Noble Automotive Ltd., more commonly known simply as Noble, is a
British sports car manufacturer based in Leicester. Noble Automotive
Ltd. was established in 1999 by
Lee Noble in Leeds, West Yorkshire,
for producing high-speed sports cars with a rear mid-engine,
rear-wheel drive layout.
Lee Noble was the chief designer and owner of
Noble. He sold the company in August 2006. He resigned from the
company in February 2008 and announced his new venture, Fenix
Automotive in 2009. The company has since moved to larger premises
at Meridian Business Park near Leicester.
Noble is a low-production British sports car company, its past
products include the M12 GTO, M12 GTO-3, M12 GTO-3R and Noble M400.
The M12 GTO-3R and M400 share chassis and body, but have minor
differences in engines and suspensions. The M15 has a new space frame
chassis. The body and chassis of the Noble is built by Hi-Tech
Automotive in Port Elizabeth, South Africa alongside Superformance
cars. Once the body shell is completed, it is sent to the Noble
factory where the engines, transmissions, etc. are added.
In 2009 Noble released the M600, a car which takes Noble into Hyper
Car territory. With 650 bhp (485 kW) available from its
purpose built 4.4-litre V8 Yamaha twin turbocharged engine, the carbon
fibre, light weight bodied car is aimed firmly at the established
Ferrari/Porsche brands. Deliveries to customers are expected mid-2010.
The retail price is GBP 200,000.
Only 220 Noble GTO-3Rs and M400s were exported to the US. They are the
only Nobles available to the American market. The US distribution
rights to the M12s and M400s were sold in February 2007 to 1G Racing
from Ohio. Due to high demand of these cars, 1G released its own copy,
named Rossion Q1.
Noble M10 (1999–2000)
Noble M12 (2000–2008)
3 Noble M400
4 Noble M14
5 Noble M15
6 Noble M600
7 See also
8.1 Other sources
9 External links
Noble M10 (1999–2000)
Main article: Noble M10
Noble M10 is a two-door, two seater model built in convertible
form only. It is powered by a naturally aspirated (i.e., no forced
induction) 2.5-litre engine. It was introduced in 1999, but is no
longer in production, having been replaced by the M12. Only a few were
ever made, as customers moved deposits onto the M12 as soon as its
credentials were announced.
Noble M12 (2000–2008)
Main article: Noble M12
Noble M12 GTO-3R at the 2003 Goodwood Festival of Speed
Like the Noble M10, the
Noble M12 is a two-door, two-seater model,
originally planned both as a coupe and as a convertible. All M12s have
been powered by specially tuned turbocharged Ford
Duratec V6 engines.
The M12 has a full steel roll cage, steel frame, and G.R.P. (fibre
glass) composite clam shell body parts. These cars are extremely
lightweight and stiff. Although looks to be track derived, the M12
performs very well on both road and track, with surprisingly good ride
quality, but a rigid feel. The coupe evolved through
four (4) variants, with the M400 being the ultimate version of the
M12, followed by the GTO-3R.
Noble M12 GTO – 2.5L bi-turbo 310 bhp (231 kW)
Noble M12 GTO-3 – 3.0L bi-turbo 352 bhp (262 kW)
Noble M12 GTO-3R – 3.0L bi-turbo 352 bhp (262 kW)
0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 3.7 seconds was published in the
official brochure of the M12 GTO-3R, Road and Track indicated a
0–60 mph performance of 3.3 seconds, but subsequently listed it
as 3.5 seconds. Its top speed is listed as 170 mph. Lateral Gs
are reported in excess of 1.2. Noble enthusiasts often modify their
cars for even greater performance. It is widely believed that just 165
M12 GTO 3-R models were made in the UK upon the owners findings on
such sites as pistonheads.com and even fewer were made for the GTO-3
and GTO versions.
Main article: Noble M400
The M400 is the track variant of the M12. Its power-to-weight ratio is
over 400 bhp (300 kW) per ton, and is the figure from which
its model name derives. It has 425 bhp (317 kW; 431 PS)
and has been reported to do 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) in as
little as 2.97 seconds. Car and Driver (March 2007) achieved a
0–60 mph time of 3.3 seconds and a 0–100 mph time of
7.52 seconds. Although often listed as 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds,
the M400 generally comes in at 3.2 seconds according to various
publications and generally listed amongst the fastest accelerative
cars. Noble indicates only that the car is capable of achieving
0–60 mph in under 4 seconds. Its top speed is listed as
185 mph (300 km/h). A top speed of 202 mph
(325 km/h) has been achieved by Noble's former press officer.
