Ariel Atom 3

Read our full review of the 2011 Ariel Atom 3

Look at the specification: double unequal length wishbones, pushrod operated inboard dampers, adjustable outboard rod ends, lightweight fabricated uprights. This is single seater technology made usable. Adjustment for ride height, for toe, for camber, to quickly set the car up for driver or track. Or simply leave it where it is and enjoy it. Race car dynamics, reliable driveability. This is more than a car. It is a tool.

Walk around the Atom and names leap out. Bilstein, Eibach, Willans. Look deeper between the chassis tubes and the spokes of the wheels. There's more. Tilton, ITG, SPA, Alcon, Goodridge. Adjustable front/rear bias brakes, twin master cylinders, composite bodywork, alloy adjustable pedals, four point harnesses, competition steering rack. This is a car that has been designed to a specification not built down to a price.

Lift the rear cover, another name. An important one. Honda. Makers of the best engines in the world. And here in the Atom 3 the latest all alloy Honda 2.0 liter i-VTEC. No turbos, no race gearboxes, no bits of motorcycles. Just remarkable and reliable Honda power. Low speed tractability with race engine dynamics. Normally aspirated or supercharged. Honda provenance, Ariel design. Now look further. Fabricated tubular manifold, ram air system, dedicated electronic control unit. The Ariel detailing.

Settle into the molded composite seat and the tubular chassis surrounds you. Protection, space and torsional strength. Engineering dictates aesthetics. Bronze and TIG welded by hand, phosphated and powder coated, the Atom chassis reflects the visible attention to detail and quality. Turn the suede steering wheels and the lightweight alloy rack responds instantly.

Flip the ignition. Electronic needles spring to life, the fuel pump primes. Press the starter. The engine settles to a quiet tickover. Track or traffic the atom is ready. First gear and launch the car. The urgent bark of the VTEC cuts in, the supercharger whines, the needles compete towards the 8600 limiter. Zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds. 0-100 mph in 6.8 seconds. Up to 600bhp per tonne. Astounding figures. Quicker than a Ferrari Enzo, more lateral G than a Porsche GT3. Giant killing performance for a fraction of the price. This is race car territory, but obtainable, affordable.

Source: Ariel press

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