Noble M12 GTO 3R
In 2000, the Noble M12 GTO threatened to turn the established supercar market on its head. With its mix of scorching performance, race-bred dynamics and immaculate build quality, the Noble could be bought for a fraction of the cost of most of its rivals, but gave away nothing to them on the road and track. The press raved about it and demand rapidly grew as buyers saw this British-designed car as a credible alternative to cars costing more than twice the price.
The original Noble M12 GTO was fitted with a 2.5-litre V6 engine using twin turbochargers and produced 310bhp (314PS) - enough for it to accelerate from 0-60mph (0-97kph) in 3.9 seconds and 100mph (160kph) in 9.4 seconds (figures from Autocar magazine). As if this wasn't fast enough, at the start of 2003, Noble upped power further by replacing the 2.5-litre unit with a 3.0-litre V6 engine, again with twin turbochargers, but this time producing 352bhp (357PS).
There are currently two models in the range: the M12 GTO-3 and the M12 GTO-3R. Both cars use the same engines and underpinnings, but there are significant differences in styling, refinement and transmissions. The M12 GTO-3 is the entry model in the range, with a list price of £47,950. As with the GTO-3R, it has a GRP composite body over a spaceframe chassis offering impressive levels of structural and torsional rigidity. Inside, the cabin is spacious enough to accommodate people over six-foot tall and has excellent ergonomics, adjustable seats and steering column, a fully trimmed safety roll cage and Alcantara trim as standard.
Having conquered the specialist sports car market over the last five years, Noble Automotive is now launching an all-new model, which will firmly establish it at the quality end of the supercar market.
The British Noble M14 is set to take on rivals, such as the Porsche 911 Turbo and Ferrari 360 Modena, with a tantalising mix of class-leading dynamics, prodigious performance, a finely crafted and well equipped cabin, and levels of practicality that will appeal to owners who wish to use their car every day.
Head of design, Lee Noble, said of the M14: "We aim to catch an entirely new audience with this model, one that cares as much about the grade of leather used in the cabin as how fast the car will accelerate to 100mph. We also anticipate that M14 buyers will demand 'jump-in-and-drive' convenience, without any sacrifice in exclusivity or sophistication. I'm satisfied that these criteria have been achieved without any compromise."
Priced at £74,950, the M14 will be the flagship of the Noble range, falling into place above the existing M12 models. The new line up looks like this:
Noble M14 £74,950 (new)
Noble M400 £55,995 (new)
Noble M12 GTO-3R £49,950
Noble M12 GTC £44,950 (new)
Noble GTO-3 £47,950
The 2004 British Motor Show will see the Noble M14 unveiled for the first time. Far from being a mere concept, the show car's styling, interior, drivetrain and chassis represent what will reach production when the car goes on sale in October this year.
Anyone who has driven a Noble M12 on a race circuit will attest to the car's polished handling, user-friendly nature and - of course - its vivid performance. But there's an irony here, because the M12 was always designed as a comfortable and breathtakingly fast road car first, with track-day competence thrown in as a bonus.
This has led Noble Automotive to develop the M400, a car that takes full advantage of the scope left in the M12's chassis and engine for drivers who seek even more focus in their performance and dynamics. With a power to weight ratio of 400bhp per tonne (hence the name), the M400 is not only substantially more powerful than the other cars in the M12 range, but it also showcases a variety of unique features not seen in other Nobles.
At £55,995, the M400 is not only one of the fastest production cars of its type, but its chassis - which in standard M12 form uniquely marries high-speed composure with low-speed ride compliance - has now been sharpened to give the driver even greater control of the car at speed.
But none of this has been achieved at the expense of the M400's road manners. Thanks to completely new, highly sophisticated dampers, the M400 has lost little of the M12's ride quality, which means that it is still as usable as any other M12 on the public road. Make no mistake, the M400 is so much more than just a 'track-day special'.
ENGINE & DRIVETRAIN
425bhp, 390lb ft
Bespoke engine map
Improved engine cooling
Larger-capacity, baffled oil sump
New gearshift mechanism
Noble M15 (2006)
The ethos of the Noble M600 has developed from a small team passionate about driving. This evolved from our research of the available 'supercars' most of which lean heavily on computer assistance. The use of fashionable but often inefficient gear paddle shift, over assisted brakes and inopportune traction control have all become standard features of the modern day supercar.
We at Noble Automotive thought it time to break the mould, feeling that this now ubiquitous 'digital' driver assistance disengages and negates the driver experience and reward. We have experienced, when turning off these devices, that computer generated support can often cosmetically mask and flatter inferior chassis and handling characteristics. We decided that with the introduction of the Noble M600 it was time to 'get back to basics', to concentrate on the more 'analogue' qualities of design by utilising a principle of pure engineering integrity from the chassis up, putting the driver back in control.
The philosophy behind this radical and refreshing premise is best summed up by Peter Dyson, owner of Noble Automotive Limited: 'Noble is a labour of love, of no compromises and of challenges fought. The car speaks for itself, and absolutely reflects what the Team and I envision a true drivers car should be. It is no question uniquely "out of sync" in today's world, one overrun with cars that cannot make up their minds as to whether they want to be a car that rewards or a car that gives hollow praise by electronically 'covering' the errors.'