Tony Hisgett / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

Pure driving fun

Quick notes

– Low cost

– High power

– Brutally entertaining

What would you say if I told you that you could have supercar performance for just $53,000? Would you think I’d lost the plot?

Well, that’s what you can have with the beautifully bananas Ariel Atom. This lightweight beast of a car might not look like much, but what it lacks in features, it more than makes up for in power.

“We’re here to tell you exactly what makes the Ariel Atom so good, and why you should be saving for one.”

Real supercar performance, for a fraction of the price, is possible. Check this car out — you won’t regret it.

The origins of the Atom

The Ariel Atom has been around since 2000, based out of the small village of Crewkerne in western England. What makes this car so special is its lightweight combined with high-spec engines.

Initially, the cars were powered by Honda V-Tec engines, the kind found on superbikes. Recently, they’ve upped their game. In 2008, the Ariel Atom V8 was unleashed, and it’s a genuinely beastly racer.

The Ariel Atom 4, its latest iteration, is even better.

Ariel Atom 4: Performance

Typically, we’d start by looking at the car’s looks or price, but we know what you’re here for. The Ariel Atom 4 is powered by a 320 horsepower, 2-liter, four-cylinder engine. Before you snort derisively at this racer’s smaller engine, I’d invite you to look at the car’s weight. It’s a humble 595 kg, just over half a tonne.

“Hitting 60 from a standing start takes just 2.8 seconds.”

That means its power-to-weight ratio is 538 bhp/tonne. For reference, the Bugatti Veyron’s is 530 bhp/tonne.

Hitting 60 from a standing start takes just 2.8 seconds, 100 mph is hit in 6.8 seconds, and you can go flying on to a top speed of 162 mph with ease.

Ariel Atom 4: Looks and features

Each Ariel Atom is built by one technician, and it shows. The car’s got a simple design of bronze-welded steel tubes with aluminum bulkheads. The color of the air intake and front strip are about the only exterior customization available.

The interior is unlike any other car on the market, except maybe some Caterhams. If you’ve ever ridden a touring motorcycle, it’s more like one of those. You don a helmet, sit in the bucket seat, and tear off, exposed to the elements all the way.

There’s a GPS receiver that can hook up to the digital instruments, but this is for lap times, not navigation. However, you can get a TomTom wired into the car’s power supply if you need navigation. A reversing camera is also available. The wind deflector/shallow windscreen is optional but should be taken at all costs.

“Keep your hands on the wheel, and this car will turn on a dime, every single time.”

Oh, and you can’t really carry anything in the Atom. Maybe a rucksack, but that’s it.

How the Ariel Atom handles

In short, like an absolute dream.

“Keep your hands on the wheel, and this car will turn on a dime, every single time.”

Older Atoms had a tendency for the steering to slip away from you at times, but this has been dramatically improved on the Ariel Atom 4. This version can take any corner, at any speed, and handle it.

In terms of ride comfort, it’s about what you’d expect. You’re minutely aware of every little bump and divot on the road, but that’s the price you pay for driving, essentially, a superbike/supercar hybrid. There’s no heater, so dress warmly in cold weather. You may also want to consider wearing earplugs because this car is raucous.

Why the Atom matters

The Ariel Atom 4 matters because it’s a display of pure driving vivaciousness. It’s not trying to be a simple of dripping wealth like so many other supercars.

“There are no expensive, unnecessary, or garish extras.”

Instead, it’s a symbol of something much more critical: supercars’ racing heritage. It’s a racer that doesn’t worry about anything but going fast and handling well. And it can be yours for just $53,000.

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