Noble Automotive Ltd. is a British sports car manufacturer. Commonly referred to as Noble, the company was founded in 1999 by Lee Noble Barwell and is based in Leicestershire. Lee Noble Barwell is not only founder and current owner; he is also the chief designer.
Noble is a low-production sports car company that manufactures high-speed sports cars with a MR drivetrain layout. Its past models include the Noble M10, Noble M12, Noble M400, and Noble M14. The Noble M15 was unveiled at the 2006 British International Motor Show, and production of the car started in early 2006.
The body of the Noble cars is built in South Africa by Hi-Tech Automotive, before being shipped to the Noble factory where suspension, engine an so on is added to the car.
The Noble M10 car
The Noble M10 car is a 2-door, 2-seater convertible with a 2.5 litre engine. The car is powered by a naturally-aspirated engine, which means that there is no forced induction. This car could actually match an Elise. The Noble M10 car was released in 1999 and was produced until it was replaced by the Noble M12 car. During this period, only a very limited number of M10 cars were constructed since prospective buyers moved their deposits to the M12 car as soon as it was announced. If you see a car that you think is an M10, look closer because it might be an MR2 instead. There are very few M10 cars on the roads today.
The Noble M12 car
Just like the M10, the Noble M12 car is a 2-door, 2-seater model. The M12 has evolved through three different coupe versions: the M12 GTO, the M12 GTO-3 and the M12 GTO-3R. There is also a convertible M12 car, the M12 GTC, but this model has only been displayed at motorshows and is currently not being produced.
All the M12 cars are fitted with modified turbocharged Ford Duratec V6 engines. The M12 GTO features a 2.5-litre version, while the GTO-3 and GTO-3R both have 3.0-litre engines. The power of the M12 has progressed from the original 310 bhp (231 kW) to 352 bhp (262 kW).
The M12 cars are made from G.R.P. (fibre glass) composite clam shell body parts and have a steel fram and a full steel roll cage. There are no anti-roll bars and suspension can therefore be hard without being back breaking. Due to this construction and choice of materials, the M12 is extremely lightweight as well as really stiff. The M12 GTO3R does for instance weight no more than 2380 lb (1080 kg). This yields a very nice power-to-weight ratio since the car is equipped with a 352 bhp (262 kW) engine. The M12 GTO3R consequently does 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) in 3.8 seconds. The top speed for this car is listed as 170 mph (274 km/h).
All M12 cars perform well on road as well as track, but definitively look as if they are track derived. The ride quality is good, but with a rigid feel.