Ariel will launch its fourth-generation Atom at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend. The Atom 4, new from the ground-up, is immediately recognisable as an Atom but carries over only three parts – the brake and clutch pedals and the fuel filler cap – from the previous generation model.
At the heart of the Atom 4, and one of the main reasons for the complete redesign, is Honda’s latest 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, from the current Civic Type R. At 320hp in Ariel’s standard tune, it makes 10 bhp more than the supercharged version of the Atom 3, which is enough, Ariel says, to take the Atom 4 to 60mph from rest in 2.8secs, and to 100mph in 6.8sec.
The engine, mounted behind the occupants, as ever drives the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox and limited-slip differential. Ariel says the top speed is now 162mph, permitted by better aerodynamics than any previous Atom: although it is still not exactly the world’s slipperiest vehicle, for which you can blame the exposed mechanicals.