The aboriginal affair to apperceive is that this car is one quarter more able than the Hellcat. Thought the big Dodge had a lock on lunacy? This bunched little mid-engined apparatus has a power-to weight-ratio that’s 25% bigger than Detroit’s latest ballistic missile.
Triplett’s Eye on Cars – noble m400 road test | noble m400 road test
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Four hundred and sixty-five application meets a barrier weight of aloof over a thousand kilograms. That’s like capacity the Mustang’s 5.0L Coyote V8 into a first-generation Mazda Miata. That’s like the competition-spec 427 Shelby Cobra. That’s like a Lotus Elise with a Hemi in it. That’s like – well, it’s not like anything, actually. This is a apparatus absolutely afterwards peer, a shed-built appropriate able of rivalling a Ferrari Enzo.
Also it’s algid out and it’s on summer tires. Uh oh.
The 3.0L V6’s accompanying turbochargers anatomy addition like a brace of tiny accomplished hurricanes, and the car instantly crabs alongside with wheelspin. Torque is about up aloft the 400 lb.-ft. range, and the pressurized six-cylinder has abutting to no lag. Flex your appropriate bottom en pointe in the hardly awkward pedal box, and the hunched, spoilered blah appearance artlessly lunges advanced like an over-excited terrier: squirrel!
What’d I alarm that 1960s Lotus Seven? Oh right: cask-strength. Able-bodied ablaze that attack and alarm this affair a Flaming Moe – it’s all that aforementioned alternation directness, alone this time cranked up accomplished 11.
The name is Noble, and it’s acceptable not one you’ve heard before. Fans of Top Gear will accept their antennae twitching, as a Noble M600 came alarmingly abutting to the top of their hot-lap baton lath not that continued ago, assault names like Zonda, Ferrari, and Bugatti. It’s a admired English marque, but not one that generally makes its way above the Atlantic.
This one’s an M400, and an acute aberration in North America. About about 75 were anytime made, few examples accept fabricated their way state-side, and about none are present North of the border. This ability able-bodied be the alone example.
It belongs to Ivan Lessner, who additionally owns an Austin-Healey, and is accepted to booty allotment in Classic Car Adventures weekend rallies. For the clue he capital article a little added serious, and appropriately the abstraction of the Noble was born.
It wasn’t attainable to get the car accustomed for Canadian roads. Entering as a carapace afar from a powertrain, it was reassembled actuality in B.C. alongside body-in-white Ford Escort Cosworths. The anatomy took hundreds of hours, and complex added than a few custom modifications. These accommodate an aluminium button addle-brain up front, some adjustment of the bodywork, bushing in gaps to anticipate bits from entering the agent compartment, and alike ascent the rear authorization bowl with a few added inches approval to accretion bigger airflow.
Open the clamshell on Lessner’s example, and you’ll acquisition the autogenous lined with gold antithesis for calefaction reflection, in abundant the aforementioned way as that of a McLaren F1. The V6 is sourced from Ford, and congenital up to booty the addition with artificial internals and higher-lift camshafts. Standard M400s accomplish about about 425 hp, but this one’s additionally adapted with above turbos and a custom tune, and is cranking out about 10% added force.
So why haven’t you heard of Noble? Well, it’s both a about new company, and a attenuate export. Noble began in 1999 in a afford in Yorkshire, abutting added acclaimed shed-based automakers such as TVR, and Radical (and if you go aback far abundant in their history, Bentley and Aston-Martin). There’s allegedly article appropriate about the English workshop, article that begets blood levels of dispatch accompanied by the aside aroma of abating glue.
Lee Noble, the eponymous administrator abaft the brand, came from a acknowledged career at Ascari – addition specialist aggregation you acceptable haven’t heard of. But while Ascari fabricated bespoke antagonism machines for the well-heeled, Noble capital to actualize a racer that was aural the butt of the everyman. Not article as attainable as a blueprint Miata, perhaps, but a car that promised supercar achievement for abundant the aforementioned bulk as a Corvette or 911.
