Low volume British manufacturer Ariel Motors has just launched the latest version of the Atom, the 3.5 R, and once again the space-age sportster looks set to be a phenomenal performer with its unique blend of low mass and high power.
The Atom’s skeletal frame and innards weigh in at just 550 kg and, for the most part, it looks pretty much the same as it always has. But look closer and you’ll see that it now boasts a custom intercooler in its left “sidepod”, while an oil cooler is housed on the opposite side.
The intercooler helps bring the temperature down of the air that runs through the Atom 3.5 R’s powerplant, namely the 2,0-litre VTEC engine normally found in Honda’s Civic Type R (albeit with a supercharger bolted on). Along with the increased boost pressure, the intercooler helps the unit produce 261 kW at 8 400 r/min (up 30 kW from before). The Atom 3.5 R’s zero to 100 km/h sprint is believed to be in the region of 2,5 seconds, while 160 km/h can be dispatched in around 6,0 seconds.
To help reign in all that extra power, Ariel’s kitted the Atom 3.5 R with other enhancements like an adjustable limited slip differential and Ohlins springs and dampers. Vented discs and four-pot brake callipers bring the Atom to a stop.