Leicester-based sports car manufacturer Noble has revealed its first new model in 12 years. Called M500, it’s positioned as a “little brother” to the fearsome 650bhp V8-engined M600.
Revealed as a static prototype at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the car, which still a prototype for now, has advanced to the late pre-production stage. It’s powered by a detuned version of the twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 engine used in the Ford GT, and is likely to develop around 550bhp. That’s 100bhp less than you get in the Ford, but it’s still more than a match for the likes of the new Chevrolet Corvette and Aston Martin Vantage.
Crucially, Noble says the M500 will grant drivers a similarly engaging experience as its older sibling. The only gearbox available will be a gated six-speed manual, and the company will adopt a similarly relaxed attitude towards safety equipment – there’ll be no airbags or anti-lock brakes here.
Underneath, the car’s tubular steel chassis shares plenty of similarities with the old M600, utilising double wishbone suspension and coilover springs with passive dampers. The M500 is the same length as the M600, too, although it is slightly wider.
Another one of Noble’s goals for the M500 is to make it a more affordable car than the M600. That car cost from £200,000 when new, so the brand could look to start the M500 off from around the £150,000 mark.
Noble has ditched the M600’s expensive carbon fibre bodywork, opting instead for more affordable glass-reinforced composite panelling. It helps get the car’s weight down to around 1,400kg, which is around 100kg less than the Corvette.
The cabin has also been repackaged to provide a little more space over the M600. The car in these images has a set of hardcore carbon fibre bucket seats, but more accommodating options for the “less extreme” model could be made available.
The rest of the cabin is minimalistic, with a simple digital gauge cluster sitting ahead of the driver and a large touchscreen infotainment system perched atop the dashboard. Some switchgear is borrowed from larger manufacturers – the door lock button on the driver’s side is a Ford unit, for example.
It’s worth noting that the car in these images is still a working prototype, but Noble says this shape is pretty much how the finished car will look. We’re expecting more details, including some performance specifications, over the coming months.
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