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Thursday 8th February 2001

Noble M12

We were, well, rather impressed!


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There's a danger that test driving any 300bhp car is going to impress and result in an outpouring of superlatives. Having driven the Noble M12, it's left me scouring the dictionary for a new lexicon to convey the greatness of this car. It is a stunning piece of machiney.

Stylistically it's a great improvement on the M10, which only sold in small numbers. It looks better from some angles than others, with the rear three-quarters in particular looking a little heavy, but overall it's a good looking and head-turning car.

Inside

Lowering yourself into the driver's seat, you're presented with a simple, different looking, yet well designed interior. A roll cage is integrated but thanks to good trimming is inconspicuous. Sat in the race-like seat, complete with optional harnesses, the controls fall easily to hand (steering column is adjustable for reach) and the minute you ease the clutch up and the throttle down, it becomes apparent how easy it is to drive. Unlike some other 300+ bhp cars, the clutch is light, the gear lever slots effortlessly into place and the car eases away without any drama or sense of weight.

That engine!

The engine tone is sporty and not harsh as you might expect given the power output. The Ford Duratec V6 hasn't been messed with dramatically, with most of the work on the internals consisting of strengthening the components. Then of course they added those two turbos. With the engine sat behind your head, you're very aware of its activities, yet with such pleasing tones it's not intrusive. The turbos sound gorgeous, not gasping or rasping but whooshing and whistling like they've got a huge pair of lungs. They're a delight to hear and no doubt owners will soon learn to play them with the throttle like they're musical instruments. Even at idle, the car sounds purposeful with a rortyness emanating from the short exhaust, hinting at what it's capable of.

Civilised

Like Lee Noble's previous creations, the M12 has a well deserved reputation for fine handling. The M12 is of course a fantastic track car, but how does it stand up to the daily grind on British roads? It compromises brilliantly. The lightweight controls and torquey yet free revving engine make this car an absolute breeze to drive in traffic. Crawling through jams in the M12 isn't the drama or effort that can be experienced in other supercars. The car will happily pull from 20mph in fourth gear. Whilst you're positioned quite low in the car, the view is good to the front and sides, although a little impeded at the rear by the spoiler.

Drawing Breath

After crawling through the traffic and hitting faster roads, once again it matters little what gear you're in. The accelerator has a long travel, but squeezing it a little forces the car to propel itself faster at quite a rate even before the turbos kick in. The 2.5 V6 would be fun enough in the 980 kilo car, but once those turbos start drawing breath from around 3,000rpm you rocket forwards, rapidly running out of road yet your foot has barely edged towards the carpet. As for the rev limiter, you'll never get there! British owners could well get frustrated looking for roads to enjoy this car on. The M12 is all about usable power, not outright power and as such feels even faster than the performance figures might suggest.

Back Roads

Hurtling through the Surrey lanes was an absolute joy. Direct, well balanced steering, coupled with a rigid chassis allow you to position the car easily on the road and flying over the undulating B roads proved just how capable the car is. No sparks, no grounding out, no bounce, just the right amount of give in the suspension and a wonderful sense of being at one with the car. There are few road going cars that can provide the sense of rigidity that the Noble does. Yet that rigidity hasn't compromised the ride.

The Open Road

Find yourself a sweeping A road and the car ably demonstrates it's wonderful balance. With no need to constantly swap gears to find the power, you can leave your hands clasping the wheel, guiding the car cross country in a rhythmic trance, engine and turbos singing away behind you in accompaniment.

Boring Practicalities

For many owners this will be their only car. Given the civilised nature of the car and the fact that much of it is based on Ford components, that shouldn't be a problem. However, the lack of storage space will niggle. With no space fore or aft, Noble have provided a range of bags that fix into various positions in the cockpit such as under your legs and behind the seats. Total space is equivalent to a couple of weekend bags but packing for the weekend will require more forethought and you'll have to go to Sainsbury's on your own. Air con will be provided and we suspect it will be badly needed in those few days of hot weather we get occasionally.

Other downsides? The radio is difficult to reach, there's no wind in the hair option and I can't afford one!

TVR and Lotus must sit up and take note of this car as it bridges the gap between the great power of the TVRs and the adept handling of the Lotuses. For enthusiasts seeking TVR levels of power and performance, but in a more friendly package this offers an alternative that didn't exist before.

Lotus owners are queuing up already to try it, either as the next step up from the Elise or as an alternative to the ever more vague promises for the M250. Lotus have some serious competition at last - and they're not ready.


Wallpaper Wallpaper Wallpaper

Wheels: Front : 8.5 x 18" / Rear : 10 x 18"
Tyres Front : 225/40ZR18 / Rear : 265/35ZR18
Suspension : Front: Double non equal length wishbone design. Alloy uprights. Koni Double adjustable dampers.
Rear: Double wishbone, alloy uprights, Koni double adjustable dampers.
Brakes: Front: 330 x 30mm, ventilated cross drilled discs, alloy 4 piston AP Racing calipers. 
Rear: 330 x 26mm ventilated cross drilled discs, alloy 4 piston AP Racing calipers. 
Dual circuit, servo assisted, all stainless steel brake lines.
Steering: Power assisted, rack and pinion, 2.5 turns lock to lock.
Body: GRP composite with removable front and rear sections.
Chassis: Steel space frame with bonded and rivetted alloy panels. Full safety roll cage.
Gearbox: 5 Speed Manual
Engine: Noble developed, all alloy Duratec 2.5 litre V6
Mounted mid transverse
Four overhead camshafts
Four valves per cylinder
Twin Garrett T25 water-cooled turbo chargers.
Air to air intercooler.
Max Torque: 320lb/ft
Max Power: 310bhp
0-60mph: ~4.2 seconds
Top Speed: 165mph
Price: £45,000

Links : Noble Cars , Mole Valley , Nick Whale Sportscars

Thanks to Mole Valley TVR for access to the cars.

