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.
There is no doubt that a supercar looks the best when it is offered with a bare-carbon-fiber body. The Noble M600, for example, is a pretty cool car, but the model displayed by Noble in Geneva is even more amazing.
In fact, Noble came in Geneva with two different M600s: the Carbon Sport - made of course in carbon fiber - and the Meco version featuring a blue exterior with white wheels. As you probably have guessed the one in carbon fiber was, of course, our favorite.
The M600 is powered by a Volvo-sourced Yamaha V-8 engine and comes in three different power levels: 450, 550 and 650 horsepower. It goes from 0 to 60 mph in just 3 seconds and won’t stop until it hits a top speed of 225 mph.
We are not too sure how much this version will cost, we’re sure you will have to pay more than the $320,000 you’d pay for the base version.
For a car that took a few years to develop, you would think that Noble would take to great lengths in hyping the hotly-anticipated production debut of their new supercar, the M600.
Instead, it was about as low-key as it could get. On one hand, we weren’t surprised considering that the company isn’t particularly known for bombastic and glitzy unveilings. On the other hand, you would think that a car of this stature should have had its own stage, a chance for the world to see the final product of Noble’s hard work and dedication.
In any case, Noble has finally introduced the production version of the M600 and yes, the car looks to be as good as advertised. The supercar’s appearance maintains a slender and contoured shape that doesn’t scream for attention every time you look at it, unlike other supercars we’ve seen in the past. For those of you that think a subtle yet aggressive design on a supercar doesn’t work, the M600 is proof that it definitely can. It’s also worth noting, at least as far as we’re concerned, that at first glance, you notice a few similarities with other supercars. It doesn’t mean that Noble spiked some design elements from its competitors, but rather used them as inspiration to design a car that looks about as stunning as we imagined.
UPDATE 09/08/11: Marchettino has done it again, shooting a new video of the Noble M600 supercar revving its engine around Monaco! Trust us, the sounds coming out of this supercar is nothing short of amazing, so you’ll want to hear it! Turn up your volume and hit the jump for the video.
Details on the Noble M600 after the jump.
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.