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Noble Automotive Ltd.
Type Private
Founded 1999
Founder(s) Lee Noble
Headquarters Moat Way, Barwell, Leicestershire, United Kingdom
Key people Peter Boutwood, Managing Director
Industry Automotive
Products Sports cars

A Noble ? advertising a 'supercar' rental club

Noble Automotive Ltd., more commonly known simply as Noble, is a British sports car manufacturer.

It was established in 1999 by Lee Noble in Barwell, Leicestershire, for producing high-speed sports cars with a rear mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout. Lee Noble was the chief designer and owner of Noble. He sold the company in August 2006. He resigned from the company in February 2008 and announced his new venture, Fenix Automotive in 2009.[1] The company has since moved to larger premises at Meridian Business Park near Leicester.[2]

Noble is a low-production British sports car company, its past products include the M12 GTO, M12 GTO-3, M12 GTO-3R and Noble M400. The M12 GTO-3R and M400 share chassis and body, but have minor differences in engines and suspensions. The M15 has a new space frame chassis. The body and chassis of the Noble is built by Hi-Tech Automotive in Port Elizabeth, South Africa alongside Superformance cars. Once the body shell is completed, it is sent to the Noble factory where the engines, transmissions, etc. are added.

In 2009 Noble Released the M600, a car which takes Noble into Hyper Car territory. With 650BHP available from its purpose built 4.4 litre V8 Twin turbo charged engine, the carbon fibre, light weight bodied car is aimed firmly at the established Ferrari/Porsche brands. Deliveries to customers are expected mid 2010. With a retail price of GBP200,000 the cost is as mind blowing as its 225 mph top speed.

Only 220 Noble GTO-3Rs and M400s were imported to the U.S. They are the only Nobles available to the American market. The U.S. distribution rights to the M12s and M400s were sold in February 2007 to 1G Racing from Ohio. Due to high demand of these cars, 1G released its own copy, named Rossion Q1.[3]

Noble M10 (1999 - 2000)

Main article: Noble M10

The Noble M10 is a two-door, two seater model built in convertible form only. It is powered by a naturally-aspirated (i.e., no forced induction) 2.5-litre engine. It was introduced in 1999, but is no longer in production, having been replaced by the M12. Only a few were ever made as customers moved deposits onto the M12 as soon as its credentials were announced. The M10 is similar in performance of the Lotus Elise in many respects. The Toyota MR2 Spyder is noted for having a somewhat similar appearance to the M10.[citation needed]

Noble M12 (2000 - 2008)

Main article: Noble M12

Noble M12 GTO-3R at the 2003 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Like the Noble M10, the Noble M12 is a two-door, two-seater model, originally planned both as a coupe and as a convertible. All M12s have been powered by specially tuned turbocharged Ford Duratec V6 engines.

The M12 has a full steel roll cage, steel frame, and G.R.P. (fibre glass) composite clam shell body parts. These cars are extremely lightweight and stiff. Although looks to be track derived, the M12 performs very well on both road and track, with surprisingly good ride quality, but a rigid feel.[citation (source) needed] The coupe evolved through four (4) variants with the M400 being the ultimate version of the M12, followed by the GTO-3R.

Noble M12 GTO 2.5L bi-turbo 330 bhp/231 kW

Noble M12 GTO-3 3.0L bi-turbo 365 bhp/242 kW

Noble M12 GTO-3R 3.0L bi-turbo 415 bhp/262 kW

0-60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 3.7 seconds was published in the official brochure of the M12 GTO-3R, Road and Track indicated a 0-60 mph performance of 3.3 seconds, but subsequently listed it as 3.5 seconds. Its top speed is listed as 185 mph (298 km/h). Lateral Gs are reported in excess of 1.2.

Noble M400

Main article: Noble M400

Noble M400

The M400 is the track variant of the M12 and weighs a bit more than the GTO-3R. It has 425 bhp (317 kW/431 PS) and has been reported to do 0-60 mph (0–97 km/h) in as little as 3.2 seconds. Car and Driver (March, 2007) achieved a 0-60 mph time of 3.3 seconds and a 0-100 mph time of 7.52 seconds. Noble indicates only that the car is capable of achieving 0-60 mph in under 4 seconds. Its top speed is listed as 185 mph (300 km/h). A top speed of 202 mph (325 km/h) has been achieved by Noble's former press officer. Lateral Gs are reported in excess of 1.2. The model designation M400 is derived from the fact that the power and weight specifications for the car correspond to 400 bhp (298 kW/406 PS) per ton. It has both a 3 point seatbelt and a 5 point harness. The most notable differences from the M12 are the use of forged pistons, a front anti-roll bar, stiffer springs, different shocks, Pirelli P Zero tyres, a smoother gear shifter, and a slightly narrower central tunnel. The M400 is designed to be an outstanding track car that is also pleasant to drive on the road.