Lateral Gs are reported in excess of 1.2. It has both a 3-point
seatbelt and a 5-point harness.
The most notable differences from the M12 are the use of forged
pistons, T28 turbos, a front anti-roll bar, stiffer springs, different
Pirelli P Zero tyres, a smoother gear shifter, and a slightly
narrower central tunnel as the driver now sits a bit more central than
previous models. Exterior differences remain subtle. The colour scheme
tends to incorporate anthracite (Gris) wheels, rear wing supports and
wing ends but some examples maintain silver wheels and supports. The
front splitter is now removed (Although many owners opt to have this
put on). The main change is the addition of side pods to enhance air
into the system and to create a visual impact. Air conditioning is now
an £1,995 option and adds to the weight. The interior has an added
oil gauge that resides next to the boost one. Additionally the sparco
alcantara seats and finishings differ to the other Noble's (Alcantara
is one third the weight of leather). The
Noble M400 won the car of the
year award in 2005 for one publication. The M400 is designed to be an
outstanding track car that is also pleasant to drive on the road. With
just 75 examples made (UK/Europe) this version is sought after and
Main article: Noble M14
Noble M14 debuted at the 2004
British Motor Show
British Motor Show and generated
significant interest in the motoring press. It was planned to compete
with the Porsche 911 Turbo and Ferrari F430. It was based on the
chassis of the M12, with only minor modifications. It had a new body
and a more up market interior. Following the debut of the car Lee
Noble decided that the car was insufficiently different from the
M12/M400 to justify the price increase despite having taken a number
of deposits. Noble instead developed a brand new car, the M15,
developing further from the M12 and M14, although the cars have few
Main article: Noble M15
Production of the M15 was planned to begin in early 2006, but has not
taken place. The
Noble M15 was intended to appeal to a far broader
market and compete directly with the Porsche 911 Turbo and Ferrari
F430. As a result, the
Noble M15 was expected to have a number of
features not previously found on Nobles such as satnav, traction
control, electric windows and ABS. The company issued a press release
about the M15, stating that the M15 will be produced after the
introduction of the M600. The M15 of the future will be different than
the car shown in 2006.
Despite increased comfort and usability compared to previous Noble
cars press releases stated that Noble expected the M15 to be
significantly quicker than the M400 around a race track. It is able to
accelerate from 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 3.3 seconds and
has a top speed of 185 mph (298 km/h).
The car was based on a brand new platform with a longitudinally
mounted engine connected to a bespoke gearbox created by Graziano. The
double wishbone suspension is a development of the system mounted on
the M400. Mounting the engine longitudinally allowed the designer to
increase cooling flow to the engine which allows the 3.0L twin turbo
V6 to produce 455 bhp (339 kW; 461 PS). The engine was
designed to meet emissions regulations and the new steel/aluminium
space frame was designed with a view to passing crash test regulations
around the world. The M15 was planned to be the first Noble to gain
European and US Type Approval.
According to founder Lee Noble, "I wanted to produce a supercar people
could use every day. It was time for Noble to take a big step up in
terms of refinement, practicality and style."
The M15 appeared in Top Gear and presenter
Richard Hammond was very
impressed. It was a lot quicker around the Top Gear track than the old
Noble. According to Richard this has to do with the new, stronger
gearbox which enables Noble to allow more boost and let the same
engine produce more power.
The Stig managed a lap time of 1:22.5 which
is currently 50th on the power lap board.
Main article: Noble M600
In 2010, Noble began sales production of the M600. It has a Volvo
V8 engine (producing 650 bhp, 485 kW,
659 PS), a carbon fibre body shell, and a 6-speed gear box, made
by Yamaha. It competes in the same category as the Ferrari F430. The
2,800-pound (1,300 kg) M600 can accelerate from 0–62.1 mph
(100 km/h) in 3.5 seconds and requires only another 4 seconds to
achieve 100 mph (160 km/h). It has over 1G of grip on the
skid pad. The brake discs in the
Noble M600 are steel. The Noble comes
with no ABS or ASM and TC as those features will be optional, making
Noble M600 a pure driver's car. The British supercar will cost
around £300,000 when it is launched, and only 50 will be made
Noble publicly tested an M600 prototype 2 in the USA, comparing its
performance with a
Porsche Carrera GT
Porsche Carrera GT and Ferrari Enzo. This
prototype was detuned to 500 bhp (373 kW; 507 PS).
