Driving Impression

12 Dec 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Driving Impression
Noble M12 GTO

Noble M12 GTO


We’re getting close to ludicrous speed.

These types of low-volume sports cars often provide some combination of thrills#x2014;a gorgeous body, lots of horsepower, outrageous speed. The trade-offs are usually creature comfort#x2014;a clutch that will give you a charley horse, for example#x2014;and a jarring ride. Not everyone has the nerve (or maybe lack of brains) for a car like this, but friends will still envy it.

Today there are plenty of ways to fulfill your desire for a trophy car that is easy to have a long-term relationship with. The Porsche Carrera GT, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, the Saleen S7#x2014;these all cost upwards of $400,000. Considering the M12 sprouted from a young, small company and costs more than four-fifths less, we weren’t expecting much refinement or poise.

And we were dead wrong. The steering, the brakes, and the clutch have a direct feel with light effort. The ride is surprisingly good, with a suppleness that inhales large impacts without sending shocks to the driver.

We’d happily spend days in the Noble’s saddle.

And it posted supercar numbers at the track: The quarter-mile happened in 11.8 seconds at 118 mph, and it pulled an even 1.00 g on the skidpad. The $448,000 Porsche Carrera GT does the quarter in 11.2 seconds at 132 mph. Bear in mind that skirting crash and emissions regulations makes it easier to keep a car light.

The Noble weighs only 2457 pounds, 689 less than the carbon-fiber Carrera GT.

On the other hand, the sublime connection you feel with the road in the Noble is not readily available at any price. You can drive it right up to its sky-high limits and know exactly when you’ve gotten there and back off just a smidge to stay in control. You feel far more accomplished as a driver than you actually are, and in a car this capable, providing that feeling is no small feat.

Noble M12 GTO

It took us four tries and four visits from 1G Racing’s Rosen to get the test numbers for the Noble. On attempt No. 1, a faulty engine computer caused high-rpm misfires.

With that fixed, Rosen returned two weeks later, but then we heard some ominous noises from the engine bay during the second attempt, so Rosen checked the oil, only to find that his mechanics had left the sump half-empty, which damaged the engine. Well, he reasoned, thank God the motor only costs $5200. Imagine if it were a Porsche.

Attempt three was sidelined when the vacuum hoses were incorrectly routed after the engine swap. On the fourth try, which was about six weeks after we had first driven the car, everything ran fine.

So it looks as if Rosen might need some help back at his shop, but every setback brought smiles to our faces because that meant we’d get another chance to drive the M12.

1G Racing, 2647 Morgan Lane, Hamilton, Ohio 45013; 866-612-6625; www.1gracing.com .

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