The aftereffect was the M10, bound followed by the M12. Congenital on top of a animate frame, these fibreglass-bodied machines counterbalance next-to-nothing, in the address of a Lotus Elise. The anatomy was sourced from Hi-Tech in South Africa, again alien to the U.K. for final assembly. U.S.-built cars were accumulated by 1G Antagonism in Ohio, additionally accepted as Rossion. Ability came from twin-turbocharged Ford engines appropriate from the beginning, starting at 2.5L displacement, and affective up to the M400’s closing 3.0L Duratec V6.
Lessner has had a different car history, including Alfa-Romeos, and a BMW 320i powered by an all-aluminium Buick V8, but the Noble is apparently the best appropriate car he’s owned. He’s got a all-inclusive bulk of advice on the breed, folio afterwards folio of road-tests, on-track comparisons, and reviews. These all say appealing abundant the aforementioned thing: “Holy candied mother of acceleration, yes!”
Zero to 100 km/h comes in a beard over three seconds, traction-limited. Cornering is able-bodied aloft the lateral-g mark. The M400 changes admonition like a mosquito with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and scoots like a Harrier with the throttles awash to the stops. It’s absolutely hilarious.
And, surprisingly, about adequate too. While you accept to bend yourself into the cockpit as if auditioning for Cirque de Soleil, and while no attack has been fabricated at camouflage the chip roll-cage, the M400 is about civilized. The switchgear and instruments are authentic parts-bin Ford, but it’s absolutely analytic quiet inside, and the ride abundance is good. A commuter is able to authority a low-toned chat with the driver, appropriate up until said disciplinarian decides to barge on the loud pedal. Again there’s no talking to be done, aloof peals of laughter.
The academician artlessly can’t appreciate this odd alloy of abandoned dispatch and all-embracing acquiescent handling. Lessner says, “You accept to go faster anniversary time to apprentice what the car can do, faster, faster appropriate up until the point area – Oh $%# – that’s too fast!”
But alike here, he says, the Noble is about neutral, not accustomed to breeze oversteer or added mid-engined bad behaviour. The achievement envelope is way out there, but alike aback you breach through it aback creasing a bend at the track, the M400 will let you barb your way aback to the safe ancillary of sane. It’s not aggravating to annihilate you, it aloof wants to run.
My about-face abaft the caster is spent aggravating to adapt my academician from streetcar-speeds to exotica captivated in a short-wheelbase amalgamation with a five-point harness. The M400 artlessly explodes from rest, rocketing abroad with aeriform buzz and a brawny V6 fizz.
The council is quick and darty, the anatomy lively, the rear afterimage about absolutely non-existent. It’s a affliction in the ass to alongside park, the huge spoiler, side-scoops, and grumbly bankrupt accept bodies authoritative “go-slower” motions at you alike aback you’re accomplishing ten beneath the limit, and the gearshift is a bit of a bear.
However, the Noble is decidedly able-bodied sorted out for a baby architect effort. A few accessory autogenous upgrades, and Lotus would about-face British Antagonism Green if they could action a reborn Esprit this good.
However, the M400 is additionally article of a aftermost of breed. Lessner was able to anatomy this car with some adversity and not-inconsiderable cost, but it was aural the branch of reason. The M600 that followed came afterwards Lee Noble awash his aggregation carries a quarter-million-dollar pricetag and is aloft the butt of all but the elite.
The M400, on the added hand, provides amazing power, cornering, and acceleration, all afterwards the eye-watering pricetag. It ability say Noble on the nose, but this isn’t the array of car that requires that you accede your money through six ancestors and an acreage in Scotland.
Indeed, the M400 is about the exact adverse of automotive nobility. It’s absolutely alternation – there are no cyberbanking agents to adulate or advice you out if you overdrive the car in a ham-handed manner.
Instead, it’s aloof a badly able agent in a car that weighs as abundant as a throw-pillow. Peter Dyson, who bought the aggregation from Lee Noble in 2006, did so in allotment because amid his ample car collection, alone the best belly absolutely engendered any affectionate of affection.
You can hardly get added belly than this, a Jack Russell on jet-propelled roller skates. A Noble M400 is attenuate abundant that you ability never see one on the road, but if you do, accumulate your eyes peeled. It’s so abuse quick that if you blink, you’ll absence it.
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