Ariel updates its Atom racer


October 12, 2012

Go kart? Race car? Ariel Atom

Go kart? Race car? Ariel Atom

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It looks like a go-kart, accelerates and corners like a race car, and has enough manners to drive on the street ... and it just got a little better. Ariel Motor Company revealed the Atom 3.5 this week, the latest iteration of its open-top, bare-chassis Atom sports car.

The Atom 3.5 takes a step forward from the Atom 3 in a number of ways. The naturally aspirated 2.0-liter Honda VTEC engine keeps the same output of 245-bhp, but the supercharged option is raised to 315-bhp via modifications to the intake, mapping and fuel system. The engine mountings have also been revised.

Taking a cue from its limited edition models, like the Atom V8 and Mugen, Ariel stiffens up the 3.5's tubular steel chassis. A new set of dampers works with the chassis modifications to deliver a more optimized combination of road comfort and track balance and traction. A new set of projector headlamps and LED turn signals and taillights ensures the improved ride can be fully enjoyed by night, as well as day.

Inside the tiny rig, a new LCD digital display provides the necessary information about speed, RPMs and the like. Those that are serious about pushing the car – and why would you buy such a car if you weren't – can add a data logger to the display to get real time data about lap times, G force and other measures.

Ariel doesn't mention any bottom-line performance increases, but with numbers like a 2.7-second 0-60 mph (97 km/h) and an 11-second 0-100-0 mph (0-161-0 km/h), the Atom has never been hurting for an upgrade in that department.

Source: Ariel

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C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

Wonderful concept- but as a road car it really needs much longer mudguards. Obviously, nobody's going to drive one of these across Europe in Winter, but even coming across hazards such as puddles would not be a pleasant experience, and being so low to the ground would probably pose a real injury risk if the wheels flicked up loose stones from the road (many British roads are 'resurfaced', if you could call it that, with loose chipping laid onto a thin coating of sticky bitumen, which means that loose chippings are a hazard for years to come).

I think I'd forget about using this as a road car and trailer it to the track.


If I could afford one I'd use it as a daily drive (in dry weather).

Unfortunately the buy one and pay for three car tax system we have and the silly insurance rates that goes along with it makes that more like a lottery dream.

The Ariel Atom is the perfect fun car if there ever was one. It's not an ultra high speed on but who needs that except to combat autobahn dullness and instead you get the full on mechanical grip only.


This car offers more protection and amenities than every single motorcycle ever made. I don't see any problem with it that your average motorcycle rider, or bicycle rider for that matter, does not already "deal with".



Lots of Hondas running around are getting more than that normally aspirated. Is that because of emissions?

How about a Turbo with a manually electro-adjustable waste gate as a dealer-installed option?

It's all about the PSI.


Make mine electric and I'm happy. I wonder how much they go for second hand, if any.

Nicolas Zart
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