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

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

What is it?

Although we’ve driven the M600 at various stages throughout its gestation, this is very much the 64,000 dollar moment for Noble’s £200,000 supercar. Because this is the first time anyone outside the factory has been allowed to drive the full-production M600, complete with carbonfibre body that reduces the kerb weight to “under 1200kg” plus an interior that, claims Noble, entirely justifies the car’s price.

The big news, apart from the fact that the car has finally made it into production and has subsequently acquired a waiting list for itself, is the new lightweight bodyshell. So impressed has Noble been by its team of carbonfibre craftsmen, and so keen is it not to give its secrets away to any potential opposition, they won’t officially say who has carried out the work. All we can say is that the company is British, is based not a million miles away from Noble’s sizeable new premises in Leicester, and has indeed done an extremely decent job.

The finish of the carbon itself is as good as you’ll see on any Lamborghini, while the quality of build throughout the rest of the car has also taken a big leap forwards, inside as well as out.

And because the production M600’s body is “over 50kg” lighter than the glass-reinforced, plastic-bodied car, road tested by this magazine last year, it’s faster than ever against the clock because the power-to-weight ratio has been improved – from 520bhp per tonne to over 545bhp per tonne. So although the Volvo-sourced twin-turbo V8 still produces a thumping 650bhp and 600lb ft, Noble reckons the 0-60mph and 0-100mph times have both been reduced, while fuel consumption has got fractionally better, too.

What’s it like?

We already knew how monstrous the M600’s straight-line performance was; and its handling, steering, ride and general dynamic resolve. And not a lot has changed on these fronts, save to say that the Alcon-developed brakes now have much better bite than before, while the ride has become a tad livelier in the production transformation, possibly because of the reduction in kerb weight. To all intents and purposes, though, the M600 remains as stupefying as it ever was in its raw ability.

What is new is the increased sense of refinement and quality that the full production car now displays, even in its minor detailing. There are still elements that disappoint, considering how much the M600 costs; the quality of its Ford-sourced switchgear, for example, and the apparent flimsiness of the fuel-filler cap are not exactly synonymous with a car that costs more – quite a lot more – than a Ferrari 458 Italia. Or a McLaren MP4-12C.

But Noble is convinced that the M600 will appeal to a different kind of customer, compared with the McLaren and Ferrari; to the sort of customer who wants a more intense experience behind the wheel, and not someone who wants to drive a supercar that adheers to the normal template.

Logic would suggest that anyone with £200k to spend on a mid-engined road rocket is bound to at least take a look at the new McLaren when considering an M600; and common sense says that, when they do, they are bound to be impressed by the 12C’s equally huge performance and by its infinitely superior every-day usability. Yet for a select few – Noble eventually wants to make just 24 cars a year – the M600 does indeed provide a sufficiently different, unquestionably more raw, driving experience compared with the McLarens and Ferraris of this world, in light of that Noble may well just pull it off.

Should I buy one?

If you are sufficiently a) wealthy and b) unhinged enough in the first place to be turned on by a car that boats 650bhp, has no anti-lock brakes and weighs less than a Renault Clio, the M600 is most definitely worth a test drive. But be warned, once you have sampled this car you’ll either love it or hate it. And once you’ve fallen for it there’s no going back.

Noble M600 4.4 V8

Price: £200,000; Top speed: 225mph (est); 0-60mph: 3.0sec (est); Economy: 25mpg (est); CO2: na; Kerb weight: 1198kg; Engine type, cc: V8, 4439cc, twin-turbocharged petrol; Power: 650bhp at 6800; Torque: 604lb ft 3800; Power-to-weight: 542bhp per tonne; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
30

17 March 2011

Well, good luck to them with that price, but doesn't that crown logo (on the steering wheel) look suspiciously similar to Maserati's?

I think the only difference is Noble's crown has four spikes as opposed to Maserati's three.

17 March 2011

I wasn't that keen on the Noble when it first appeared and thought the price too much, but it looks better in this dark colour and it is good to see it weighing so little. If I was very rich I would buy one.

The gear shift still looks like a portaloo toilet flush mechanism though :)

17 March 2011

I can see where they are going with this car but it is going to appeal to a select few. Still if they are only producing 24 a year then there shouldn't be a problem shifting them.

The big question has to be - What's next?

Is this car going to be developed to become more refined and include ABS etc so it can appeal to a wider audience? Is there an additional model in the pipe line? Twenty four cars a year isn't a lot for a company to survive on, especially if it is such a focused car.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

17 March 2011

I 'd take the new Lamborghini Aventador any day! Or wait for the Ferrari 599 replacement...

17 March 2011

This sports the same Achilles' heel as the McLaren. If all the reports are to be believed then it's going to be quite a drive, yet it looks as inspiring as cold potatoes. And, at this price point, inspire it must. After all, there are only so many individuals for whom, above all else, it's about the drive. In the case of the McLaren I suspect it's a combination of function over form (after all, they can show you a graph and a spread sheet that proves their car to be the best in the world...) and the iron hand of Ron that stole the magic. In the case of the Noble I suspect it has more to do with lack of resources to invest in a thorough process of design development and exploration. Typical is the interior: "an interior that, claims Noble, entirely justifies the car’s price"... not if these pic are anything to go by. It seems to have the same Halford's parts bin look as all the other cars I've driven that carry a Noble badge. Quite simply, good, even very good, is not good enough when your price point pitches you somewhere between the 458 Italia and the Aventador. Noble seem not to have noticed that the game has moved on.

17 March 2011

[quote Lesia44]If all the reports are to be believed then it's going to be quite a drive, yet it looks as inspiring as cold potatoes.[/quote]

I pretty much agree with you on this. I think the McLaren has an advantage styling-wise as, despite being entirely engineering-led, it manages to be a 'pretty' car but bland. The Noble is also very much form following function but manages to look awkward and dumpy, belieing its ultra low kerb weight.

I don't think they'll struggle to shift just 24 units a year, though. The sledgehammer performance will see to that...


17 March 2011

[quote bomb]I don't think they'll struggle to shift just 24 units a year, though. The sledgehammer performance will see to that...[/quote] I think the McLaren might have pulled the rug out from under that party tick before the Noble even saw the inside of a showroom. And without crushing numbers, what have you got left? Not much.

17 March 2011

[quote Lesia44]And without crushing numbers, what have you got left? Not much.[/quote]

Precisely, not much against such accomplished competition. However, although 2 dozen units will always get sold but I don't see how the numbers add up for Noble. If they sell them all that's about £5m and I'm fairly certain even Noble would have spent more than that on development of the car, they've obviously got a friendly bank.


17 March 2011

You'd hope that they were sensible enough to have a business plan to incorporate these sort of figures and still turn a profit.

Myk

17 March 2011

There will always be people with enough money to buy such a car, but like others here I can't see how 24 cars per year will keep Noble afloat. McLaren really have pulled the rug from under them. Noone in their right mind is really going to look at the McLaren and then justify spending the extra on this, which looks to be inferior in every way apart from all out performance. Let's face it, the Noble looks like a jumped-up kit car, inside and out.

And why are they using a painted turkey baster as a gear-stick?

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