Litchfield Type-25 v Caterham CSR 260 v Lotus Exige S v Radical SR3 1300 v Ariel Atom v Porsche Carrera GT v Ford GT v Ferrari Enzo v McLaren F1 - Ariel Atom

The supercharged superlight Atom will be at the pointy end of things come the final reckoning

Next up is the Ariel Atom. Still as barmy-looking as ever, in supercharged form the Atom is a unique and uniquely rapid machine. We’ve long been fans of the concept, but only recently has the chassis become a match for the banzai powertrain. This, then, is a chance to fulfil its ample promise.

For the first lap or two, the intensity of the experience is almost overwhelming. The demented shriek from the engine, the gearing that feels like Ariel has fitted a ’box full of second gears, the neck-straining slipstream and the tremendous fast-twitch response from steering and throttle combine to explosive effect.

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

Where this Atom differs from previous examples I’ve tested is that it has a level of progression and precision earlier cars simply didn’t have.

Consequently, where you’d fight and ultimately fail to tame the spiky stabs of oversteer, you can now drive through them. Likewise the brakes, which, though still more willing to lock than a Caterham’s, can now be modulated to better effect.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

From the driver’s seat you’d swear it was by far the quickest yet. In fact an identical time to the CSR is impressive, though the fact that it looks, sounds and feels so spectacular means we’re expecting more. However, a look at our lap time archive reveals it’s gone 1.8sec quicker than it did in the summer. It’s a great result for the innovative and committed Somerset concern.

Specifications

LayoutMid engine, rear-wheel drive
EngineIn-line 4-cyl, 1998cc, s/c
Max power300bhp @ 8200rpm
Max torque162lb ft @ 7200rpm
Weight550kg
Power/weight554bhp/ton
0-60mph3.3sec
Max speed155mph (claimed)
Price as tested£37,500
Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/toyota/yaris/201932/toyota-gr-yaris-revealed-in-full-return-of-the-homologation-special
Toyota Yaris

Toyota GR Yaris revealed in full – return of the homologation special

One of most sought after hot hatchbacks of 2020 has finally been revealed: the Toyota GR Yaris
10 Jan 2020
Visit/honda/civic-type-r/202099/new-2020-honda-civic-type-r-makes-debut-at-tokyo-auto-salon
Honda Civic Type-R

New 2020 Honda Civic Type R makes debut at Tokyo Auto Salon

Honda has released the first images of the revised Civic Type R that’s being shown for the first time in Tokyo
10 Jan 2020
Visit/subaru/202102/2020-subaru-levorg-sti-prototype-revealed-at-tokyo-auto-salon
Subaru Levorg

2020 Subaru Levorg STI prototype revealed at Tokyo Auto Salon

Proving there’s still life in Subaru’s STI performance sub-brand, the Levorg has benefited from some tweaks
13 Jan 2020
Visit/hyundai/i30-n-hatchback/201775/hyundai-i30-n-versus-hyundai-i30-tcr
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 N versus Hyundai i30 TCR

Can Dickie Meaden beat Steve Sutcliffe in a straight(ish) race? We sent them to the Circuit Nuvolari with a pair of Hyundai i30 Ns to find out.
20 Sep 2019