Used car buying guide: Noble M12 Car News

10 Noble M400 2005 0303d

As spectacular as it sounds, the M12’s rear spoiler offered no ground effect.

The Leicestershire Noble M12 hit a storm when it launched in 2001, and it still offers a ton of fun at affordable prices today.

Mechanical complexity and expense mark the possession of modern supercars. But in 2001, low-volume supremo Lee Noble released their eponymous first model, the M12, which over the next five years to dominate not only as a true rival to Ferrari and Porsche, but also as the one that did not. didn’t break the bank to buy or run.

With an initial starting price of £ 44,950, the M12 GTO hit the market with a simple but effective recipe: a steel space chassis clad in a Le Mans-style fiberglass composite body; suspension by double wishbones all around; and the power of a relatively new Ford 2.5-liter all-alloy V6 (originally taken from the Mondeo) twin-turbocharged to produce 310 hp.

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For a low-volume manufacturer, Noble has achieved a high degree of production consistency, with a fully-lined rolling chassis supplied to its Leicestershire plant by South African company High Tech Automotive. The Ford powertrain (infra hollowed out for some but strong and well developed) was then installed as part of the final assembly.

The first M12 GTOs received a warm welcome from the press and the public. With its “Darth Vader in the boot” soundtrack from its Garrett blowers, a 0-100mph time of just over 10 seconds and a top speed of 165mph, it combines mind-blowing performance with control of the air. taught body, strong grip and engaging handling.

It was also surprisingly comfortable on a long drive, with decent ergonomics and sound insulation, as well as a relatively consistent ride quality.

But the M12’s greatest potential was evident from the start, so in 2002 the GTO was replaced by the GTO-3, using the same Duratec unit but the 3.0-liter version of Ford’s Maverick off-roader. This increased the peak power from 42 hp to 352 hp and brought a significant increase in torque, reducing lag – but also banishing much of that characteristic turbo noise.

However, the GTO-3 was a bit of a stopgap, as in 2003 it was replaced by the GTO-3R, which was sold until M12 production ended in 2008.

Identifiable by its shrouded headlights, the GTO-3R was fitted with a smoother six-speed manual transmission (the GTO and GTO-3 shared a weaker, more recalcitrant five-speed transmission) passing through an automatic differential of Quaife torque bias to deploy more power efficiently to the rear.

Then there was the pinnacle of M12 performance, the M400, its name representing the model’s horsepower per ton. With 425 hp and a 0-100 km / h time of up to 3.5 seconds, there have been a myriad of technical changes: higher lift cams, bigger turbos, forged pistons and a cooler cooler. ‘oil. Its chassis also features Dynamics race shocks, a front anti-roll bar and Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires.

An Alcantara-lined cabin and large side shells for additional cooling are among the visual giveaways of the M400.

It’s not our favorite version of the M12, however. Because as an extremely capable all-rounder, the GTO-3R hits the mark every time.

How to get one in your garage

An expert’s point of view

Matt Walton, Jetstream Motorsport: “The M12 is quite reliable with regular checks and maintenance. Some of our customers drive them every day, and one of them has driven over 130,000 miles since inception, including track use, and has never had a major problem. We recommend annual maintenance, regardless of mileage. This includes everything from checking the hoses, oil and fuel lines, bushings and ball joints to checking the bolts that hold the suspension together. We also change the oil and filter, spark plugs, fuel filter and auxiliary belts, bleed brake fluid and clean K&N air filters. It costs £ 555 – far less than an approved service for a Ferrari or Porsche. “

Buyer, beware …

■ GEARBOX Pre-GTO-3R models equipped with the open differential and five-speed gearbox can be problematic. This box is generally weaker and may need to be rebuilt, especially if the car has been doing a lot of work on the track. Specialists like Jetstream are replacing plastic cage bearings with steel and shot-blasted bearings and polishing gears to reduce imperfections.

■ ENGINE The M12’s engine is “bomb-proof,” according to Jetstream, with common faults limited to exhaust manifolds that are susceptible to cracking. Most will have already been upgraded, but checking this out is essential to avoid the £ 940 cost of a stainless steel replacement. Early M12s also came with a standard Ford sump; For spirited driving or even occasional use on the track, a more baffled and larger capacity crankcase is recommended to avoid engine demolition oil surges.

■ SUSPENSION AND BRAKES Due to the M12’s low weight (1050 kg), its standard brakes and suspension generally have an easy lifespan. But if you’re thinking of pushing yours closer to its limits, Jetstream offers two coilover kits. The first, at £ 1,200, uses Gas components, which maintain road compliance but …

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This notice was published: 2021-06-14 05:01:23

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