For 18 years, the Ariel Atom has been one of the go-to machines for a minimalist performance experience, and now it’s about to enter its fourth generation.
Revealed today, the new sports car may look similar to those before it, but the British manufacturer says this is near enough an all-new machine – with just three components carried over from the previous generation.
Powering it is a Honda K20C engine, as found in the latest Civic Type R, paired here with a six-speed manual gearbox. The turbocharged 2.0-litre, four-cylinder unit produces 320bhp and 420Nm of torque – capable of taking the Atom 4 from 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds and on to a 162mph top speed.
Housing that is a chassis that has been designed entirely in-house by Ariel and is 15 per cent stiffer than that of the outgoing car, with the total package weighing a mere 595kg.
Figures like that could create a challenging machine to drive, but there’s been no skimping on handling-focused parts to keep all that performance on the road. On-board Bilstein dampers feature, while a revised steering rack improves all-round usability – making the Atom more approachable than ever.
As standard, the Atom 4 sits on 16-inch alloy wheels at the front and 17-inch units at the back – although these can be optionally replaced with carbon-fibre units, which weigh 50 per cent less. Regardless of the choice, high-performance Avon ZZR tyres are fitted from factory.
Don’t expect a whole lot in terms of luxury equipment, though – this is, after all, a track-focused car. Daytime running lights now feature, as do LED indicators. There’s also the ground-breaking introduction of individual seats, rather than the single-mould twin unit of old. How high-tech is that?
The all-new Ariel Atom 4 will be available to order in late 2018 with a starting price of £39,975. First deliveries are expected early in 2019.