Motoring - The Verdict: Plastic fantastic

The Noble M10 is feather light, frighteningly fast and a serious rival to that other quirky British sports racer, the Lotus Elise

No other country could make a car as spine-tingling, as idiosyncratic or as flawed as the Noble M10 and get away with it. These highly specialised sports racers are a uniquely British phenomenon. The Noble, made in Leicester, is the latest and one of the most ambitious.

Noble is a new company, which was founded by Lee Noble, an experienced designer and manufacturer of specialist track cars. He has an impressive CV, which includes helping McLaren with its F1 car.

The Noble's pedigree shows the moment you turn the key in the ignition and the mid-mounted, highly tuned Ford V6 springs to life. With 168bhp to power a featherweight 998kg car (the body is plastic), I'd expected a fright when I floored the pedal, and I was right. Nought to 60 comes up in 5.9 seconds, but it feels even faster thanks to the proximity of buttocks to Tarmac. The revs begin with a sound not unlike a washing machine, and soon you are piloting a 747. This is nothing short of a super-economy Lamborghini Diablo.

Of course, anyone can make a car go fast, but Noble has made the M10 ride and handle excellently too. It has also fitted brakes that work far better than those on the Lotus Elise. Its fold-down hood, meanwhile, is not just better than the Elise's shower cap, it is the best manually operated hood ever made (though you can't see a damn thing out of the back with it up).

It trumps the Elise on interior comfort too. The M10, though unforgivably shoddy (switches fall out, there's overspray on the stereo), has two-tone leather and carpets.

The projected sales target of just 15 a year seems pessimistic: for pounds 29,700 you are buying a car that is far more exclusive than an Aston Martin and makes a Porsche Boxster look like a starling. The ultimate litmus test came in the car park at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where the Noble turned heads away from the Bentleys and Ferraris. Watch out Lotus.

Gillian Wotherspoon

52, PhD student from Castle Camps, Cambridgeshire. Currently drives a Peugeot 406

"I really enjoyed it. It was light and responsive and had good turning. I did have difficulty with the clutch and gears, and the seat didn't go near enough to the steering wheel. It seemed well moulded to the driver. Listening to the comments of people as we went along, it seemed that young males liked it - it's obviously not appropriate for a family. But exclusivity is important to me. I hate driving the same car as everyone else and I think this is terrific value. Given that TVR is doing so well, I think it has a future."

Louise Todd

35, freelance marketing consultant from Stansfield, Suffolk. Currently drives a VW Corrado

"That was a good drive. It was a hard ride. I felt all of the Fenland bumps but it cornered well - it was very responsive and go-karty. It felt safe and well built but the interior let it down. The trim is cheap and plastic. I also found it wandered a little on rough roads. It's the sort of car that gets looked at but I don't think it's something I'd buy. I'd prefer a Mercedes SLK. I was very impressed with the hood but the plastic rear window was a bit cheap and the spoiler on the back interfered with the rear view."

Neil Graham-Cameron

65, marketing adviser from Haddenham, Cambridgeshire. Currently drives a Honda Civic

"My first impression was that this is stunning; my second impression was how difficult it is to get in to. The seating was OK: being short legged I expected a problem but it was fine. It reminded me of the specials that were knocking around when I was a lad. The performance is awe inspiring - there's so much grunt. It's a 100 per cent driver's car. It's terrific fun on little twisty bits but I would expect the Lotus Elise to be better. I don't really think a lot of women would buy this, even though it's very pretty."

Stuart Stonehouse

51, head teacher from Little Downham, Cambridgeshire. Currently drives a Ford Mondeo

"I thought that it was sensational. I loved it. I could easily do a long journey in it, though it wouldn't be practical for a first car. It'd be lovely to rent for the weekend. The chassis wasn't too firm. It looks really good: it's very similar to a Lotus Elise but the Elise is much more spartan inside. This is more civilised. The acceleration is excellent, it makes wonderful revving noises and the gears are slick. I don't know if it's a good or bad thing but I couldn't see the speedo beyond 60mph, as the steering column obscured it."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
Life and Style
food + drink
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    CCNP Network Engineer - Farnborough, £250 pd

    £250 per day: Orgtel: Network Engineer (CCNP), Cisco Gold Partner, Farnborough...

    Technical Consultant Configuration, SQL, SQL Server

    £55000 - £65000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Technical Cons...

    Lead Business Analyst - Banking - London - £585

    £525 - £585 per day: Orgtel: Lead Business Analyst - Investment Banking - Lond...

    Commercial IT Solicitor - London

    Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Commercial IT Solicitor - London We h...

    Day In a Page

    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
    eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

    eBay's enduring appeal

    The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

    'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
    Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

    Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

    Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
    Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

    Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

    After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
    Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

    Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

    After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
    Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

    Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

    Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
    7 best quadcopters and drones

    Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

    From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home