The British beast is finally entering production after a 2018 appearance in concept form.
Noble is a brand not many Americans will be familiar with. For one thing, it's a niche British automaker, and for another, this obscure brand never sold its last product, the Noble M600, in the States. For those in the know, however, mention of the name comes with thoughts of visceral acceleration, a sense of machismo, and a touch of fear. Noble likes manual gearboxes and hates unnecessary weight through safety features, so its cars have a certain notoriety among the initiated. That impression is unlikely to change with this, the M500, a new sports car that sticks with a tradition of only allowing experienced drivers to get the most out of it.
A less extreme sports car that essentially replaces the firm's only current car (the M600), the M500 was first revealed at Goodwood way back in 2018, but it is finally making its way to the road with customer deliveries to begin later this year. As is the case with the M600 and the ultra-rare M400, the M500 gets two seats, an engine in the middle of the car, and a powered rear axle. But rather than a V8, the M500 borrows the 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 found under the rear deck of the Ford GT. In this application, it is intended to produce around 550 horsepower, making it a fine competitor for the likes of the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.
Speaking with Autocar, Noble MD Peter Boutwood says that this less violent offering will still ride and handle "very much like an M600." It will be equipped with double-wishbone suspension with coilovers and passive dampers. As before, anti-lock brakes and airbags are being eschewed, which means no M500 for America. It's a real pity because the steering will be hydraulically assisted, guaranteeing feedback and a rich driving experience. It will also be offered exclusively with a six-speed Graziano manual with a metal gate and unique shift action. Recaro Podium seats are included, although less extreme seats will also be offered. High-speed testing is yet to be completed (top speed should be close to 200 mph), and there may yet be some small changes, but carbon fiber bodies will be an option.
Even without these, the company is aiming for a production weight of around 2,750 pounds. As for pricing, Noble has not yet figured this part out, but it wants to aim for a price of "around £150,000" or around $205,000 in our money. Best of all, Boutwood said that the company "would like to be morally right" and not charge huge sums for lightweight upgrades. This is truly shaping up to be a pure, analog sports car with heaps of style and little margin for error. But even if Noble meets its goal of increasing production to 50 units a year, with various colors being considered for production, we'll never see one in a showroom in the States.