The Noble M500 Harkens Back to Simpler Times
For the past 12 years, Noble’s only production car was the M600. Then, in 2018 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the company revealed the M500 concept and announced its intention to bring a new model placed under the M600. Now, four years later, those plans are getting closer to reality, and the M500 is about to enter production. Initial details suggest that the first customers will get their cars before the end of 2022 and that the M500 will be priced at £150,000 (a little over $200,000 at current exchange rates).
With the introduction of a convertible prototype for its indomitable M600, appropriately named the Speedster, Noble is stepping into unknown territory. The English automaker is famous for creating low-production, rear-wheel-drive, mid-engine sports cars that express pure driving experience, and despite the lack of a roof, this drophead is expected to be no different.
Like the regular M600, the Speedster should offer its passengers very little beyond a total immersion in speed. The only driving assists you’ll find on the hardtop are a rudimentary traction control system and the fear of death. There isn’t even ABS. The handling is hairy, taking a Stig-like touch to drive well. Mounted directly behind the cabin is a 4.4-liter V-8 with two turbochargers strapped to the exhaust manifolds, yielding a total 650 horsepower and 654 pound-feet of torque.
Plumbed into the 2,645-pound body of the current M600, that’s a power-to-weight ratio of 541 horsepower per ton, a figure that bests even the mighty Bugatti Veyron. Properly motivated, we expect the Speedster to emulate its hardtop twin, blasting from a standstill to 60 mph in three seconds, running a standing quarter mile in 11 seconds flat, and hitting a top speed of 225 mph.
Given the uncompromising nature of the Speedster, it should come as no surprise that Noble’s managing director, Peter Boutwood, is a Ferrari F40 owner and former racing driver. According to Autocar, Boutwood says Noble has no immediate plans to produce the Speedster, but rather calls the prototype a “research gathering exercise.”
"If it makes production, our aim is for it to be one of the fastest cabriolets in the world," he said. Considering the long development period required for the small Noble team to actually put an idea into production, a customer-ready Speedster might not appear for some time. We’ll eagerly await the results.
Typically, when a roofless version of a sporty car is released, the overall performance is nerfed. With no material at the top to hold it together, the chassis loses a substantial amount of torsional rigidity, which yields a serious penalty when it comes to cornering prowess. Automakers often attempt to fix this with addition bracing lower in the body, but that creates weight. And weight, if you didn’t already know, is the sworn enemy of any performance measurement. It makes everything worse — acceleration, braking, lateral grip, even fuel mileage.
Given this fact, you may be surprised to hear that Noble chopped the top on its hardcore, driver-oriented M600. However, the company says it’s happy with the current stiffness of the carbon fiber body, and thus consequently left it structurally unaltered in the Speedster prototype.
The question remains: can Noble really offer all that speed in a car with unlimited headroom?
Updated 01/09/2015: Noble unveiled the M600 Speedster at the 2015 Autosport International show. The model revealed at the show is still a prototype version and the company announced no plans to come with a production version, but we have big hopes.
Click past the jump to read more about the Noble M600 Speedster.
While speaking to ATFULLCHAT at the recent Pageant of Power event at Cholmondeley, Noble Automotive MD Peter Boutwood officially released the very first, and possibly the only picture ever, of a Noble M600 Convertible.
After the M600 coupe’s launch a couple of years back, we always felt that something was missing from Noble’s range with a convertible being at the very top of our wish list. However, it’s worth noting at this point that the following image is simply being pinned as “a factory styling exercise” with Boutwood claiming “there are definitely no plans at present to produce it.”
Nevertheless, it’s still an interesting prospect being showcased by Noble and despite their claims that it’s only a styling exercise, we have a slight inkling that if pre-existing Noble customers and possible new customers like the idea, and Noble Automotive can find the funds to produce such a car, the company will prepare an M600 Convertible in the coming years.
With that being said, the following picture only seems to be a rendering of a convertible variant rather than an actual photograph taken of a one-off M600 convertible. As a result, we’ll take Boutwood’s statement to heart, but we’ll still dream of a convertible M600 being produced some day, even if that means an out-of-house tuner has to perform the conversion.
Do you think Noble should consider turning this “styling exercise” into a production ready car? Hit us up in the comments section below!
When Lee Noble decided to make a living for himself, the highly motivated Briton decided that designing, building and selling his own brand of affordable super cars would be a good idea. A handful of speed machines later, including the original Noble M12 and even an Ultima GT-R, Mr. Noble’s high performance coach builders are hard at work coming up with the next generation of every man’s super car. In an recent interview with the automotive journal, AutoCar, Lee Noble announced plans for a a new closed cockpit, mid engine, two seat sports car that is slated to go on sale next year.
The next generation Noble will give owners as much as 650 HP for less than £100,000 and will be limited to just 100 examples per year. Depending on how much money are you ready to pay", the future Noble super car will be powered by a healthy V8 that will produce anywhere from 400 HP all the way up to 650 HP. The new Noble will be shifted with a Graziano six speed manual gearbox, the same transaxle as was used on the previous Noble M600. Weighing in at around 1200 kg, the next generation super car will be ale to sprint from 0 to 60 MPH in less than 3.5 seconds and an even more impressive run from 0 to 100 MPH in under 7.0 seconds.
Lee Noble also added that "it’ll start at around £70,000, although even the top-end versions will still cost less than £100,000...I always said I wanted to build a car with the performance of a Ferrari Enzo but for less than £100,000, and unless we do something badly wrong in the near future, that’s what we’ll deliver." If his track record is anything to go by, Lee will certainly deliver on his promise.