 

 

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Author Discussion

Jonathan Legard

Original Poster:

5,168 posts

124 months

[news] 
Wednesday 23rd March 2011 quote quote all
"The controls fall easily to hand"

This has enraged me for ten years.

bernhund

1,745 posts

80 months

[news] 
Thursday 24th March 2011 quote quote all
'As for the rev limiter, you'll never get there!'


Mmmm........I'm not saying anything.

jamie g

497 posts

103 months

[news] 
Thursday 24th March 2011 quote quote all
R0162 said:
you know there not that fast either, the M400 only managed a 1:25 lap on the top gear track smile
m400 was high 120's

m12 gto3 was 125

AMG Merc

8,982 posts

140 months

[news] 
Friday 25th March 2011 quote quote all
bernhund said:
'As for the rev limiter, you'll never get there!'


Mmmm........I'm not saying anything.
Seconded (not) wink

SimonJW

778 posts

124 months

[news] 
Friday 25th March 2011 quote quote all
bernhund said:
'As for the rev limiter, you'll never get there!'


Mmmm........I'm not saying anything.
It's kind of true.....there isn't one on the 2.5....
Advertisement

worty

2,202 posts

112 months

[news] 
Friday 25th March 2011 quote quote all
SimonJW said:
It's kind of true.....there isn't one on the 2.5....
Not all nobs are the same. Mine has one but it has the MBE ECU which contains a "soft" limiter which is adjustable smile. Maybe the original ECU didnlt havree that functionality.

Another thing I recently established is that my wing is proper carbon fiber (listen up Chappers) not just an overlay on fiberglass. They seemed to have tightened up on costs and dropped quality on certain items somewhere further down the production run.

worty

2.5bluenob

1,433 posts

63 months

[news] 
Friday 25th March 2011 quote quote all
worty said:

Another thing I recently established is that my wing is proper carbon fiber (listen up Chappers) not just an overlay on fiberglass.
worty
How did you manage to find that out worty?

worty

2,202 posts

112 months

[news] 
Friday 25th March 2011 quote quote all
2.5bluenob said:
How did you manage to find that out worty?
Dave at Jetstream told me and as he probably built it I took his word.

worty

R0162

2,435 posts

51 months

[news] 
Friday 25th March 2011 quote quote all
jamie g said:
R0162 said:
you know there not that fast either, the M400 only managed a 1:25 lap on the top gear track smile
m400 was high 120's

m12 gto3 was 125
No it says on the Top gear website , M400/1:25

Edited by R0162 on Wednesday 6th March 18:42

ThatPhilBrettGuy

11,623 posts

127 months

[news] 
Friday 25th March 2011 quote quote all
R0162 said:
jamie g said:
R0162 said:
you know there not that fast either, the M400 only managed a 1:25 lap on the top gear track smile
m400 was high 120's

m12 gto3 was 125
No it says on the Top gear website , M400/1:25
You must have forgotten your mental rant on this subject when you first joined PH then... hehe

jamie g

497 posts

103 months

[news] 
Friday 25th March 2011 quote quote all
The car that did 1:25 had recessed front lights and the old style wheels.
You need to watch the episode before posting on this subject again smile ....its very entertaining!

jamie g

497 posts

103 months

[news] 
Friday 25th March 2011 quote quote all
I wish I knew what you were talking about:s
I think my sarcasm filter maybe set too high or something smile

jamescmr2

713 posts

66 months

[news] 
Friday 25th March 2011 quote quote all
here you go guys:

I happen to know this. It was my car used for the GTO3 laptime at 1.25... it was the episode against the T350C and youtube doesnt come up when you type in Noble. check this video just after 6mins in :-)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=PinJld5XAu8

cheers

James

Gadgeroonie

5,319 posts

123 months

[news] 
Friday 25th March 2011 quote quote all
James, what colour is your noble ?

jamescmr2

713 posts

66 months

[news] 
Friday 25th March 2011 quote quote all
Gadgeroonie said:
James, what colour is your noble ?


It came from the factory with a Jaguar racing green colour (non metallic). It was resprayed later in life the same colour but metallic. when i had the front clam re-sprayed recently the paint shop had a nightmare trying to get a good match on the paint. i recognised the car (same cream and green leather interior) and confirmation was the private plate (751 HOT) which is in the history of the car.

cheers

James

jamescmr2

713 posts

66 months

[news] 
Friday 25th March 2011 quote quote all
R0162 said:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtJ0sMLmgi4

Funny thing is it was also driven by black stig(who is generally much slower than white stig) and at the time was second fastest on the leaderboard only 1.2 seconds behind the Konigzeig ccx, the 1:25 lap would bne closer to 1:23 with the white stig.
It would be really interesting to see what time an M400 could do with the new stig, i bet it would be closer to 1:20.

Nice seeing your car in action James, have you checked your geometry, i bet Noble got the camber and toe set up perfect on your car for the test track, it would be interesting to see how they set it up for the track. Has your car already got shims to the ball joint blocks to adjust camber?



getting the geometry set up v soon so will let you know but no shims etc fitted. i doubt it has had any custom machining either. just imagine what one of the members heavily modded nobles would do??

cheers

James
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