Cry Tally-Ho: A New 3-Cylinder Morgan 3-Wheeler Is Coming
It’s not quite a car, and it’s not a motorcycle, but the Morgan 3-Wheeler is definitely an experience worth pursuing. But it’s also an experience that’s about to end. At least, that was what many Morgan enthusiasts worried would happen. True, after the P101 Editions are built and sold, the current-gen 3-Wheeler is going away. However, it won’t be gone for good, because there’s a new 3-Wheeler on the way.
Morgan is making a next-gen 3-Wheeler
Apart from the Polaris Slingshot and Vanderhall’s machines, there aren’t many three-wheeled vehicles on sale today that aren’t motorcycles. And even among that limited crowd, the Morgan 3-Wheeler stands out due in part to its vintage-inspired design. However, just because it draws heavily from the past, doesn’t mean that Morgan can’t evolve with the times. And so, it goes for the new 3-Wheeler.
As of this writing, Morgan hasn’t fully unveiled the new 3-Wheeler. But while the heavily camouflaged test vehicle closely follows the current 3-Wheeler’s layout, there are some noticeable differences. The new model—which Morgan says might not even be called ‘3-Wheeler’—has sleeker and sharper rear bodywork and a wider front, MotorTrend says. Its front suspension is different, too, as is the position of the steering rack. The stalk-mounted headlights and three-piece nose bracket, though, are likely only for testing purposes, Motor1 notes.
However, there is another obvious element missing from the upcoming Morgan 3-Wheeler: the engine. One of the key hallmarks of the classic and modern 3-Wheeler is the exposed V-twin, which on the latter is from S&S. Unfortunately, the S&S V-twin’s European emissions exemption is about to expire. And because Morgan is a relatively small automaker, it doesn’t have the resources to develop a Euro-compliant version.
But that doesn’t mean Morgan can’t find another Euro-compliant engine for the new 3-Wheeler.
Three wheels meet three cylinders: the new Morgan 3-Wheeler ditches the V-twin for Ford power
Currently, most of Morgan’s lineup uses BMW engines. The Plus Six, for example, has the same 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six as the Z4 and the Supra. And the Plus Four—no, not the Plus 4—has the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine from the current 330i.
However, the new 3-Wheeler won’t use a BMW powerplant. Instead, Morgan is giving it a Ford inline-three engine. As of this writing, though, we don’t know which one. Ford offers two in the US: the EcoSport’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost and the Escape’s and Bronco Sport’s 1.5-liter EcoBoost. The latter engine is also available in Europe in the Fiesta ST and the Puma ST. But there’s also a 1.1-liter EcoBoost inline-three available in the European Ford Fiesta.
It’s worth noting that all of these engines are turbocharged in standard form. So, whichever one Morgan picks for the new 3-Wheeler won’t be quite as powerful, because it won’t keep its turbo. Given that the outgoing 3-Wheeler’s power output, MotorTrend believes that the next-gen version will likely have a 1.5-liter engine. And according to Autocar’s report, that appears to be the case.
There is something else that Morgan hasn’t revealed about the new 3-Wheeler, though. While the venture eventually fell apart, there was an electric 3-Wheeler, the EV3, in development at one point. Could that concept return in the new version? At this point, it’s difficult to say. But it’s not necessarily impossible. When the new Plus Six debuted in 2019, Car and Driver said Morgan had “at least one EV” planned. Those plans likely changed with the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean Morgan isn’t open to electric cars.
When can you buy the new model in the US?
Like the current-gen 3-Wheeler, the new model will be sold in the US, Autocar says. But as of this writing, there are no official pricing or availability details. However, Morgan “is confident” that the new 3-Wheeler will debut sometime in 2022, Autocar reports. So, figure a late 2022 or early 2023 US dealer arrival.
There’s still a lot left unknown about the redesigned 3-Wheeler. But fans can take solace in the fact that it’s not disappearing completely.
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