Ariel Atom
Ariel Atom
Class Track Day
Body Style Open body 2 seater
Length 3.41 m
Width 1.798 m
Height 1.195 m
Weight 1071 lb (456 kg)
Engine 2.0 litre (1998 cc) Straight-4
Similar Deronda Type-F
Secma F16 Roadster
Lotus 2-Eleven
Designer Simon Saunders Automotive Design

The Ariel Atom is a high performance sports car made by the Ariel Motor Company based in Somerset, England. It is unusual in the respect that the chassis is the body, and therefore lacks a roof, windows and other features commonly found on road cars. It is available with a range of engines; the top of the range being a supercharged Honda Civic Type-R K20 engine and a Supercharged 2.0 Litre 300 hp 250 ft/lbs GM Ecotec engine both of which can reach speeds rivaling those of much more expensive automobiles. Although the top speed of approximately 140-150 mph is relatively tame compared to more exotic sports cars, the high power-to-weight ratio (approximately 500 bhp/ton) affords it incredible acceleration and control through corners because there is no large amount of weight to throw it out of the turn.

The Ariel Atom has received great media interest, most recently when it was featured on the Discovery Channel and tested by Jeremy Clarkson on BBC motoring television programme Top Gear, where it lapped their test track faster than a Porsche Carrera GT, and also creatively re-arranged Clarkson's face because of the open canopy's lack of wind protection. A still image from the show circulated heavily around the time of the show's premiere. The car is featured in the video game Project Gotham Racing 2 for the Xbox console, Project Gotham Racing 3 and Project Gotham Racing 4 for the Xbox 360 console and TOCA Racedriver 3 for the PC, Xbox and PS2.

Brammo Motorsports of Ashland, Oregon has signed a deal with Ariel Ltd to manufacture the Atom in the USA. In the USA it is available with the supercharged GM Ecotec engine introduced in 2004 on the Saturn ION Red Line and also used in the Cobalt SS. As of 2008, manufacturing in the United States has been passed to TMI Autotech, Inc. in Alton, Virginia.

The Ariel Atom was also used by Wrightspeed to prototype the electric running gear for an entirely new production vehicle which Wrightspeed are raising funds to build. The Atom-based prototype, called the X1, also has incredible acceleration, reaching 60 mph in 3 seconds. Because the X1 is electric, it has the equivalent fuel consumption of 170 mpg.

Recent Changes[]

  • On December 17, 2010, Ariel builds a Ariel Atom Mugen Tuned Special to celebrate its 10th birthday. This new lightweight model will be as track focused as ever, using Honda’s K20Z naturally aspirated Type R engine to its full potential. The Mugen-prepared powerplant also develops an impressive 270 hp out of a 2.0-liter displacement, which should be more than enough for performance-hungry customers. The Type R Honda is the best 2.0-liter normally aspirated engine available. The Atom Mugen will be presented at the 2011 Autosport Show in Birmingham, UK.[1]


  • 0-60 mph : 3.5 sec. (2.88 sec. Supercharged)
  • Top Speed: 140 mph, 225 km/h (155 mph, 249 km/h Supercharged)
  • Power: 220 bhp (300 bhp Supercharged)
  • Weight: 600 kg (~1,320 lb)
  • Transmission: Honda 6-Speed Close Ratio Manual w/ Reverse
  • Price: Base model - $35,000/ Race package - $92,570


The Atom’s suspension is derived from single seat racecars and fully adjustable, requiring only a wrench. Both front and rear double unequal length wishbones and inboard, pushrod operated dampers, contribute to the Atom’s dynamic racecar-like handling characteristics. Adjustable suspension rod ends feature inboard rubber/metal bushes to promote a more comfortable road-going ride. The front and rear Bilstein dampers are also adjustable. Stacked light and heavy coil springs impose a low spring rate for minor deflections with higher rate for large deflections.


In an issue of Track and Race Car magazine, a comprehensive test was performed on a range of cars, from the Porsche 911 Carrera S, Ford GT, BMW M5 to the Caterham CSR 260 track day car. The Supercharged Ariel Atom 1 won the 2005 0-100-0 mph test by a clear margin, reaching 100 mph and then stopping in 10.88 seconds, ahead of the Caterham CSR 260 (11.41) and the Ford GT in 4th (13.17).

The following year, they won Autocar's 0-100 mph challenge with the new Ariel Atom 2 300 bhp Supercharged edition achieving a time of 6.86 seconds, and then stopping from 100 in 3.8 seconds.

The British newspaper The Sunday Times measured its average acceleration from 0 to 60 at 2.89 seconds, making it the world's 3rd fastest accelerating production car available today after the $1.3 million, 1001 bhp Bugatti Veyron which reaches 0 to 60 in 2.46 seconds,[1][2] and the Ultima GTR, which reaches 0-60 mph time in 2.6 seconds.[3]


Ariel Atom 500[]

This variant of the Ariel Atom has a V8 in the rear. It also has a massive rear wing.

Ariel Atom 500 front

Front of the Ariel Atom 500

Ariel Atom 500 rear

Rear of the Ariel Atom 500

Ariel Atom 3.5R[]

It is a track-focused and hardcore variant of the Ariel Atom.

Ariel Atom 3

Ariel Atom 3.5R


See also[]

  • Wrightspeed X1 for a technical image gallery of the chassis' components.



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