REVIEW: NOBLE M600 SPEEDSTER
Following a gestation period longer than one of James Cameron’s films, Noble have finally released the convertible iteration of their famed M600- dubbed, the Speedster. Noble itself believes that, for those who take their driving seriously, the M600 offers ‘a more rewarding driving experience’ than the supercar establishment. Fighting words indeed. So, does the M600 offer a legitimate alternative to what’s already out there?
From the moment your eyes gaze upon the striking silhouette of the Speedster, it becomes a near impossible task to look away. The removal of the roof has done nothing to distort the M600’s gorgeous proportions; rather, it’s done the opposite. Without a hint of hyperbole, the rear of the Speedster has to be one of the best we’ve ever had the privilege of seeing on a supercar. We could simply stare at the elevating step-like design that sits behind the rear glass house for hours on end- it’s that pretty.
Further exacerbating the Speedster’s appeal is the exquisite new tinted resin hue option. Costing approximately $60,000 (after conversion), the resin is designed to highlight the unadulterated curves in the best possible way.
Just like a Prius
Despite it’s sensible Volvo origins (initially featuring in the XC90 SUV…) the V8 housed in the middle of the Speedster is a properly unhinged engine, helped not-inconsiderably by Noble’s decision to incorporate two turbochargers.
Rumour has it that the unofficial name for this engine is 'tiny' (we may have made that up)...
492kw and 820Nm are certainly impressive, the real headline figure though lies in the Speedster’s monumental power-to-weight ratio. By keeping weight down to an anorexic 1198kg, the Speedster is able to boast 412kw/tonne. This, matched with the exceedingly streamlined body, contributes to the Speedsters 362 km/h top speed (and 0-194km/h in just under 9 seconds). However, Defining Drives would not, in any case, dare even attempt to verify this claim, simply due to the M600’s lack of appropriate safety. And we’re not just talking about the absence of a reversing camera.
The Speedster misses out on not only ABS, but ESP and even, *gulp*, airbags. Some like to justify this as being ‘retro’. Us though? We call it downright ludicrous. You want to leave out parking sensors, or lane-control in your 362km/h hyper car? Sure, go ahead. But do not for a moment, neglect the importance of airbags in passenger and driver safety. Or ABS. Or ESP. Remember for a moment that the M600 is rear-wheel drive and has 820Nm of tyre-frying torque. To be frank, we’re slightly afraid of this car. Our editor hasn’t been able to sleep for weeks ever since he experienced one. And there’s good reason for this.
Because for all it’s smooth lines, for all it’s luxurious, sensible charms, the M600 Speedster is contradictorily insane. Not even the leather quilted interior (which is inexplicably beautiful) is able to disguise the fact that, without active safety features of any sort, once control of the M600 is lost (very likely), the Speedster essentially becomes a $425,000*, 4-wheeled death-trap.
*(Approximate price after conversion- the M600 is currently not available in Australia)
Not shown: Editor crying in fetal position.
Now, here at Defining Drives, we like a little a dash of madness in our cars. We like cars that punch us in the face, cars that test us to our driving limits, but keep us safe while doing so. The M600 Speedster is not one of these cars. It certainly punches you in the face; but it does so repeatedly with gay-abandon, it possesses not a care in the world as to whether you survive or not.
Our diagnosis? The Noble M600 Speedster is explicitly bipolar.
And that’s truly, a great shame because deep down, underneath all our fears, underneath all our frustrations, we are utterly head-over-heels for this car. The styling is exquisite, the engine is properly deranged and the craftsmanship, that could only come from being hand-built, is second to none.
Never before has a car left us so torn. Our heart undoubtedly says ‘yes’ to this car, however, our head, which you can thank the exclusion of safety features for, says ‘no’.
And that, for once, is what we feel we must listen to.