helped by the fact the 2012 Plus 8 will have an excellent power to weigh ratio).
This power to weight ratio also meant the Plus 8 felt extremely quick – acceleration was always rapid (no need for the right gear or the right RPM, the torque seemed to mean the power was always on tap) and it was only the rules of the road that restricted your ability to proceed at a physics bending pace; all the above was only exacerbated by the superb handling adding huge confidence, even on a slightly damp British winter road. A quick nod should also be made to the exhaust note, which in typical V8 fashion is there to egg you on – in the new Plus 8, you cannot help but fall in love with the idea of pressing down on the accelerator, simply to hear the tune it plays.

Aesthetically, the 2012 Morgan Plus 8 is a very purposeful looking Classic. The rear and the front perspective afford it a wonderfully wide stance; in the Black bodywork of the development car, the Plus 8 possesses an attractively menacing quality, more subtle than many performance cars but with plenty of presence. The profile is more difficult to judge because I simply don’t like the wheels on the development vehicle and therefore, tried to imagine it with another set in situ. Were a set of Classic Morgan wheels fitted, I think you’d be hard pressed to tell it apart from the rest of the range from afar (which given the heritage of the profile, is certainly not a bad thing!). I will watch, with interest, which wheels MMC choose to fit to the production cars because I believe getting them correct is essential to completing the package. I’m sure the company will devise a suitable solution; their Sport line for the Classic range has proven they understand simple beauty and the elegance of clean lines.

Whilst not fair to judge a development vehicle on fit and finish, the interior was a nice place to sit, the cut down doors adding to the elbow room. The dash was still a work in progress but was coming together nicely: blending Classic and modern with panache. The hood seemed substantial and consideration has been given to the side screens and the fit of them when the Plus 8 is at speed. As it stands, the development car was rattle free and felt very solid and well put together. I look forward to sitting the finished product but all signs point to another Morgan cabin that is a pleasure to spend time in.

I believe that gives a fair reflection of my opinion on the new Morgan Plus 8. It is quite easy to fall under the spell of this wonderful vehicle and even in development form, it is an extremely attractive package. Once the development process is over and the car has reached the public,  I believe the Plus 8 will sell itself;  the words of others, such as myself, will become superfluous to the individuals experience behind the wheel. This is a Morgan which needs to be driven to truly appreciate the depth of its potential and the magic it is capable of.