The Noble M12 GTO-3R
17th October, 2004
In 2000, the Noble M12 GTO threatened to turn the established super car market on its head. With its mix of scorching performance, race-bred dynamics and immaculate build quality, the Noble could be bought for a fraction of the cost of most of its rivals, but gave away nothing to them on the road and track. The press raved about it and demand rapidly grew as buyers saw this British-designed car as a credible alternative to cars costing more than twice the price.
The original Noble M12 GTO was fitted with a 2.5 litre V6 engine using twin turbochargers and produced 229 kW (310 bhp) – enough for it to accelerate from 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) in 3.7 seconds and 100 mph (160 km/h) in 8.8 seconds (figures from Autocar magazine). As if this wasn’t fast enough, at the start of 2003, Noble upped power further by replacing the 2.5 litre unit with a 3.0-litre V6 engine, again with twin turbochargers, but this time producing 262 kW (352 bhp). This is coupled with an all-new Getrag-Ford six-speed gearbox and Quaife Automatic Torque Biasing differential, enhancing its appeal as both a relaxed, high-speed GT and an accomplished track day weapon.
The GTO-3R is built using GRP composite body over a spaceframe chassis offering impressive levels of structural and torsional rigidity. Inside, the cabin is spacious enough to accommodate people over six-foot tall and has excellent ergonomics, adjustable seats and steering column, a fully trimmed safety roll cage, track day oil sump and leather trim is standard.
The GTO-3R also comes standard with twin bi-xenon headlights and Noble-designed ten-spoke alloy wheels as well as full leather trim, air conditioning, CD player, race harnesses (in addition to inertia reel belts), a leather Momo steering wheel and adjustable seats and steering column. An alarm/immobiliser system is also standard.
The recommended retail price for this exclusive sports car is $199,990 excluding on-road costs.
The 2,968 cc, twin-turbocharged V6 is transversely mounted in front of the rear axle, directly behind the cabin. It features four valves per cylinder and double overhead cams to each bank of cylinders. The all-alloy engine is heavily modified from standard, with many bespoke components fitted during build. It produces 262kW (352 bhp) at 6200rpm, and is redlined at 7,200 rpm.
On the road, 475 Nm of torque produced between 3,500 and 5,000 rpm makes the car immensely flexible and easy to drive. Even at 3,000 rpm, the engine is producing 80 per cent of its available torque. There’s also very little lag from the twin Garret T25, water-cooled turbochargers, meaning a particularly linear response throughout the rev-range. The turbochargers run a maximum 0.7 bar of boost and are equipped with an air to air intercooler, centrally mounted at the rear of the car.
The exhaust design has been developed to ensure the 3.0-litre engine gives you the choice of enjoying the sporty engine note under hard acceleration, or savouring the V6’s inherent refinement at cruising speeds.
Also standard with the GTO-3R’s six-speed gearbox is a Quaife Automatic Torque Biasing differential. This unique, patented unit shares the basic characteristics of a conventional limited slip differential, which prevents loss of drive when one wheel starts to slip. However, the ATB differential has the advantage of gears, rather than plates, which can wear or break, and therefore servicing is reduced and reliability improved. The ATB also eliminates much of the understeer that is inherent in conventional LSDs, by transferring more torque to the driven wheel that needs it most, rather than it being split equally between both wheels; this prevents the rear wheels trying to push the front wheels wide when cornering.
CHASSIS, SUSPENSION & STEERING
The GTO-3R uses a body6 made from GRP, under which lies an all steel space frame with bonded and riveted alloy panels; the total weight for the 3R is extremely light, with a kerb weight of just 1,080 kgs. Continuing the race-bred theme is double wishbone suspension all round, with alloy uprights and Bilstein shock absorbers.
A key element of the Noble M12’s success overseas has been its ability to combine fine on-road dynamics with safe and predictable handling on a race circuit. A hydraulically power assisted steering rack, with 2.6 turns from lock to lock is quick enough to make fast-road or track driving rewarding, yet comfortable enough when small corrections are needed on the motorway. The M12 also has a very supple ride over a wide range of surfaces, meaning that it’s an entirely practical proposition for everyday use. Yet incredibly, it can be driven on a race circuit with hardly a trace of body-roll, and remains composed and controllable at very high speeds.
Servo assisted, four-piston calliper brakes with ventilated discs (330 mm diameter front, 326 mm diameter rear) are fitted all round and both cars wear 225/40 ZR 18 tyres at the front and 265/35 ZR 18s at the back.
There are few cars in the world that accelerate as quickly as a Noble M12 GTO-3R. Not only do they both have massive traction off the line, thanks to their mid-engine design, but they also have potent levels of torque from low down in the engine’s rev-range. This means that there is practically no ‘lag’ before the turbochargers start working, making the Noble a particularly effortless and easy car to drive fast.
Auto Express magazine tested the Noble GTO-3R and achieved the following set of figures using Racelogic satellite-driven timing equipment at a private test facility.
0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) 3.7 seconds
WARRANTY & SERVICING
All Nobles come with a 12 month, 20,000 kilometre warranty.
Homologation requirements in Australia for the Noble M12 GTO-3R are currently being finalised. It is anticipated the Noble will be available for retail orders by November 2004.
More Noble News .......
Motor Group Australia are currently investigating the possibility to expand the Noble range in Australia with the introduction of the awesome 312 kW M400, the M12 GTC convertible and the flagship M14 over the next 18 months.
Noble M12 GTO-3R