Noble Automotive has unveiled its new entry-level model at the Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard.
Revealed: Noble's new entry level M500
It’s still in development at present, so the example at Goodwood is a full-sized model. This shows off the all-but finalised shape of the car, but the interior is still under wraps.
Peter Boutwood, managing director of Noble Automotive, told us: “The whole ethos behind it is to try and bring all these people who can’t afford such a beast as the M600 and bring more people into the Noble fold. So what we wanted to do was to have something that was more user friendly and at a better price point if we can.
“It’s very much in its infancy. But the car is pretty much how it will be. Engineering-wise we’ve got the chassis design – which is so important to us because we don’t disguise our handling with electronics. We’ve got the engine and we've got the gearbox."
The engine is a three-litre unit from Ford. It’s a brand new, turbocharged engine, rather than the 3.5 V6 from the Ford GT, and although the power output isn’t pinned down just yet, Noble hopes it’ll end up in the 500-550bhp range.
A smaller capacity engine for Noble is important, as larger engines attract punitive taxes in other regions. “The M600 in Shanghai is four times the price than it is here, because it has a 4.4-litre, so we wanted to have it [the M500] at three litres or less,” says Boutwood.
While it’s traditional for Noble to use Ford engines, the gearbox is a first for the brand. It's a dual-clutch automatic rather than a manual.
“It sort of breaks our hearts. Really, people are more comfortable with that [automatic], but we're hoping to be able to do a manual too. At first, to encourage sales, we’re looking at a DSG ’box,” says Boutwood.
There’s no price on the table just yet for the M500, but it should comfortably undercut the M600's £200,000 list price.
As for a production schedule, Boutwood notes: “We hope to have a working car by Geneva and hopefully a working car up the hill here next year.”
That’s one to pencil in for the 2019 Festival of Speed.
Photography by James Lynch
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