Noble in Spirit
( Autoweek ) - Maybe you missed your chance to buy a Noble M400, the 425-hp rocket sled of a sports car developed in the United Kingdom by former racer and engineer Lee Noble ("Organic Chemistry," AW, Dec. 11, 2006).
Or maybe you were just waiting for something more powerful than the M400 to come along-though at 401 hp per ton, we're not sure how much more power one really needs, but it's your checkbook. (Noble is reportedly still developing his next street racer, the M15, but there's no word yet on when that car might see production.)
Either way, your wait is over. 1G Racing, the Hamilton, Ohio-based company that has been distributing Nobles in North America for the past eight years, has acquired worldwide rights to the M400 and its predecessor, the M12, and will begin selling its own version of the M400 later this year. M400 production ends July 15.
The new car, the Rossion Q1 coupe, features a completely restyled body, an all-new and far more luxurious interior and a higher-output engine. The recommended engine, the Ford-sourced twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter Duratec V6, produces 450 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, up 25 hp and 10 lb-ft compared with the M400. The engine and interior pieces are installed by 1G at its facility in Ohio, finishing the rolling chassis built at the South African plant that formerly produced Noble bodies and chassis.
Whereas the M400 was strictly a race car for the street, with minimal concessions made to the comfort or convenience needs of a driver paying upward of $90,000 for his toy, the Q1 offers an array of options, including a hand-stitched interior, satellite navigation and a top-end audio system. You can even get power mirrors.
"The Rossion Q1 is for the enthusiast looking for a refined road car that pushes the limits of performance in every way," said Dean Rosen, vice president of the newly formed Rossion company.
The extras come with a slight weight penalty. The Q1 tips the scales at about 2400 pounds, up about 50 pounds over the M400, but the extra 25 hp offsets the extra mass, producing a net 412 hp per ton. Q1 base pricing remains similar to the M400's: $69,000 for the chassis (minus drivetrain), $90,700 with the suggested drivetrain installed.