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07/12 2018

THE NEW ARIEL ATOM 4 GETS A 320-HP HONDA TYPE R MOTOR

 

 

The Ariel Atom 4 will go on sale late this year with deliveries beginning in 2019. 

Rear engine and a totally tubular chassis

BY:  JAKE LINGEMAN

The Ariel Atom 4 (fourth-gen) is here, and it’s basically perfect for a lightweight, track-ready, road-legal driver that will put the rain in your hair and the wind in your shorts. Oh, did we mention it now gets a Honda Civic Type R engine?

Forget the 500-hp V8 limited-edition from a few years back — the 4 is the ethos of lightweight, Colin Chapman-style motoring. It doesn’t have a body for chrissakes!

The new Atom will sport a 320-hp, 310-lb-ft version of Honda’s turbocharged 2.0-liter with a new chassis, suspension, steering and brakes. In fact, the only carryover parts are the clutch, brake pedals and fuel cap. Sixty mph will rush by in 2.8 seconds, 100 mph in 6.8. Ariel will produce about 100 per year, made to order, at its factory in Crewkerne, Somerset, England.

The Atom 4 gets a new tubular chassis, designed in-house, using much of what it learned while making the Titanium Chassis R&D project of 2014. The tubes are larger in diameter, according to Ariel, with 15 percent more torsional stiffness than the previous model. It provides more interior space and can withstand a full-frontal 31 mph (50 kph) barrier impact.

Honda has been Ariel’s engine supplier since the Atom 2, 3 and Ace motorcycle, and the Japanese giant signed a new agreement for the 4.

“The Honda agreement is critical for us and our customers,” said Simon Saunders, director of Ariel. “The Type R engines have proven themselves in Atoms over the years with dependable power and absolutely faultless reliability, even under race conditions, so there really is no better engine for the Atom.”

The Atom 4 also comes optionally with launch and traction control. A new exhaust system was built to comply with racetrack noise restrictions, with an option for a no-catalytic-converter race version.

The Atom’s pushrod damper system has been optimized for the 4 with new geometry that includes revised inboard and outboard points to reduce unnecessary body roll and keep the tires stuck to the pavement. Each corner gets a Bilstein damper, with an optional semi-active Ohlins package under development for production.

The steering rack and steering geometry have been changed too, so that “the Atom not only handles superbly but has ultimate drivability,” according to engineer Sam Evans.

The new Atom gets 16-inch front wheels with 195/50 Avon ZZR tires with 17-inch, 255/40 rears, making for more mechanical grip than any previous car. Carbon-fiber wheels are optional, and we imagine, expensive. Braking comes from either 10.9-inch front discs and 10-inch rears, two-piston in front, one in the back. AP Racing brakes are optional with bigger discs and four-piston clampers.

Inside there’s more storage space and everything is LED to comply with European standards. Both seats are adjustable, as opposed to the twin-seat units in previous cars and the steering wheel combines all of the switches you’ll ever need at a finger’s reach.

The Atom 4 goes on sale in late 2018 for spring 2019 deliveries. In the U.K., it will cost about 39,900 pounds (about $53,000) with taxes for the base basecar, no windshield, no wing. Prices here will probably start a little higher than that.

Go to ArielNA.com for more information.