2012 Morgan Aero Coupe review

* 2012 Morgan Aero Coupe driven * BMW-sourced V8 with 372bhp * On sale now for 99,950...

21 May 2012 14:30 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

The Morgan Aero Coupe is a different sort of Morgan. While most of the firms cars are scruff-of-the-neck roadsters with more than a hint of nostalgia, the Aero is a modern supercar (albeit with striking old-school styling) designed for practicality and long-distance touring.

Whats the 2012 Morgan Aero Coupe like to drive?
The Aero Coupe certainly has supercar performance. Power comes from a BMW-sourced 4.8-litre V8 that produces 372bhp and 370lb ft of torque, and because the car is made mainly from aluminium, its extremely light.

That combination makes for some pretty staggering acceleration. The engine is keen to pull throughout the rev range, and when youre generous with the revs, the thrust you feel gets properly savage. The 0-62mph dash takes just 4.5 seconds, and the Aero Coupe can go on to a top speed of 170mph.

Acceleration is staggering: 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds

The automatic gearbox struggles to keep up, though, because its irritatingly reluctant to kick down. Youre better off using the manual override, which allows you to swap gears by pulling the selector backwards and forwards. When you do this, the gearchanges are impressively brisk.

They have nothing on the noise the engine makes, though. Fire it up, and theres a delightful bass-heavy gurgle. Put your foot down and the gurgle turns into a mind-blowing throaty howl. Youve never heard anything like it.

The engine sounds great, but the noise becomes tiring at speed

The trouble is, the noise of the engine also has much to do with why the Aero cant cut it as the luxurious long-distance tourer its designed to be.

The volume doesnt drop enough when youre up to cruising speed, so on a long journey, the noise becomes irritating rather than awe-inspiring. Despite the volume, it cant drown out the road noise generated by the fat tyres, or the sound of the wind whistling around the seals of the ill-fitting windows.

Long bonnet houses BMW-sourced V8 engine

The Aero Coupe isnt comfortable enough for a touring supercar, either. The ride is too harsh at low speeds, and while things improve when youre going faster, it cant match the comfort or high-speed stability of similarly priced rivals.

The Aero does feel very light-footed for such a big car, and theres lots of grip to play with. However, the steering undermines confidence because its initial reactions are irritatingly slow, and the inconsistent weighting and shortage of self-centring action means you often find yourself heaving away at the wheel.

Unresponsive steering is disappointing

Whats the 2012 Morgan Aero Coupe like inside?
The retro theme continues in the cabin, where there's a simple, no-frills dashboard layout. However, while simple design usually means good ergonomics, it doesnt in the Aero Coupe. Some of the dials and controls are tucked away behind the steering wheel, meaning you cant see them without craning your neck.

The steering wheel itself moves for reach and rake (although not by enough to let you see the obscured dials), but the drivers seat moves back and forth only. Even the backrest angle is fixed, never mind the height of the seat. That means some drivers could struggle to find a comfortable driving position.

Interior looks cheap and there's a shortage of seat adjustment

Thats if they can get in at all. Space isnt a problem in either of the two seats, but actually climbing into the car takes a certain amount of contortionism due to the low roof, wide sills and narrow footwells.

Once youre in, you might regret making the effort. The interior is good for a Morgan, with double-stitched leather and chrome detailing, but some parts look unforgivably cheap. Much of the switchgear is a mish-mash of old Ford and BMW parts, the windows dont line up properly and the doors are reluctant to shut without a slam. In short, the Aero Coupe is way behind the best supercars for luxury and build quality.

Youre not compensated with stacks of luxury kit, either. Your money gets you air-conditioning, remote locking and a CD player with USB input, but thats about it.

Safety kit is in similarly short supply; theres no stability control to help you tame the considerable power, and Morgan fits only two airbags.

Should I buy one?
There are certain things you can forgive a car purely because its a Morgan. The low-volume manufacturer is bound to be a little way behind the big boys on build quality, and with style taking precedence over substance, its easy to understand why the ergonomics are a little shaky.

In fact, the Aero Coupes super-rich buyers will probably forgive the car just about anything due to the way it looks and sounds. Its the ultimate way to show off.

For us, though, the Aero Coupe has too many fundamental flaws, especially when it costs just 50 shy of a hundred grand. Granted, thatll probably be a drop in the well for the people who buy it, but we can think of many other supercars at similar money thatll give you good looks and a good soundtrack, plus plenty more besides.

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What Car? says

Ivan Aistrop