The Noble was also featured on the fifth episode of the 14th series of
Top Gear, in which
Jeremy Clarkson complained of its lack of features
but was astonished by its power and acceleration. The Noble posted a
time of 1:17.7 around the
Top Gear test track
Top Gear test track with
The Stig behind the
wheel on a cold winter day, and despite the conditions the M600 was
the eighth-fastest behind the
Ariel Atom 500, the
McLaren MP4-12C, the
Lamborghini Aventador, the
Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, the Gumpert
Ascari A10 and the Koenigsegg CCX. It beat the Bugatti EB
16.4 Veyron and the Pagani Zonda Roadster F in lap times around the
Top Gear test track.
The M600 was featured again in Top Gear in a challenge to drive from
Lecce, Italy to Rome. The M600 was driven by
Richard Hammond while
Jeremy Clarkson drove the
Lamborghini Aventador and
James May drove
McLaren MP4-12C. Along the way, the trio stopped at the Nardò
Ring to test the driver's willingness to push their respective
vehicles to their limits while in a perpetual corner. Following the
track test, they continued on their way to Rome when Hammond
experienced clutch trouble in the Noble and had to have the car towed
to a garage to replace the clutch and disassemble and rebuild the
gearbox. Hammond eventually rejoined his co-presenters and continued
on with the rest of the challenge, albeit in a noticeably different
M600 provided by Noble, the vehicle was right-hand drive and painted
black whereas the vehicle Hammond began the challenge with was a
left-hand drive car painted red like the Aventador and the MP4-12C.
In 2012, the M600 was reviewed in Top Gear (U.S. TV series), in the
last episode of the 2nd season, there
Tanner Foust travels to England
to test the new Noble M600. They introduce the segment saying: "Noble
has not yet determined the top speed of the M600 and Tanner is tasked
with determining the top speed of the vehicle". He races a Lamborghini
Gallardo Superleggera and an Audi R8 in half-mile drag race. The M600
comes in first, beating the Superleggera in second and the R8 in
third. Tanner then takes the M600 to an American Air Force base to
determine the maximum top speed. Tanner drove the M600 to 215 mph
(346 km/h). Tanner gives a generally favorable review of the
M600. He praises the car for its large power to weight ratio and calls
it "...one of the purest driving experiences around," due to its lack
of driver aids. At the conclusion of his review, Tanner states, "The
M600 has proven itself to be a member of the supercar elite."
In the motoring show
Fifth Gear (Series 17),
Jason Plato drove the car
up to 330 km/h (205 mph).
On a video test of the YouTube channel DRIVE, Chris Harris (in which
he also drove the Ariel Atom) drove it to over 205 mph (almost
330 km/h) on the Nordschleife section of the Nürburgring
According to UK enthusiast website ATFULLCHAT the management at Noble
Automotive have not ignored the possibility of building an M600
roadster. On 21 June 2012 the website published a rendering of an M600
drophead that was commissioned internally by Noble Automotive,
although company MD Peter Boutwood is quoted as stating there are no
plans at present to produce such a machine.
List of car manufacturers of the United Kingdom
Lee Noble announces his new supercar project". Bauer Media Limited.
19 November 2009. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
^ Leicester, John F, (22 August 2009). "Noble car to be built in
Leicestershire". Thisisleicestershire.co.uk. Archived from the
original on 26 August 2009. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
^ "Rossion Q1: New U.S. Supercar Comes From Noble Stock". Edmunds,
Inc. 12 July 2007. Archived from the original on 6 June 2008.
Retrieved 8 April 2008.
^ Neff, John (5 April 2006). "
Noble M15 official pics and details".
Autoblog. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
^ Lienert, Dan (18 April 2006). "The New British Supercar". Forbes.
Retrieved 16 January 2016.
Noble M600 Review". Top Gear. UK. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
Noble M600 Testing". Gtspirit.Com. 5 December 2008. Retrieved 18
^ Chris-R (21 June 2012). "Exclusive!
Noble M600 Roadster – the
first (and only?) official pic". atfullchat.com. Archived from the
original on 27 June 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
"Noble steals the (British Motor) show with a surprise new supercar",
a Car Enthusiast article
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Noble Cars – official website of Noble Cars
Rossion Cars – official website of 1G Racing (producer of the
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