This car is “very much a working prototype”, but fit and finish on the interior and exterior panels is extremely sound.
The shape of this production-previewing M500 prototype is virtually the final design, subject to high-speed testing. Boutwood expects to add a little more angle to the rear wing, but the chassis has a largely flat underside, helping clean air reach the large diffuser. In the front is a reasonably spacious boot akin to that of a McLaren or a 911.
The prototype has been built in-house at Noble’s Leicester factory, where M600 production reached its end in 2018, and a very small team (only eight in total, with five technicians hands-on with the car) then set about bringing the M500 to this point.
Noble hasn’t accepted any orders yet, because it hasn’t set a final price, but sales and marketing chief Kim Grouse told us that “we want to make it as accessible as we can”.
Boutwood said he would like “people who have Noble M12s and Porsches to be able to afford it”. It’s far from final, as there’s no complete cost for the bill of materials yet, but for Boutwood the aim is “around £150,000”.
If that proves possible, it would be approaching a return to the market in which Noble originally existed: offering the thrills of more exotic mid-engined supercars at a lower price. That ethos changed with the M600, which not only outpowered but, at a heady £200,000, also outpriced its mid-engined rivals at the time of its launch. At £150,000, the M500 could suitably undercut cars from Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren while offering a similar power-to-weight ratio.
The M600 was a labour-intensive car to build, but Boutwood said: “We would like [the M500] to be as easy to make as possible.”
It’s less powerful than the mid-engined establishment but, with its purity, it should weigh less. Boutwood said the prototype weighs nearly 1400kg but that with production parts, most notably in the body, “I reckon we will get it to 1250kg”. Many supercar makers quote a dry weight more than that. In the M600’s 2009 road test, we weighed it fully fuelled at just 1305kg.