I know it’s a cliché to say that interior quality has come a long way on small volume cars. There’s usually a very long way to come from, but between the last time I drove an M600 and today things have been improved inordinately. The fit and finish on the Speedster, the stitching on the leather, the carbonfibre work is all really first class. You could sit this M600 alongside any other supercar and, non-bespoke column stalks aside, its interior wouldn’t look out of place. It looks hand-finished in the most pleasing sense.
Noble has recently appointed a dealer, Super Veloce Racing, of Buckinghamshire. “The M600 is one of the most usable supercars,” says Super Veloce’s sales and events director Lee Cunningham. “Hmm,” I think, because this is a bloke who has won a few Lamborghini races in his time, is the current Ariel Atom Cup champion, so his idea of usable probably differs from mine – given the M600 has no ABS and no stability control.
But brief reacquaintance with an M600 coupé first, and then the Speedster, shows me he’s right. The M600 has a high nose, so it gives no bother to its carbonfibre bodywork over speed bumps, even though that might mean it looks less fast while it’s standing still. Visibility is good, control weights are ideal and it rides extraordinarily well. When it was launched we were convinced the M600 out-rode, out-steered and out-handled the Ferrari 458 Italia. I think it still outrides and outsteers a 488 GTB today.
If there’s a loss in rigidity between the coupé and the Speedster, I barely felt it. Lopping off the roof hasn’t affected the torsional stiffness too much, according to Boutwood. A crash-test car is in build, which will show how well it stands up to being banged.
A road drive suggests there’s no shimmy in the mirrors, so it still feels pretty rigid to me. And the Speedster does what the coupé does, too. It rides and steers in a manner far better than you’d expect; and because it’s so light, it’s hugely agile.
The engine is still immense. Always was. There’s a little lag at lower revs, inevitably, but it makes a terrifically honest noise and has a great, honest response. The gearbox needs more work yet. If you’re going flat out – or even moderately quickly, because let’s face it, 650bhp in an 1198kg car doesn’t give many flat-out opportunities on the road – it’s fine. Good, even. Shifts are quick, if abrupt. But it still needs calibration at lower revs, and Noble knows it, and the car is going to getting it.