Review Noble M12 GTO 3-R New car

7 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Review Noble M12 GTO 3-R New car
Noble M12 GTO

Review of the new Noble M12 GTO 3-R



(6.2 out of 10)

REVIEW DATE: 23 июл 2004

Noble Established Its Reputation With The original M12 GTO. The Latest 3R Model TakesThe Company Into New Territory. Andy Enright Reports


In case you were wondering how the Noble M12 GTO has suddenly burst onto the scene, gathering plaudits and awards at every turn, a short history lesson may be in order. Technical Director Lee Noble takes up the story. Having raced sportscars and Formula Three, about twenty years ago I decided to try to build better myself. A succession of specialist vehicles followed, most notably the Ascari and Ultima models, two of which were used as development vehicles for early McLaren F1 prototypes.

That’s how I learned the chassis and suspension tuning, through many years of trial and error.

Noble’s office is decorated with images of his cars racing at Le Mans and Daytona and goes some way to explaining how a ‘new’ manufacturer had produced a car that felt so right, straight out of the box. The M12 GTO wowed critics and established Noble as probably the UK’s premier niche sports car manufacturer. Unable to turn over the volumes of the likes of Lotus and TVR can, however, have its advantages.

Development lead times can be cut if you’re relatively small and swift and the logical development of the M12 GTO model was sitting before us on the airfield at Bruntingthorpe.

The GTO 3-R ditches the 2.5-litre engine used in early M12 models in favour of a gutsier 3.0-litre unit. It’s still a turbocharged Ford Duratec V6 engine but this time round it’s capable of generating some 352bhp of power – up a whacking 42bhp on its predecessor – but equally importantly the torque has also risen commensurately, making the Noble feel even more powerful than that.

Capable of reeling off the sprint to 60mph in 3.9 seconds and demolishing the 100mph mark in 9 seconds flat, the M12 GTO 3-R is a bona fide premier league performer. Unfortunately it’s not the outrageous bargain its predecessor was, as Noble have been quick to capitalise upon the vast welter of rave reviews, pricing for the GTO-3R having crept up to £50,500.

Noble M12 GTO

It won’t have escaped your notice that this takes the GTO-3R out of one pool of competition that included cars like the TVR Tuscan, the Porsche Boxster S and the BMW M3 and lumps it firmly in with the big boys such as the Porsche 911 Carrera and the Honda NSX-R. Whlst the Noble doubtless has the legs on both of these cars, it can’t hope to compete with big money development budgets and some of the detailing which seemed acceptable for a £40,000-odd car now seems difficult to stomach when fronting up serious money.

The scenery explodes through the M12’s screen when the throttle pedal hits the bulkhead.

Whereas the styling of Noble’s last offering, the M10, could best be described as gawky, the M12 is a more mature and assured proposition. The body shape is like a five-eighths scale Group C Le Mans racer, but the design is elegant and, more importantly, the badge is developing a healthy kudos. Visibility is good, Plush alcantara lines the internal roll cage and a steely hued quilted fabric thinly pads the headlining.

Your contact points with the car feel like serious racing-spec equipment; a carbon fibre Momo steering wheel, aluminium pedal set, narrow buckets and a chilly chromed pool ball of a gear knob to prod the engine into play. A dual seat belt system of standard three-point inertia-reel belts and five-point racing harnesses allows you to signal your mode of progress to the local constabulary.

As will the Noble’s sonic barrage, a number of orchestra pieces battering each other with their instruments. The exhaust stakes claim first, rising to a hacking bark with every blip of the stiffly sprung throttle. The engine generates the familiar gruff metallic tones overlaid by waffling air intake and a storm of forced induction as the turbochargers spool up from around 2500rpm. The power assistance in the steering is welcome, but forget about any other electronic aid.

Traction control or ABS don’t figure in the Noble vocabulary. Deploying the four-pot AP Racing calipers firmly, however, is enough to hang you from the harnesses before dry grip is relinquished. There’s little turbo lag, and with a power to weight ratio in excess of anything a Lamborghini Diablo VT or Ferrari 360 Modena can muster, the scenery explodes through the M12’s screen when the throttle pedal hits the bulkhead.

The six-speed gearbox, faired in headlamps and Quaife differential all mark the GTO-3R as something a little different to a cooking M12. There are still no anti-lock brakes to be had, but cornering grip has been taken to a new level of ridiculousness despite the GTO 3-R escewing the fitment of anti roll bars. Don’t ask me how it works, it’s probably just the result of Lee Noble’s amazing heuristic problem solving skills.

The ride is more supple than any car that corners in this fashion has a right to possess, the car running on low profile 18-inch Bridgestone rubber.

If you’re looking for a car that will drive without petulance to a track day, destroy virtually any sort of opposition and the happily tool back home afterwards, the Noble M12 GTO 3-R has few rivals at any price. To match its lap times you’d probably need to be spending over £100,000 on a Porsche 911 GT2 or otherwise indulge in the sort of flyweight buzzbox that demands trailering to and from events.

Suddeny carping about the value proposition seems rather churlish.

Noble M12 GTO
Noble M12 GTO
Noble M12 GTO
Noble M12 GTO
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