It's expensive - but the drive proves it's worth every penny

Our Verdict

Noble M600
The Noble M600 might lack the pedigree of a Ferrari, but it is a wonderful drivers' car

The Noble M600 is one of the fastest and best-handling supercars we’ve tested

  • First Drive

    Noble M600 4.4 V8

    Be warned, once you have sampled this car you’ll either love it or hate it
  • First Drive

    Noble M600

    It's expensive - but the drive proves it's worth every penny
12 August 2009

What is it?

This is the Noble M600, a £200k car that intentionally eschews all the usual conveniences crammed into a mass-produced supercar.

So it’s a raw, very racy, slightly scary machine that aims to deliver deeper driving satisfaction than an entire car park full of Ferrari F430s.

It’s powered by a twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8, courtesy of a quite peculiar but also rather compelling combination of Ford, Yamaha, Volvo and American engine specialist Motorkraft. This small, exquisite-looking powerplant originally started life as a centrepiece for Ford’s now-defunct Premier Automotive Group, and it was designed for that role by Yamaha. In normally aspirated form it’s seen service in the Volvo XC90 and S80.

In the M600, the headline outputs sit somewhere between amazing and insane. Maximum power is 650bhp at 6800rpm, while peak torque is 604lb ft at 3800rpm.

What’s perhaps most startling but also most revealing about the M600’s rampant, rabid intention is its weight. Give or take an electric window switch here and there, it graces the scales at around 1250kg.

A simple bit of calculator work will tell you that it therefore has around 520bhp per tonne and at least 480lb ft per tonne. A Bugatti Veyron has 495bhp per tonne and 461lb ft per tonne. And the M600, remember, is rear-wheel drive and not four-wheel drive like the Bugatti.

What’s it like?

With these crazed statistics ricocheting around the outer edges of your imagination, and with the additional knowledge that the entire rear transaxle and six-speed manual gearbox have been designed specifically for the M600 by Graziano (the same company that produces bespoke transmissions for Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin), the price and pedigree of this car gradually start to make sense.

In fact, you realise PDQ that this is a very different kind of machine from the M12 and M400 that Noble produced at the beginning of the century. This car is truly on another level. The M600 is preposterously fast and clings to the road like the proverbial boiled sweet sticks to a blanket, yet it’s also eerily civilised. And that’s a real surprise.

The M600 glides along the public road with much the same sense of comfort and fluidity that you find in the very best cars from Lotus, in fact. The power steering may well be as keen in response as a fly fisherman, but it’s also light and entirely free from kickback. Even the clutch is easy to use; it feels no heavier underfoot than that of the average hot hatch.

As for the engine, it’s just spooky how well mannered it is, how flexible it is and how well resolved it feels in terms of throttle response, considering how much energy it can produce if and when you put your foot down.

The same goes for the gearchange, which is rifle-bolt precise but doesn’t require any of the Herculean strength you’d expect. The whole car feels astonishingly grown up in its demeanour.

However, when you do finally put your foot down it isn’t exactly a pussycat. The first time I pressed the long-travel accelerator all the way to the floor I was in fourth gear, just in case, already travelling at about 50mph. After a soft initial response from the throttle, there was a series of hisses and whooshes from behind my head, and then the sensation of being thrust towards the horizon became the only thing I was aware of, and it was stronger than anything I’ve ever experienced in a road car before, including the mighty Veyron.

And then the car squirted sideways as the rear tyres lit up and, for one awful and seemingly endless moment, I thought I was about to spank the one and only M600 in existence.

Fair enough, the road was wet and I should have known better, but the level of acceleration it produced before the wheelspin came really did shock me. It was unreal. It was outrageous. It was absolutely bloody sensational.

As for the rest of the car, it’s almost (but not quite) as amazing as the raw performance. It rides well, it handles beautifully, it steers properly and it stops well – although there is no ABS as such, because ABS is for wimps, according to Noble.

Should I buy one?

Pound for pound, I’d say this is one of the most exciting cars I’ve driven in the past 10 years. You’d have to dial the clock right back to somewhere in the mid-1990s, to a piece of moorland road in Yorkshire on which a bright red Ferrari F40 was sitting, in order to recall the same kind of intense, slightly terrifying driving experience. The M600 is genuinely that kind of car.

 

Join the debate

Comments
20

26 August 2009

The most exciting car since the F40 is a huge claim as by all accounts the F40 is the greatest of all supercars with the Mclaren F1 up there as well.

While I am sure it is an amazing drive, to me, it does not look like a 200K supercar such as the Mclaren, Zonda or F40 do and therefore does not have that special supercar feel too it.

Still...would not say no to one! ; )

26 August 2009

Brilliant car and writing.

26 August 2009

If Steve Sutcliffe thought he's "lost it" whilst being adventurous with the throttle pedal on damp tarmac, there ain't much hope for all the wealthy playboy owners ;o)

26 August 2009

Well, as I already pointed out, for 200k you can buy a decent original F40. It's a Ferrari, no depreciation and specific output of the engine it's in the same league.

"Abs is for wimps", says Mr Noble? Sure, wimps who want to survive after a ride with their car.

Abs development is expensive for a car which is going to sell in very tiny numbers. Not to mention traction control or airbags. This is the only reason.

It's easy to make a light car: just make it unsafe at any speed.

Ferrari Scuderia has same weight, but at least it's got proper airbags, abs and Tc. And no Volvo engine.

Ok, it's british, but it's a joke of a car.

26 August 2009

[quote Ultramagnus]

While I am sure it is an amazing drive, to me, it does not look like a 200K supercar such as the Mclaren, Zonda or F40 do and therefore does not have that special supercar feel too it.

[/quote]

Agreed, When they took the concept from £80k to £200k they should have spent more time redesigning it to look a special as a £200k car needs to be.

26 August 2009

I dont it will sell well due to the high price. There are loads of supercars available at lest cost.

26 August 2009

you realistically cant ask that kind of money for such a niche car - no matter how capable it is - anyone in that level of spending power for a supercar will be more concerned with the image and kudos of driving it rather than its out and out abilities - that they would never fully realise anyway.

26 August 2009

If thats the case , then the Nissan GTR is the new everyday supercar ,bar none!, and apart from money, what qualifies you for these "MAN" cars? ,i'd like to know.

Peter Cavellini.

26 August 2009

As is written in this weeks mag there are lots of small independant car makers british car makers out there who are never heard of who produce exciting cars at real world prices, Noble appeared when the Mclaren F1 came along and started these other companys by creating something modern,new not sold on heritage, the M600 will be bought no question but and its a big but (no pun intended!) the car shapewise is nothing new,from the front it lokks like an 80's Le-mans car,the side profile almost any 90's Ferrari the cues are there, and the rear, Lotus anyone!?

Peter Cavellini.

26 August 2009

£200k? You gotta be off your trolly to buy one...

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