This time, it has a windshield.
You remember the Ariel Atom, right? Yeah, the car responsible for ruining Jeremy Clarkson's face. Though it may look pretty similar to the one Clarkson drove on Top Gear, the car shown here is the fourth-generation, known as the Ariel Atom 4. This car actually debuted a few years ago, but Ariel North America is finally ready to offer it in the United States.
Straight away, the Atom 4 wows with some astonishing performance figures. Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine borrowed from Honda Performance Development. It's the same engine used in the Honda Civic Type R, but in the Atom, it's been tuned to produce 320 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Ariel will also offer a Performance Package, which increases the output to 350 hp with ECU tuning, a three-stage boost controller, and a performance exhaust system.
With no windows, no doors, and only a small windshield, the Atom earns its name with a feather-light curb weight of only 1,350 pounds. Since there is so little bulk to move, the Type R powertrain can rocket the Atom up to 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds, 100 mph in 6.8 seconds, and onto a top speed of 162 mph. The Atom 4 also adds launch and traction control systems to help it put the power down to the ground.
This new model may look similar to the original, but it is based on an all-new tubular steel chassis. In fact, only three parts (the clutch pedal, brake pedal, and fuel cap) carry over from the previous model. The chassis is 15% stiffer than the outgoing Atom 3, and the wheelbase grew by two inches for more interior space and legroom. The Atom still calls on an inboard, pushrod operated damper system, which keeps the car flat at all times. Ariel also made improvements to the steering rack, making it more drivable out on the road.
Every panel on the exterior is new in order to reduce drag, improve downforce, and push more air to the intercooler and air intakes. A shift in aero-balance also makes the Atom 4 more of a neutral handler and gives it more precise control at the limit. Customers can order their bodywork in a paint color, or in bare carbon fiber for a more minimalist look.
Inside, a new switch panel places the controls closer to the driver, including the lighting, indicators, adjustable traction, and launch controls. A new central display can show drivers configurable information for road or track use, and also doubles as the optional backup camera. There's still aren't any creature comforts inside, but the Atom 4 is longer and wider with a slightly larger removable front body cover for a small amount of storage.
Pricing for the Ariel Atom 4 starts at $74,750.