CAR Online has captured on video the long-delayed Noble M15. In its first test, the matt black mule sported a longitudinally mounted Volvo twin turbo V8 and was driven at very high speed on track by Lee Noble. The company MD revealed the car was currently producing 480bhp with another 150bhp to come, catapulting the rear-wheel drive Brit beyond Ferrari’s 430 Scuderia and the Porsche GT2 and into Lamborghini Murcielago territory. The price? Under £100k.
Noble first started work on the M15 in November 2004 and suggested deliveries would start in December 2006 when CAR went for an exclusive first ride in March 2006. The car was then delayed as Noble sought a financial backer to help bring it to market. Now, with the money in place, the project looks set to make production.
However, Lee Noble commented that this latest prototype was in effect ‘an entirely new car’. Indeed, the original V6 is long gone and the styling – though still unmistakably an M15 – is substantially altered. The body is more curvaceous, the front wings tapering more gently into the doors and the waist rising over the rear wheels before falling again at the tail – where the previous show car rose in one straight, abrupt line.
The rear has also evolved. Where the wing once followed the line of the rear lights and the bodywork fell away beneath it, the new item now stands proud and features LED brake lights on either side. Less noticeably, the rear bodywork now tapers in from the bottom to the top where the original show car did the reverse.
Further details remain scant, but we can confirm an AP Racing clutch and cross-drilled brakes, 20in rear wheels (far larger than the fronts on the mule we saw), a Graziano gearbox and a kerbweight of 1100kg. Expect the 0-60mph dash to be dispatched in little over 3secs and a top speed north of 190mph if the extra 150bhp is indeed unleashed.
The interior of this mule was a mess of wires and ventilation ducting, but we did notice a three-spoke suede-rimmed steering wheel and a low-slung bucket seat combined with a high centre console to create a sense of being ensconced in the car.
Noble described the car as ‘almost finished’ but added that ‘we want to do lots more testing to make sure it doesn’t come back and bite us’. How does it drive? ‘It’s as nimble and perhaps even more so than the M12. You can hold it in a drift far easier than other mid-engined cars, so you can charge into a corner far too fast and throw it in knowing you’ll be able to sort it out.’ Deliveries starting late next year are a distinct possibility.
CAR’s Ben Barry happened to be lapping the same circuit in his stripped-out BMW M3 and caught the resulting cat and mouse chase on video. Click here to watch.