If you feel like you’ve already seen the Morgan Aero 8, it’s because the British manufacturer Morgan is a company that takes retro-themed design and incremental change to the extreme. Even more so than Porsche with the 911, Morgan is a car company that remains firmly rooted in its history. Its cars look straight out of the 1960s, and while you could call their look “outdated,” “timeless” is perhaps a more appropriate term. For proof, look no further than the newest version of the Morgan Aero, the Aero 8.
At first glance, the Morgan Aero 8 looks almost exactly the same as every other Aero from the past, but that doesn’t mean it’s an unattractive vehicle. It sits low with an incredibly long hood and pronounced fenders. Compared to the previous model, the Aero Supersport, the Aero 8’s body has been subtly modified for improved aerodynamics. It still retains that classic look, though, with its large, prominent round headlights unchanged for the update.
Despite the classic look, everything else is thoroughly modern, with a hand-sculpted aluminum body draped over an updated aluminum chassis. The Aero 8’s chassis is now stronger and stiffer than the previous generation’s, with anti-roll bars to improve stiffness even more. There’s also an all-new suspension and a limited-slip differential from BMW to help improve handling.
Under the hood is a BMW 4.8-liter V8 that makes 367 horsepower and 370 pounds-feet of torque without the help of a turbocharger to muffle the sound. On that note, Morgan offers the option of rear or side exhausts, although it’s a bit of a mystery why you would opt for a rear exhaust when side pipes are available.
For drivers who want to hear the sound of their BMW V8 engine more clearly, Morgan’s soft top goes down and stows under the clamshell trunk. Enthusiasts will also be relieved to hear that although the Aero 8 offers an automatic transmission, a manual transmission is available, as well. Continuing with the long list of options, the convertible soft top is standard, but an optional hardtop is available to turn the Aero 8 into a stylish coupe.
Morgan is also slowly moving into the modern era when it comes to including more modern safety technology and features. You can’t get lane-keeping technology or massage seats, but the Aero 8 is offered with power steering, cruise control, air conditioning, and even a touchscreen infotainment system. For better safety, both anti-lock brakes and airbags are available. For a lot of cars, even sports cars, none of that would be news, but Morgan has traditionally focused on simplicity and minimizing weight, and the available features list has usually been quite short on creature comforts and driving aids.
There are some who will complain that by dipping its toe into the use of modern technology, Morgan is abandoning what makes it great and ruining the brand. While we understand where they are coming from, to be frank, they are wrong: Safety features like airbags and ABS do add a bit of weight, but mistakes happen, and the idea of wrecking such a beautiful, low-volume car is absolutely horrible. A car without power steering or air conditioning is also a car that has extremely limited use. The few modern features that Morgan is adding allow drivers the opportunity to enjoy the vehicle on a much more regular basis, which is definitely a good thing.
Cars are meant to be driven, not kept in temperature-controlled garages and occasionally looked at. They’re meant to be enjoyed more than just a few days of the year, and it’s hard to see how a few features that allow owners to do so are ruining what makes Morgan great. You still get a handmade British roadster with a timeless look. You just also get a British roadster that can be driven in the rain or when the temperature gets above 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
As Morgan’s managing director, Steve Morris, said, “The Aero 8 offers the perfect marriage of fine craftsmanship and performance technology, one that we believe is so important in today’s increasingly autonomous world.” The new Aero 8 may be more refined and technologically advanced than its predecessors, but it still stays faithful to what makes a Morgan a Morgan. If you’re one of the lucky few to get your hands on one, take it out, drive it, and enjoy it, because there aren’t many cars like it anymore.
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