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New Ariel Atom 4


Making Sugar
Feb 24, 2016
Pound for pound, price for performance, there has never been a more focused production sports car than the Ariel Atom – and the new Atom 4 takes things up a notch. With a 320-hp engine, and significant revisions throughout the car, you can now get 2.8-seconds-to-60 mph (96.5 km/h) performance for around US$53,000.


There are many things to love about the Ariel Atom: its insanely fast lap times, its cheek-flapping acceleration, its wild, open-top, overgrown go-kart design, its funky curved trellis frame, its sub-£40,000 price tag.

But to us, the best thing about it is the way it shows so many hypercars up for what they really are: vastly overpriced garage jewelery for rich people. Appreciating assets that are rarely appreciated, because if you drive them hard or far they stop generating cash and start costing you a ton of money.


As we pointed out a couple of years ago, the Ariel is a true people's champion that routinely trots out on the racetrack and stuffs steaming helpings of humble pie into the gobs of cars costing 10, 20 or 30 times as much. If you want a status symbol, go get yourself a Koenigsegg or a Pagani. If you want the quickest and best-handling genuine driver's scalpel, pick up an Atom. Then spend the million-odd pounds you just saved on track days and driving coaches and promptly run out of excuses for your lap times.

Now, as we wait for its brutal electric Ariel Hipercar to drop, the British company has announced the next-generation Atom 4, which takes this wild naked warrior to new heights.


It starts with the engine – the latest Honda Type R donk. This 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder turbo gains a thoroughly unnecessary 10 horses over the previous model to a peak of 320 hp (239 kW). But the real story here is torque, which at 420 Nm (310 lb-ft) is a flatly terrifying 75 percent leap up from the naturally aspirated Atom 3.5's 229 Nm (169 lb-ft) and will enable an even wider range of opportunities to test the adhesion of any road-legal tire you could put on it.

It's housed in a new bronze-welded chassis, which keeps the familiar exosleketal shape of previous Atom bodies but offers some 15 percent extra torsional stiffness as well as improved interior space, leg room and crash protection.

More At: https://newatlas.com/ariel-atom-4-upgrade/55429/


Honorary Master
Aug 9, 2009
All-new 320bhp Ariel Atom 4 makes Goodwood first appearance

Ariel reignites Atom with new chassis, suspension, brakes, body and 320bhp engine

The new Ariel Atom 4, the fourth generation of the high-performance sports car launched in 1999, is the fastest standard version yet and has been entirely rebuilt from the ground up.

The Atom 4 will achieve 0-60mph in 2.8sec, matching its BAC Mono rival, and 0-100mph in 6.8sec. Priced from £39,975, it made its public debut at this week’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, with deliveries starting in spring 2019.

The Atom 4 uses the latest Honda Type R turbo engine delivering 320bhp and gets a new chassis, suspension, steering, brakes and bodywork with “significant aerodynamic improvements”, said Ariel, as well as new seating and instrumentation.

Ariel boss Simon Saunders said: “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 and brake pedals and the fuel cap.”

Ariel plans to make 100 cars annually alongside its Nomad and Ace motorbike at its factory in Somerset. It will also be built under licence in the US, a vital market for the maker. It will be the first Ariel vehicle to undergo a specific type approval that allows it to be sold throughout Europe and Australasia.

Ariel director Tom Siebert said the move helped answer the “enormous demand in [Europe] and elsewhere in the world”. He added: “British- built, low-volume vehicles appeal on many different levels and type approval is key to our future commitment to service these markets effectively.”

The basis of the Atom 4 is a new tubular chassis, built in-house, which features larger-diameter main and diagonal tubes than previous Atoms. Torsional stiffness has been increased by 15% compared with the previous-generation Atom 3.5, launched in 2013.

The chassis also promises more interior space and leg room and has been proven to exceed the demands of a full- frontal 50km/h (31mph) barrier impact, seatbelt and rear impact test, said Ariel.

Building on Ariel’s 15-year relationship with Honda UK, the Atom uses the latest Type R’s 320bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine developing 310lb ft. That is a 75% increase in torque over the standard Atom 3.5 and a 35% rise over the supercharged Atom 3.5. Saunders called the deal “critical”, adding: “Type R engines have proven themselves in Atoms over the years with dependable power and absolutely faultless reliability, even under race conditions.”

The engine has been mapped by Ariel using an ECU developed specifically for the car and optional launch and traction control are now included, derived from the Atom V8. The Atom 4 is also able to adjust and optimise turbo boost levels for different road and track conditions.

There is a larger fuel tank than before, giving a road range of 300 miles.

The Atom 4 retains the inboard, pushrod-operated damper system but features all-new suspension geometry, which includes revised inboard and outboard points plus anti- squat and anti-dive intended to reduce unnecessary body roll and weight transfer.

This and the revised steering rack makes the Atom accessible for all types of drivers, said Ariel, and there’s the option of a quick rack for track-focused cars.

The model sits on 16in front and 17in rear wheels. Multi-spoke alloy wheels are standard but there is also the option of full carbon wheels for the first time. These are nearly 50% lighter than alloy wheels. The Atom 4 uses high- performance Avon ZZR tyres.

Ariel said: “The combination of new suspension and larger- section Avon tyres contributes to the Atom 4 having more mechanical grip than any previous Atom.” It added that cornering speed moves to “another level”.

There is also a new, larger braking set-up to accommodate the Atom’s extra power.

Ariel has done significant work to the body, with all-new panels improving aerodynamics. The most obvious change is the disappearance of the central Atom roll hoop, now enclosed under the air intake bodywork.The Atom’s ‘aero screen’ now reaches all the way across the car, reducing ‘helmet lift’ and directing air to the engine intake, and with just this aero fence, claims Ariel, generates nominal downforce.


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Honorary Master
Aug 9, 2009
Ariel Atom 4 2018 review

Should I buy one?

Some prospective Atom 4 owners – of which there are 120, so the waiting list is two years already – have asked whether there might be power upgrades. Supercharging the old naturally aspirated engine was a core part of Ariel’s business.

Personally, I’d wait until trying a 4 before wondering whether you want anything more. The Atom 4 is ludicrously fast. It’s quick enough in position one on the turbo map, but flick it through to three – you might as well get used to it – and the urgency and response are astonishing.

There’s a touch of lag but you always feel in control of the delivery, traction is strong and is the gearshift slick – quick shifts punctuated by shrill train-conductor whistles. The effect is like flooring a McLaren 720S or Porsche 911 Turbo: it’s that insistent.

Braking is brilliantly easily modulated and powerful. In corners, there’s tremendous capability, precious little sense of dive, squat or roll, and great body flatness and security – with no sense that the car’s leaning into roll oversteer, like early Atoms or the fastest Caterhams or, say, a Toyota GT86 does. As silly as this might sound, the inherent balance feels a bit 488 GTB.

Described in one word? ‘Phew.’ It’s incredibly impressive. Downsides? Still a bit wide for a lightweight car, you’d still want a helmet most of the time, there will be an optional windscreen but it’s still not as practical as a Caterham.

But that’s about it: it’s a heck of a leap, and a great driver’s car.

Ariel Atom 4 specification

Where Somerset, UK Price £39,950 On sale Spring 2019 Engine 4 cyls, 1996cc, turbo, petrol Power 320bhp at 6500rpm Torque 310lb ft at 3000rpm Gearbox 6-spd manual Kerb weight 595kg Top speed 162mph 0-62mph 2.8sec Fuel economy 30mpg (est) CO2 Not stated Rivals BAC Mono, Caterham Seven 620S


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