Six hundred and fifty horsepower. Say it slowly and deliberately, and the time it takes to vocalize is enough for the brain to register that it is not an extraordinarily large output by today’s standards. But when you learn that the Noble M600 weighs just 2,700 pounds, and therefore has a power-to-weight ratio of 520 hp per ton, the true significance of the number becomes clear.
Eight-point-nine seconds. That is precisely how long it takes for the Noble M600 to go from rest to 120 mph. It’s a time that most supercars would be proud to own for the zero-to-100-mph sprint, which in fact the Ferrari F430 does. As even the mighty Enzo takes 9.2 seconds to reach 120 mph, the Noble M600 is one seriously quick machine. Along the way, zero to 62 mph occupies 3.0 seconds, 100 mph comes up in 6.0, and the top speed is 225 mph.
Finally, the steady state lateral acceleration number on the skidpad is said to be over 1.0g, and the Noble is rated fourth quickest supercar on the chart at the Top Gear test track. On top of that, this lap time was taken in winter, in temperatures of minus five degrees, when the tires were not working optimally.
Performance numbers are one thing. Few supercar owners ever wring their cars out, even on a track. What’s more important is the real-world driving experience, the grin factor if you like. This is where the Noble’s back-to-basics philosophy will either attract or intimidate. The M600 has no ABS, no ESP, and no brake servo. When you turn its traction control off, it really is OFF. So when you write out the check for around $300,000, you’re signing up for an authentic analog driving experience.
So anyone who signs the order form for a Noble M600 had better not be short on talent. Not because the car has any handling vices, but because if you’re going to extract its full measure, you really need to know what you’re doing. A racetrack is certainly the right place to get to know the car, and I was fortunate enough to have the Ascari Race Resort in Southern Spain and wonderful weather for this test drive.
As part of durability testing, Noble drove the car down from England, about 1,500 miles. The car lapped Ascari many, many times over the weekend, and was then driven back home. The aim was to prove its credentials as a reliable road- and track-capable supercar for hardcore enthusiasts.
It is no surprise that the M600 took this trip in its stride, since its predecessor, the original development prototype, was driven from Chicago to Arizona with a Porsche Carrera GT for benchmarking all of the way, and a Ferrari Enzo part of the way. The trip took in typical test zones like Death Valley and pushed both men and machine to the limit.
Back in England, the development car was put through its paces at a level not normally associated with low volume specialist car manufacturers. Climatic wind tunnel testing, acoustic NVH, and sessions on a four-post rig for suspension tuning capped off thousands of miles of testing. The distillation of all this intensive development work, the pre-production M600 impresses deeply. Feeling very well resolved on a dynamic level, it is astonishingly fast and agile with low weight, big torque, and no turbo lag to speak of. Throttle up and go is its middle name.