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.
Last June Noble unveiled the first teaser image, making us believe that sometime in the future we could see a roadster version for the M600 supercar. However, the company said nothing else on such a possible model since then. Now, Peter Boutwood, managing director of Noble is bringing the M600 Roadster back into discussion.
According to him: "We haven’t built or tested one, but it is a feasible project." If built, the M600 Roadster would use a removable roof panel made of lightweight carbon fiber. When removed, the roof can be stored in the engine bay, so that the passenger can enjoy the same interior space as in the coupe.
Also, the company decided to go for a roof panel because it is not structural and it will not affect the M600’s handling capabilities. Talking about this new roof, Boutwood said: "It’s not about how it looks, it’s about how it goes and drives. We would never compromise the car".
Everything else will be borrowed from the coupe version. If built, the next M600 Roadster will arrive on the market in the next two or three years.
Click past the jump to read more about the Noble M600.
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!
Lee Noble is no neophyte in the supercar business, having already been involved in a number of exotic automotive ventures in the past. After founding Noble Supercars, Noble was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the M600. After selling the company a few years ago, Noble went ahead and established a new South Africa-based brand: Fenix Automotive.
Now, there’s word that Noble has become involved with another start-up exotic builder, Poland’s Arrinera Automotive. The skepticism surrounding the production of Arrinera’s Venocara supercar was justified when the car was unveiled a few months ago, mostly because of a lack of substantial funds to support the entire project. But now that Noble has entered the picture - he reportedly bought a five-percent share in the company - the entire Venocara project seems to have gained some traction.
As part of the agreement, both Arrinera and Fenix are hatching an agreement to create a small group of different brands that will build and develop their own respective supercars. The first step to this collaboration will constitute Fenix selling 50 percent of the company to Arrinera sometime this year, with the end game being that all these brands will form a powerful supercar network in the future.
We don’t know how all of this will play out, but it does create a little bit of excitement to see a group of start-up companies join forces to give the old guards of the industry a serious run for their money.
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.
Mr. Noble has just announced his all new endeavor: Fenix Automotive Limited. With the line’s first launch scheduled for the end of 2010, Lee promises an ultra powerful mid engined V8 super car that can accelerate from 0 to 100 MPH in under 7 seconds and cost less than £75,000. According to the man himself, "Our new car will offer buyers performance and dynamics that they’d normally have to spend well over £100,000 to experience, but at a far more affordable price...It will combine simplicity, strength and agility, while its two-seat, closed body will ensure sensible levels of refinement for road use." With a new plan under his belt and a more than a quarter century experience honing his craft, we wouldn’t bet on Fenix Automotive to fail anytime soon.
Press release after the jump.
In a recent interview with Piston Heads, the company’s new boss Peter Boutwood announced that the launch of the new M600 is near by. The car will be conceptually similar to a Ferrari F40 and will be limited to only 40 unit a year.
The car is currently under testings and development programme. The M600 is to be announced, but this will not happen before it has been completely and thoroughly tested.
It will however be a carbon fibre body shell, twin turbo V8 powered, with a six speed gearbox designed and developed for Noble by Graziano Trasmissioni.
The M600 will have no "absolute" competitors, but obviously it will appeal to those already in the high performance market; the nearest competitor Noble can equate in conceptual terms is probably the Ferrari F40.
The car will not have a convertible version and Noble will soon post the first images on its official web site.