This is the brand new Ariel Atom. It is called the Ariel Atom 4 because it is the fourth generation Ariel Atom, and it is the fastest version yet of one of TG’s favouritest cars. Set your faces to stun.
Though the design looks subtly different, it’s actually a completely new car from the ground up. Ariel boss Simon Saunders notes how just three parts are carried over from the previous, third-gen Atom.
So, that brand new tubular chassis – designed in house by Ariel – features thicker main and diagonal tubes than before, while the torsional stiffness has increased by 15 per cent. Ariel says this new bronze welded structure is treated to a three-stage finishing process and powder-coated to your choice of colour, while providing more interior space and legroom. That’s good.
Ariel has worked hard on reducing drag, and managed to increase downforce and better flow for the radiator, intercooler and air intakes. The aero balance too, has been altered to give “neutral handling”. The familiar roll hoop now sits under the air intake bodywork, there’s a new nose cone, and that intercooler is mounted behind the tub, taking in air from underneath the car.
Slotted inside the new Atom 4 is a new engine, too. A good one. It’s the 316bhp four-cylinder turbo from the new Honda Civic Type R, using Ariel’s own ECU and the option of launch and traction control. Ariel has even given you the ability to adjust boost levels for different road and track conditions.
There’s a new exhaust system, a larger fuel tank, and a revised suspension setup. The inboard and outboard points feature a new geometry, and there’s anti-squat and anti-dive to reduce body roll and weight transfer. Basically, the car’s tighter. Bilsteins dampers are standard, though you can go for a full, semi-active Ohlins pack.
So it’s tighter, and sharper too – the steering has been revised and you can spec a quicker rack if you’ll likely spend some time on circuit. It sits on bigger 16in and 17in front/rear alloys, housing 278mm/253mm discs (front and back, with the option of upgrading to bigger, beefier ones), and the option of speccing much of the body – what little there actually is – in full carbon.
Oh, sorry, almost forgot. It’s fast. Faster than before, and indeed faster than ever. It’ll do 0-97kph in 2.8secs and 0-161kph in 6.8secs. “This was all about optimising the Atom,” explains Ariel’s Tom Siebert. “We’ve done a lot of work on the cooling and aerodynamics, and have worked hard to make the whole car feel more composed.”
Prices start at £39,975 (RM214,000) including VAT, around the same as the old supercharged Atom 3.5. “We want to keep the Atom as an affordable but ultimate performance car,” Siebert added.“But our main aim for our customers is our company motto – serious fun. There isn’t enough of that in motoring anymore, so we’re determined to keep it. If that’s what you want, Atom 4 will deliver.”