Choice of vehicle — part 2

In the previous part of this story I’d whittled my choices down to 10 pretty awesome cars, and then developed a scoring criteria to apply to each of those that would produce a score out of 100% for each car. Very nerdy.

The “winner” was the Noble M12, scoring a massive 98/100.

I’m finally ready to reveal which car I actually bought…

Do you really expect that I’d have gone to the trouble of developing a scoring system, found a car that scored nearly perfectly, and then NOT chosen that car!?

Remember, I’m an engineer. Like all good engineers, I’m lazy :)

So, the Noble M12 won, and that’s what I bought :)

Although, there’s several flavours of M12 — there’s the original M12 GTO (V6 2.5L, 5 speed), M12 GTO 3 (V6, 3.0L, 5 speed), M12 GTO 3R (V6, 3.0L, 6 speed) and the M400 (V6, 3.0L, 6 speed).

That’s the order in which the models became available, and is also the order in which prices and desirability go — starting with the cheapest and least desirable at the 2.5L

The car I ended up with is an Indigo Blue M12 GTO 3R — the 3 Litre, 6 speed car. Whilst I’d have liked the M400, which is a limited edition of only 75 (and so eminently collectable), the cost could not be justified — the 3R costs considerably less, but is still 95% the same car. Apparently, the 3R itself is pretty rare with only around 150 produced — and considerably fewer still surviving (my car is build #88)

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An unexpected consequence of buying a car that was produced in such limited numbers is that it doesn’t have Euro type approval. What this means is that it’s only allowed on European roads because it has a DVLA SVA approval, and UK is currently part of EU. So, should we no longer be part of the EU that will also likely mean that in order for my car to be “roadworthy” within Europe, it will require a European valid equivalent of the SVA test.

The Noble is rare enough that it turns heads wherever it goes — the badge on the front is also rare. Many people have heard of Noble, but few have actually seen one in the flesh. Rarely do any of the hobbyist car magazines cover them — Performance Car, Practical Classics, etc — which adds to the enigma

There’s a huge spoiler on the back demands this car gets attention, and even if you don’t know what it is, you know it intends to be fast. It’s definitely an appreciating asset — the number of surviving cars will only continue to decrease. It’s also genuinely fun and interesting to drive — with no driver aids (ABS, traction/stability control etc) it takes a LOT of effort to drive this car fast — that’s rewarding and sometimes scary. I’ve heard it described as the closest thing to experiencing a motorcycle on 4 wheels, or the AK-47 of the Supercar world — simple and cheap, but devastatingly effective :)

I’ve seen these tuned to up to 700BHP, out of the box is 360BHP — about the same as similar aged Ferraris (355, 360). This is Ferrari Enzo performance for BMW M3 money. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a no-brainer.

But, why trust me on this? Let’s see what some people who really know what they are talking about have to say about this car…

Given that, could it really have been any other car???

Let’s have some more facts…

0–60 in 3.5 seconds (that’s 0.5s faster than a Lambo Murcielago! — or the same as both the Pagani Zonda F and Ferrari Enzo!)

Torque: 350ftlb (slightly more than a Ferrari F430 Scuderia)

Whilst it can’t compete with the top speed of any of these, at road legal speeds you need to spend serious money to keep up with this beast — it’ll pass anything — except a petrol station. Having said that, it was incredibly cheap for the performance you get (eg, the Pagani and Ferrari are at LEAST 20x the price!) — champagne motoring for lemonade money!

I’ve mentioned an episode of Top Gear previously where the boys went looking for the best driving road in the world (S10E01). Let’s compare the Noble to those cars

Top Gear S10E01 cars Vs Noble M12 GTO 3R

Compared to the cars above, the Noble manages to punch well above it’s weight — it’s the least powerful in terms of raw BHP, but thanks to it’s diminutive weight, it’s got the 2nd highest power:weight ratio and also the 2nd quickest from 0–60.

Let’s face it, I’m not likely to ever be rich enough to afford either a Ferrari Enzo OR a Pagani Zonda, so this is also the closest I can realistically get to driving a supercar performance car on my ultimate road trip

Let’s take a timeout to talk about weight — or rather lack of it. The Noble weighs only 1080Kg. That’s unbelievably light. Why is this a good thing?

Less weight to haul from a stand — means faster acceleration and 0–60 times

Less weight means the engine has less to do — more fuel efficient (allegedly 30mpg)

Less weight means there’s less inertia for the brakes to act on — better/faster braking

Less weight means that there’s less inertia acting on the steering — easier, quicker, and more precise steering

Less weight is good. This is why Colin Chapman (the guy that founded Lotus) coined the famous phrases “Simplify, then add lightness” and “Adding power makes you faster on the straights; subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere”

And yes, thanks for pointing it out — I realise I will sit in a sports car, but look like a worm on a diamond

In the next installment, I’ll talk about my car — what is good and bad about it, what I intend to do to modify/improve it… and probably have a bunch more photos too

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