First look at the 2016 Morgan Aero 8: Classic looks, modern heartThe original Morgan Aero 8 was launched in 2000 and was the firm's first big design change. Today the Aero 8 is back and a very different beast. Jon Wells, Morgan's head of design, talks XCAR through it.
[MUSIC] So, I'm Jon Wells and I'm the head of design styling at Morgan. 15 years ago to this day, Morgan launched the Arrow eight, this was a car that repositioned the brand, it had an all new aluminium chassis, aluminium body work, V8 engine, and it really separated Morgan, em away from the classic Morgan and put us into a new market place. 15 years on, the Arrow brand is. Witnessed a lot of changes and a lot of evolution. We've improved the chassis and suspension, the vehicle's capabilities, its performance. We've introduced two coupes and a [UNKNOWN] top on top of this platform. And we've no longer created a soft top open car. So 15 years on it was the anniversary of this Arroway and we wanted to look back at our roots. And reintroduce a proper British open top car within the [UNKNOWN]. [MUSIC] So we approached this project with quite a holistic view of the whole design. We take all the best bits of [UNKNOWN] throughout the years and we try to create a car that. Is the most complete and resolved more then all are products. So we look at the shanty. This has got an all new shanty underneath. We've drastically improved the portional stiffness. We've moved the company, the suspension, which was inboard, to the outside, [INAUDIBLE] suspension. Which enabled us to come back to some of the body roll and create a much more stable car, not only at low speeds but a lot flatter in the corners too. We've got new ro, anti-roll bars, we have a new limited slip differential on the back of the car, too. One of the big focuses of this car for me was really emphasizing the fact this is an open-top British sports car. So the styling itself in the body is meant to really exaggerate that. We have some very long shoulder lines which run through the car, which is inspired by a lot of the 1960s open top cars that really did focus on that driver interaction with its environment. So these long shoulder lines flow around the occupants. They are almost echoing that of a boat deck, having that sense of escapism as well. The interior itself has been drastically reworked. What I've tried to do is take away a lot of the leather which was in the car originally. We've always used very fine natural leathers, and the cars were bathed in them, and by taking some of this leather out and replacing it with other materials, like classic boxweave carpet, we were actually able to really celebrate the individual materials and the leathers. So have fine leather of every point of contact. And then [UNKNOWN] with the very classic carpet. We've also looked at a lot more wood finishes. Morgan obviously worked with wood, we do this very well and bringing that into the car in a very [UNKNOWN] as well as a functional way is important for me. In terms of the interaction, we've looked at different dashboard barriers. I think it's important to [UNKNOWN] this point this has got the most. Elaborate options list of any model we've ever created. The dashboard for example could either have a very tactile mechanical interface, or you can can have a multi-touchscreen system which gives you all those modern conveniences. Inside the car you've also got carbon seats, or the traditional sort of foam leather seats, again completely transforming the way this car looks. The same is to be said of the hardtop on this vehicle as well. What we didn't want to do is consider things like hard tops as an afterthought. And we tried to provide as many different possible variations of this car in one go. So we considered the styling of the hard top right from the offset. The way we sent in this car is very much, not as a limited run of maybe 300 vehicles, but 300 one of cars. Every one will be so different with our extensive options list and the different coupe variants or open top variants that we anticipate quite an exciting, eclectic mix of cars. For me every Morgan has a lot of inherent drama, especially within the Aeros. Whether it's the noise, or the length of some of these elaborate lines, the way they drive, the view down the bonnet. And what I wanted to do is bring a lot of drama back into the car with a very dramatic opening panel. But it's quite multi-functional, that rear hood clamshell, actually conceals the fuel filler. And it seals around the hood line, which eliminates unnecessary shut lines. So there's only the very barest minimum shut lines on the actual vehicle. [UNKNOWN] As this boot opens up towards the rear and closes again, it actually tensions the soft top which is neatly stowed away underneath. This is the first Morgan ever to have a hood that is stowed away out of sight in in production which is quite a big one for us. [LAUGH] So this car uses a BMW V8 that we've used previously in our Aero products. It's a fantastic engine. We have worked really closely with BMW on the development and set of this engine, and we really love the way it drives and performs. The output is around about 370 horsepower, which is a similar sort of performance that goes to the previous Arrow in terms of torque, top speed, and acceleration. However, it's important to add that we really looked at the aerodynamics of this vehicle. Which does improve that on-road stability when you combine this with the improved chassis, which is now stiffer, and the jaw wishbone suspension on the outside and more refined road holding. I think it will give the sensation of much more exhilaration, especially when that roof's down and you can hear the exhaust, and you're much more in contact with your surroundings. I think it would be fair to say, without getting ahead of ourselves, we enter production in autumn, this is probably the sharpest, fastest-handling Aero we've built to date. [MUSIC]