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First look: Noble ups its hot-rod ante

Unmistakable: Low, slinky styling is a Noble hallmark.

The fledgling Noble let a couple of raw racers loose at the British motor show

2 Jun 2004

NOBLE, the four-year-old British sports car specialist recently represented in Australia by MG Rover importer Motor Group Australia (MGA), sprung a couple of surprises at last week’s British motor show in Birmingham.

Its $195,000 262kW 3.0-litre twin turbo V6 M12 GTO-3R sports car has been joined by the larger, faster and more expensive M14.

The two-seater Porsche 911 Turbo rival, powered by a 298kW 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 Ford Duratec V6 engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, goes on sale in England from October.

Longer and more luxurious than the M12, the M14 includes leather and alcantara trim, electric windows, power mirrors, air-conditioning and the option of satellite navigation.

In Britain it will be priced around one-third more than the M12, so if MGA decides to introduce the M14 locally it may well end up costing in excess of $280,000.

147 center image Noble says the 100km/h mark from standstill is reached in 4.3 seconds on the way to a 305km/h top speed.

Of the M14’s potential. its designer (and firm’s managing director) Lee Noble said: “We aim to catch an entirely new audience with this model, one that cares as much about the grade of leather used in the cabin as how fast the car will accelerate to 100mph”.

Meanwhile, the M12 convertible also debuted.

Dubbed MGC and also due around October, the 257km/h drop-top hits the 100km/h mark in 4.5 seconds and features two roof panels that can be removed and stored inside the cabin.

Nevertheless, it also happens to be the cheapest Noble car, at about 10 per cent below the cost of the M12 coupe.

Noble has also uprated its $160,000-plus (in the UK) M12 GTO-3 Coupe-based M400 by increasing its 3.0-litre twin turbo V6’s power ante 54kW to 319kW.

Augmented by a revised gearbox, the M400 should crack the 0-100km/h trip in under 4.0 seconds.

Its mission is to provide Noble enthusiasts with the nearest thing to a road-registrable racing car.

There is no word about whether the M14, M12 MGC or M400 are bound for Australia.

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