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.
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.
At a list price of 49,950 the M12 GTO-3R is visually identifiable from the GTO-3 by its faired-in twin bi-xenon headlights and Noble-designed ten-spoke alloy wheels. Inside, the 3R has extra noise insulation and full leather trim as standard. But what really sets the 3R apart from the 3, is its all-new Getrag-Ford six-speed gearbox and Quaife Automatic Torque Biasing differential, enhancing its appeal as both a relaxed, high-speed GT and an accomplished track day weapon.
Engine and transmission
On the road, 350lb ft (475Nm) of torque produced between 3500 and 5000rpm makes the car immensely flexible and easy to drive. Even at 3000rpm, the engine is producing 80 per cent of its available torque. There is also very little lag from the twin Garret T25, water-cooled turbochargers, meaning a particularly linear response throughout the rev-range. The turbochargers run a maximum 0.7 bar of boost and are equipped with an air to air intercooler, centrally mounted at the rear of the car.
The all-new Getrag-Ford six-speed manual gearbox, standard on GTO-3R models, has closer intermediate ratios than the GTO-3’s five-speed gearbox, but has an even more relaxed top gear than before, running 26.5mph per 1000rpm. This means that at 70mph the engine is turning over at a mere 2650rpm.