Noble M14

Main article: Noble M14

Noble M14

The Noble M14 debuted at the 2004 British Motor Show and generated significant interest in the motoring press. It was planned to compete with the Porsche 911 Turbo and Ferrari F430. It was based on the chassis of the M12, with only minor modifications. It had a new body and a more up market interior. Following the debut of the car Lee Noble decided that the car was insufficiently different from the M12/M400 to justify the price increase despite having taken a number of deposits. Noble instead developed a brand new car, the M15, developing further from the M12 and M14, although the cars have few common components.

Noble M15

Main article: Noble M15

Noble M15

Production of the M15 was planned to begin in early 2006, but has not taken place. The Noble M15 was intended to appeal to a far broader market and compete directly with the Porsche 911 Turbo and Ferrari F430. As a result the Noble M15 was expected to have a number of features not previously found on Nobles such as Sat nav, traction control, electric windows and ABS. The Company has issued a press release about the M15, and the M15 will be produced after the introduction of the M600. The M15 of the future will be different than the car shown in 2006.

Despite increased comfort and usability compared to previous Noble cars press releases stated that Noble expected the M15 to be significantly quicker than the M400 around a race track. It is able to accelerate from 0-60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 3.3 seconds and has a top speed of 185 mph (298 km/h).[4]

The car was based on a brand new platform with a longitudinally mounted engine connected to a bespoke gearbox created by Graziano. The double wishbone suspension is a development of the system mounted on the M400. Mounting the engine longitudinally allowed the designer to increase cooling flow to the engine which allows the 3.0l twin turbo V6 to produce 455 bhp (339 kW/461 PS). The engine was designed to meet emissions regulations and the new steel/aluminium space frame was designed with a view to passing crash test regulations around the world. The M15 was planned to be the first Noble which gains European and US type approval. The company has since released press announcements regarding the M15 and its future. Only one of the M15 prototypes was built, and the company used that car to further develop the model. The company has announced that the M15 as presented to Top Gear was determined to be good, but needed to be better, which has allowed the company to create the new M600 and develop the M15 into a more track focused vehicle.

The designer's opinion: “The M12 is a great car, but it’s very focused and I wanted to produce a supercar people could use everyday,” said founder Lee Noble. “It was time for Noble to take a big step up in terms of refinement, practicality and style.”

The M15 appeared in Top Gear and presenter Richard Hammond was very impressed. It was a lot quicker around the Top Gear-track than the old Noble. According to Richard this has to do with the new, stronger gearbox which enables Noble to allow more boost and let the same engine produce more power. The Stig managed a lap time of 1:22.5 which is currently 26th on the powerlap board.

Noble M600

Noble M600

Main article: Noble M600

Noble is currently producing a new car under the name of the Noble M600. The CEO of Noble, Lee Noble, has announced that the M600 will have a Yamaha twin-turbocharged V8 engine,producing 650 bhp (485 kW/659 PS), and will compete in the same category as the Ferrari F430. It has been announced that it will have a Carbon Fibre body shell and a 6-speed gear box.[5]

Noble has released official pictures of the Noble M600 and revealed it will have a top speed of 225(theoretical) mph.[6] The 2,800-pound (1,300 kg) M600 can accelerate from 0-62.1 mph (100 km/h) in 3.5 seconds and require only another 4 seconds to achieve 100 mph (160 km/h). It has over 1G of grip on the skid pad. The brake rotors in the Noble M600 are steel. The Noble comes with no ABS or ASM and TC as those features will be optional, making the Noble M600 a pure driver's car. The British supercar will cost around £200,000 when it hits the market and only 50 will be made annually.

Recently, Noble publicly tested an M600 prototype 2 in the USA, comparing its performance with a Porsche Carrera GT and Ferrari Enzo.[7] This prototype was detuned to 500 bhp (373 kW/507 PS).

The Noble was also featured on the fifth episode of the 14th series of Top Gear, in which Jeremy Clarkson complained of its lack of features but was astonished by its power and acceleration. The Noble posted an impressive time of 1:17.7 around the Top Gear Test Track with The Stig behind the wheel. The Noble was the sixth-fastest behind the Ariel Atom 500, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, the Gumpert Apollo, the Ascari A10 and the Koenigsegg CCX. It beat the Bugatti EB 16.4 Veyron and the Pagani Zonda Roadster F in lap times around the Top Gear test track.

See also


  1. "Lee Noble announces his new supercar project". Bauer Media Limited (19 November 2009). Retrieved on 19 November 2009.
  2. Noble car to be built in Leicestershire
  3. "Rossion Q1: New U.S. Supercar Comes From Noble Stock". Edmunds, Inc. (12 July 2007). Retrieved on 8 April 2008.
  4. Noble Automotive Ltd - M15
  6. Wert, Ray (2009-08-19). "Noble M600: 650 BHP, 225 MPH Driving Excitement". Retrieved on 2009-09-18.
  7. "Noble M600 Testing". Gtspirit.Com (2008-12-05). Retrieved on 2009-09-18.

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