Somerset-based manufacturer, Ariel, have revealed a new Ariel Atom 3.5R and it’s said to be the first of several new products the specialist manufacturer will release in the medium to long term. The Ariel Atom, in any form of tune, is always a potent performance machine. That’s the wonder of a car with great power-to-weight, and this third Atom derivate falls in-between the four-cylinder 3.5 and the ballistic V8. Think of it like a best of both worlds.
With a feather-light, exposed body structure weighing just 550kg, a 260kW power output from a supercharged 2.0-litre K20 Honda Civic Type R engine, the 3.5R turns into a nigh-on 500kW per ton power-to-weight ratio machine. Ariel have used a supercharged Honda engine for some time now but a new charge cooler and Ariel-developed oil cooler keeps the supercharger breathing cleanly in this R version, hence the power increase and a 30kW gain over the regular 230kW four-pot Atom.
The torque from the forced induction engine sits at a healthy 330Nm and peak power arrives at 8400rpm and peak torque at 6100rpm so there are plenty of revs to play with out on track. Acceleration promises to be vicious too, with 0-100kph dusted in 2.6 seconds and 0-160kph dispatched in 6 seconds, which is faster than most hot hatches can get to 100kph. Top speed is 250kph.
Driving the rear wheels, the 3.5R uses a new Sadev six-speed sequential race gearbox with steering wheel mounted paddles. Gear shifts take less than 40 milliseconds, with cog-swapping down the gears occurring in less than 50 milliseconds.
Many tricks learnt on the V8 Atom are used on the 3.5R with a tweaked pushrod suspension setup and Ohlins adjustable dampers fitted as standard, so customers can also set the car up for road, track or race setups. Large 290mm four-piston ventilated brake discs give the Atom immense stopping power.
Ariel are taking a new approach with the 3.5R and are now offering a tailor made approach to the Atom experience so buyers will be able to choose their own bodywork, livery, wheels and tyres to help them stand out from a crowd. In the UK the Ariel Atom 3.5R will go on sale for £64 800 – or R1.2-million in a direct currency conversion. Worth it?