Ariel Atom 3.5R pictures, specs and video review

Ariel has announced the even more hardcore Atom model, called the 3.5R. We drive it on a soaking wet Bedford Autodrome

Ariel has announced the latest car to join its hardcore driver-focused line-up, the Atom 3.5R. Like the standard Atom 3.5, the R is powered by a supercharged version of the Honda Civic Type-R 2.0-litre four-pot engine. A slightly hotter state of tune means the Atom now produces 350bhp at 8400rpm and 243lb ft of torque at 6100rpm.

Watch as evo's Richard Meaden takes the new Atom for a drive at the Bedford Autodrome on one of the wettest days this year... 

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Coupled with the fact the new car weighs in at just 550kg, the 3.5R boasts a power-to-weight ratio of 636bhp per ton, enabling it to race from 0-60mph in 2.6sec and complete the 0-100mph sprint in just 6.0secs.

Helping to make sure this brutal straight line performance is easily accessible is a race-style Sadev sequential ‘box, which can bang through each of its six cogs in under 40milliseconds. It can even slip back down the gears with changes of under 50milliseconds, meeting the requirements of the beefy 290mm four-piston ventilated disc-brakes found inside all four wheels of the Atom.

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A charge cooler and Ariel developed remote oil cooler sit either side of the car, preventing inlet and engine temperatures from exceeding safe levels even under the hardest of track use.

Ensuring this extra performance is met by improved handling is an uprated version of Ariel’s pushrod suspension system, utilising bespoke Ohlins TTX36 dampers that can be optimised with springs for road, track or race use.

Simon Saunders, the company Director said: ‘Our aim is to ensure that each customer has exactly the right car for their particular needs, with our approach meaning that every car is completely individual.’

And with the bodywork, wheels, tyres and numerous other road, track and racing components featuring options to tailor the car to each driver’s preferences, the 3.5R certainly looks set to offer one of Ariel’s most driver-focused set-ups yet.

That’s saying something, because when we drove the Atom 3.5 and the Atom V8 – which the 3.5R shares much of their underpinnings with – they weren’t exactly lacking.

The 3.5R will go on sale with prices starting at £64,800. Apparently, this is the first of several new products to be released by the low-volume British carmaker in this year.

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