New Morgan Plus Four CX-T goes off road as Ariel Nomad rival
Just eight off-road ready Morgan Plus Four CX-Ts will be made, with serious chassis revisions for the money
Called the Morgan Plus Four CX-T, it’s the closest thing we’ve seen to a Morgan rival for the similarly trailblazing Ariel Nomad. Although Morgan’s motorsport efforts are best known on track, the brand says that this new CX-T version of the Plus Four is intended to pay homage to owners who have taken their Plus Fours a little off the well beaten track, in all-terrain time trials.
Just eight Plus Four CX-Ts will be made, each costing from £170,000 before any local taxes are applied. In the UK, that implies an on the road price of around £204,000.
The engine is the same as the one found in the normal version of this latest Plus Four - a 2.0-litre turbocharged BMW petrol unit developing 255bhp, and sending its power to a six-speed manual gearbox. It’s still rear-wheel-drive, but the CX-T adopts a BMW xDrive rear differential with three settings enabling selectable drive modes.
Road leaves the differential fully open, while All-Terrain applies 45 per cent lock, allowing some torque distribution between the two rear wheels. The All-Terrain Extreme mode fully locks the differential, providing equal torque at each side of the rear axle, while the final drive rate is shorter, to account for some of the other tweaks - for example, the large off-road tyres now fitted on the Plus Four.
Morgan has worked with off-road Rally Raid UK, a specialist in preparing vehicles for the Dakar rally, and every CX-T that rolls out of Morgan’s Malvern factory is finished at Rally Raid’s headquarters. The effect of this partnership is a radically transformed chassis, making use of the flexibility of the new Plus Four’s aluminium based CX platform.
The redesigned suspension has clearance of up to 230mm, and makes use of the wishbones from the more powerful and heavier Plus Six. This also has the effect of widening the Plus Four’s track, bookended on each side with large, off-road tyres sitting in redesigned wheel arches. Coilover suspension is fitted, the components designed specifically for the CX-T. More durable lower suspension arms are fitted for additional off-road toughness.
The brand says drivers should be able to undertake off-road excursions in the CX-T unlike anything else the marque has ever made. Additional underbody protection is key to this - the five piece protection includes a new engine guard, rear chassis guard, mid-section and rear undertray, while the fifth element is a new exhaust system that exits at the rear side of the Plus Four CX-T.
The mechanical overhaul is joined by a visual one with plenty of off-roading cues. The arrival of a string of spotlights atop the windscreen is joined by some visible elements of the new underbody protection at the front of the car, plus a new exoskeleton roll cage over the passenger cell and the redesigned storage space.
The bonnet is lifted ever so slightly for greater airflow to the engine, and at the very rear of the car, there’s room for luggage and supplies, two spare tyres, and water and fuel containers. The rear rack is also home to a toolbox.
For more ‘lifestyle’ taken buyers, the side panels can be folded onto the roof, and the CX-T’s storage area can also be adapted to carry surfboards and bicycles.
The CX-T is one of two special projects we’re due to see from Morgan in 2021. In February, the company revealed plans for a run of track-bred Plus 8 GTRs inspired by the firm’s 90’s racers and with V8 power. For now, however, the CX-T remains the only limited-run Morgan we’ve seen as a finished car.
Click here to read about the Morgan Plus 8 GTR project...