Morgan has been doing rather well at blending the modern and the traditional lately. It has revitalised its Plus 4 and 6 models, bringing fresh new technology and upgraded engines while retaining that time-honoured look and handcrafted building process. You could argue that it has an even tougher job on its hands with this – the new Super 3 – as it uses a three-wheeler layout that dates back an awfully long time.So can the Super 3 get the blend spot-on again for Morgan? And will it act as a successor to the famous three-wheeler line-up? We’ve been to Morgan’s home of Malvern to find out.
Morgan hasn’t given its older 3 Wheeler a new skin and left it at that, oh no; this is a brand-new car. There’s a new engine – but more on that slightly later – which now sits inboard rather than slung out of the front. It’s ever-so-slightly larger than the car it replaces, too, but not by an awful lot. In fact, the whole car is Morgan’s first ‘clean sheet’ design since the Aero 8 of 2000, which goes to show that this really has been a fresh start from the ground up.It’s also been created with people who like to get out and adventure with their Morgan. For instance, a variety of luggage racks and lashing points mean you can add wakeboards and panniers – among other things – to the sides, while each individual mounting features a threaded barrel to attach action cameras to in order to capture your drive.
The Super 3 ditches the 2.0-litre engine made by American motorcycle firm S&S that you’d find on the old 3 Wheeler in favour of a 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated three-cylinder Ford unit. Now, you might think that this sounds like an odd choice, but with 118bhp and 150Nm of torque, it’s punchy enough given that the whole thing weighs just under a tonne. Zero to 60mph comes in just under seven seconds, while flat-out the Super 3 will do 130mph. It’s all linked to a Mazda-sourced five-speed manual gearbox.But a happy by-product of having a compact engine and low weight is efficiency, so the Super 3 will do 40mpg while emitting 130g/km CO2. So it’ll not cost the earth to run, that’s for sure.
Naturally, your first few minutes with the Super 3 are spent getting acquainted with the car’s unique layout. Those two huge front wheels tower ahead of you and, of course, you need to take potholes in an entirely different way – miss one through the centre of the front wheels and single rear will dive into it.
However, once you’re up to speed there’s a really well-judged car here. The 1.5-litre engine suits the character of the Super 3 perfectly, the exhaust burbling away just outside your right arm as the three-cylinder provides a surging, brawny kind of acceleration. The gearshift is wonderful, too, while we have to highlight the excellent positioning of the pedals for accurate changes. And then of course you’ve got the fact that you’re fully outside with the wind coming straight at you – it’s a hugely involving experience.
There’s not a lot that can challenge the Super 3 in the looks department. Park it near to even the most be-winged, flamboyant supercar and we’ll bet that people will gravitate towards the Morgan – it’s impossible to park this car anywhere without anyone wanting to chat about it.Morgan says that its designers took inspiration from the ‘jet age’ and you can definitely see that on the final Super 3. We’d argue that moving the engine in-board has made the Super 3 even cleaner in design than the older 3 Wheeler, too.
Now, of course, the Super 3 is exposed to the elements. There’s no roof, naturally, while the front screens only provide limited protection from the wind. So it’s little wonder why Morgan has made the Super 3’s cabin entirely dust-tight and protected from water – even the electrical USB sockets. Our test car came with chairs trimmed in a similar material to motorcycle seats and though it’s effectively the entry-level trim – as with any Morgan you can pick from high-quality leathers instead – we quite liked its rugged, ‘wash-down’ charm.Though it might appear quite compact from the outside, the Super 3’s cabin is actually pretty roomy. Though this tester is of average height, taller drivers will likely have no issue getting comfortable in the cabin.
Morgan has customisation right at its heart so with the Super 3 there’s likely to be a specification or trim to suit most. In fact, there are over 200 options and accessories available, while a whole variety of liveries and decals can be used to make your Super 3 look like no other version.But beyond these personalisation options, there are fundamentally good features. The twin screens located in the centre of the cabin are clear and can be toggled to showcase a variety of displays, while all the switches have a robust feel to them. We particularly liked the engine starter button housed underneath a fighter jet-style cover.
The Super 3 feels far more than some weekend plaything. Its limitations are obvious, of course; with no roof and two seats, it’s not going to be a go-to choice for those looking to commute or do the school run in all weathers.
But the Super 3’s strengths lie in just how well executed it is. Every switch and mount has been thought through, tied together with Morgan’s typical attention to craftsmanship. But most importantly, the Super 3 is just as fun to drive as it is to look at. And fun is something very sought-after these days.
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