What is it?
The M600 is the latest Ferrari-challenging supercar from British brand Noble. It’s been a long time in the making – Clarkson tested a prototype model way back in 2009 – but it has finally been launched. And what a jump up it is for Leicestershire-based Noble, for this is a supercar that costs £200,000, and that’s a fair way above Noble’s traditional £50-75,000 price point.
What do buyers get? According to Noble, the driving experience of a Ferrari F40 or McLaren F1. It certainly isn’t for the faint of heart – as Hammond found out when he drove one around Italy.
One of the more surprising facts about the M600 is where its engine comes from: a Volvo XC90. The Yamaha-designed 4.4-litre V8 has been transformed though, picking up two turbochargers along the way to see it produce a hefty 650bhp. With a kerb weight of around 1,250kg, this gives a power to weight ratio of 530bhp per tonne. Cue the inevitable reference to something Bugatti-shaped and fast.
And boy, is it fast. Noble reckons it’ll hit 60mph from rest in three seconds, 120mph in 8.9 seconds, and then go on to 225mph. Acceleration from 40-60mph takes one second; 100-120mph takes two seconds. It is fearsomely rapid: genuine hypercar territory. However, with no ABS and no stability control, it takes no prisoners. The sole electronic aid is traction control: to make sure you don’t accidentally turn it off, the button is covered by a genuine flip-up cover from a Tornado fighter jet.
Noble also wisely offers three modes of engine power: ‘road’ gives a relatively sane 450bhp, ‘track’ bumps it up to 550bhp, with ‘race’ releasing the full 650bhp.
On the inside
if you’re expecting £200,000 of luxury here, think again. This is a back to basics performance car, rather like the Ferrari F40 (which at least has the excuse of being built in the 1980s in its favour). There is no big screen, no climate control, just a focused cabin with a tight-fitting set of bucket seats to hold you firmly in place. It also trades modern flappy-paddle gearboxes for a traditional stick-shift six-speed.
No two ways about it, the M600’s price point is a massive leap above the Noble tradition. Even those who put down deposits for the stillborn M14 and M15 are being offered refunds, on the assumption this is too much. However, in terms of performance for the money, you’ll need something like a Bugatti Veyron to beat it, and that costs over £1 million. Making, in relative terms, the Noble seem like a bargain? Well yes, actually. This is a barebones supercar and more thrilling to drive than any Italian you care to mention.