The Ariel Atom exists for raw numbers people, not badge-adoring people. And the latest Atom 4, redesigned from the ground up and featuring Honda’s Civic Type R engine, is no exception.
Specs? How about 0–60 mph in 2.8 seconds, curb weight of 1312 pounds, and 320 horsepower with 310 ft/lbs torque. That would be astonishing for any road-legal car, but when you finish the conversation with the fact that the price for this performance is just $52,900 (£39,975 including VAT in the UK), you tend to raise eyebrows.
The Atom has been lapping racetracks and stalking the streets for almost 20 years, but the latest Atom 4 marks sizable changes. According to Simon Saunders, director of Ariel, “The Atom 4 is the biggest change to the car since we originally released it in 1999. It really is an all-new car; in fact, there are only three parts carried over from the last Atom—the clutch/brake pedals and the fuel cap.”
One of the key changes to the space-framed land rocket is the upgrade to the latest Honda K-series engine. The K20C 2.0-liter four-cylinder is pulled from the engine compartment of the Civic Type R and massaged by Ariel to 320 hp. Albeit in considerably less cosseting accommodations, the Atom 4 will leave the 707-hp Challenger Hellcat in the dust with a 2.8-second 0–60-mph sprint and 6.8-second 0–100-mph runs. The Atom 3 made do with just 230 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque.
The secret to all this added performance compared to the last Atom is weight—it’s down 38 pounds compared to the Atom 3. The Atom 4’s redesign included a new frame and bodywork that are just as minimal as ever, yet Ariel claims better aerodynamics. Bigger brakes and available carbon wheels that are as much as 50-percent lighter than on the previous Atom 3 makes this a big leap forward.
Production is set to begin late this year, with deliveries starting Spring 2019. While the release information from Ariel does not specifically call out a timeline for when the Atom 4 will come stateside, Ariel sold the Atom 3 in the U.S. for $64,500. If there’s one thing for certain, it’s that there’s nothing quite like it.