Morgan unveiled its new three-wheeler on Thursday, simply called the Super 3. It might, at first glance, not appear like a radical departure from the old model,, but the more you look, the more you see that this is quite the modern Morgan indeed.
To start, this is the company’s first product to use a monocoque chassis — no ash frames here. Then there are things like the digital dials and the optional navigation — also both firsts for the Malvern factory. The Mazda-sourced five-speed gearbox from the old car remains, but where previously there was a 2.0-liter motorcycle V-twin engine slung out in front of the bodywork, there is a now a three-cylinder Ford engine enclosed by the body panels. This is likely to change the driving experience quite a bit, because where the Morgan previously tended to surf around on a deep well of torque, the new three-cylinder engine is likely to want to rev much higher. The Super 3 was also designed to accept batteries under the seats in the future — hint hint.
In terms of numbers, the new engine puts out 118 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 110 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. Those figures are higher than those of the previous engine, which developed 82 hp at 5,250 rpm and 105 lb-ft at 3,250 rpm. Weight has also increased slightly to 1,400 pounds, so the 0-to-62-mph time stays in a similar ballpark at 7 seconds, but the top speed is up from 115 mph in the old car to 130 mph in the new one (if you’re feeling brave).
The overall design is interesting, with the new side blades being perhaps the most striking addition to the aesthetic. At the front your eyes are drawn to the big aluminum casting, which serves as an engine mount, a suspension mount and also an aerodynamic part to help direct air flow to the radiators. The front wheels are also very eye-catching; an inch taller than before at 20 inches in diameter, their design is partly born of necessity (as head designer Jon Wells explains in our video), but it also calls to mind all sorts of iconic rims, such as turbofans and those on the Jaguar XJ220. Avon supplies the rubber around the rims and the new front tires look rather more serious than those on the old 3-Wheeler. They also go by the excellent name of Speedmaster.
Both the interior and exterior are extensively customizable. The side blades are available in contrasting colors, there are different height screen options and customers will have several choices of material for the seats, including saddle leather and a new technical fabric. You might notice the multiple attachment points all over the car, as well, which allow bespoke racks and luggage to be attached easily. Morgan worked with Malle London to develop some of this equipment and it’s also designed some interesting (and slightly curious looking) bespoke clothing for those wanting to drive in all weathers.
Pricing for the new Super 3 has yet to be announced, but it’s expected to be similar to that of the previous model at around £40,000 (about $54,000 based on current exchange rates). This might initially seem expensive given that you don’t even get a fourth wheel, but the detailing really is exquisite and the Super 3 will probably garner as much attention as a supercar. Obviously we’ll have to reserve final judgement until we’ve driven it, but on the evidence of this first look, three really could prove to be the magic number once again at Morgan.
Go to Publisher: CNET News
Author: Henry Catchpole