If you’re a fan of lifted, off-road-prepped supercars and sports cars, you have Safari 911 builds to thank for that. However, the trend hasn’t just inspired tuners; it’s also starting to spread to automakers, including, somewhat unexpectedly, Morgan. The British company is mostly known for vintage-style sports cars and the unconventional 3-Wheeler. But while the Morgan Plus Four CX-T has the classic looks, it’s designed less for Savile Row and more for the Paris-Dakar.
The Morgan Plus Four CX-T skips teatime for off-road playtime
Although it sort of shares a name with the Plus 4, the Morgan Plus Four CX-T isn’t based on that car. The Plus 4 was built on a steel chassis, while its replacement, the ‘regular’ Plus Four, has an aluminum one. Not to mention new wheels and brakes, new double-wishbone suspension, and a different drivetrain, Road & Track explains.
Getting the Plus Four ready for off-roading required some additional modifications, though. That’s why Morgan partnered with Rally Raid UK to design and set up the CX-T. And Rally Raid brought its extensive Dakar experience to the occasion.
To start, the Morgan Plus Four CX-T gets bespoke EXE-TC coilovers, modified bushings, and control arms from the larger Plus Six. The latter upgrade allows for extra travel and gives the CX-T a wider track. The sports car also has Maxxis all-terrain tires, five skid plates, and both an internal and an external roll cage. A composite hard-top fits between the two cages.
Speaking of, the external roll cage has an integrated rear equipment rack with two waterproof Pelican cases, a Zarges aluminum toolbox, two Rotopax containers, and two spare wheels with tires. The roll cage itself can also hold things like recovery equipment, additional storage bags, bikes, and even surfboards. And inside, the Plus Four CX-T has a first-aid kit, RAM track mount, removable map/document holder, flexible map light, and insulated ‘cool bag.’
Like all Morgan Plus Fours, the CX-T has a BMW-sourced 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, Top Gear says. With the six-speed manual, it makes 255 bhp and 258 lb-ft of torque—all to the rear wheels. But while it lacks AWD, the Plus Four CX-T does have an electronically-controlled limited-slip differential.
“It’s hilarious,” Top Gear says, and goes “far further than you’d expect”
The Morgan Plus Four CX-T might be new, but the idea of a rally Morgan isn’t. That ‘T’ in ‘CX-T’ stands for ‘Trials,’ which were essentially the off-road equivalent of autocross races. Morgans, including early 3-Wheelers, have taken part in these events since 1911. So, in a way, the CX-T concept predates the Safari 911.
Besides historical precedence, the Morgan Plus Four CX-T also has genuine off-road credibility. On top of the new suspension and tires, Rally Raid raised the air intake to improve the wading depth and gave the car extra off-road spotlights. Morgan even installed a new exhaust system to improve the Plus Four’s departure angle, Autoblog reports. And the CX-T has just over 9” of ground clearance—that’s more than a non-Wilderness Subaru Outback.
To be sure, the Morgan Plus Four CX-T isn’t a rally car, nor is it rated for the Dakar. It doesn’t even have sports seats. But “it’s a hoot, secure and confidence-inspiring” when it hits the dirt, Top Gear says. The car is easy to control, whether in a straight line or in a sweeping drift, thanks to excellent weight balance and those grippy tires. And it rides surprisingly well, Top Gear notes. The Plus Four CX-T might not be a rock crawler, but it’s certainly fun when the pavement ends.
How much does a Morgan Plus Four CX-T cost?
You’ll have to act quickly if you want a Morgan Plus Four CX-T. The automaker says it’s only building eight examples before the end of 2021. And they won’t be cheap; prices start at the equivalent of $237,000.
That’s quite a lot of money for what’s essentially an off-road toy. Especially since there’s another RWD, external-roll-cage-equipped car available, the Ariel Nomad Tactical. It might be more exposed and less luxurious, but it starts at ‘just’ $92,250.
Still, buying the Morgan Plus Four CX-T, or indeed, any Morgan, is inherently an impractical, emotion-driven decision. And from the looks of it, this Safari 911 fighter delivers plenty of thrills.
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