Ariel Atom 3S

The Atom 3 gets a turbocharger and 359bhp in its new US-focused 3S guise

Ariel has released details of its new Atom 3S, an even more hardcore version of the Atom 3 targeting the US market. Developed by Ariel's US manufacturing partner and distributer TMI Autotech, the more potent model sits directly behind the Atom V8 as the second most powerful Atom ever produced.

As usual with Ariel, the numbers are big: 359bhp and 310lb ft of torque powering 612kg of mass to enable a 0-60mph time of 2.8sec, 0-100mph in 6.7sec and a 10.7sec quarter mile sprint. Performance of the Honda Civic derived 2.4-litre four-pot has been enhanced thanks to the use of a turbocharger, whilst three gearbox options – standard, close or Sadev six-speed sequential – allow for super quick changes.

The latter comes with steering wheel mounted paddles ideal for track driving, which combined with the standard fit four-piston brake calipers on all four corners, JRi adjustable dampers and a cockpit adjustable traction control system, should ensure the Atom 3S is a seriously sharp track weapon.

Since all Atoms work with function rather than form, the dash houses little more than an LCD display - which shows live rpm, gear position, water temperature and fuel levels - though passengers will benefit from the inclusion of a full glass windscreen, something not often fitted to Atoms outside of the US market. It can be deleted from the owner's options list if they decide they like the taste of bugs however.

The 3S also receives sidepod bodywork, brake bias adjustability, a quick release steering wheel and xenon headlights as standard. The Atom usuals, including race-style bucket seats, exposed chassis framework, 15-inch front and 16-inch rear wheels and sticky tyres of 205 and 245 width all remain on the 3S.

The rapid Ariel Atom 3S is on sale in North America for £56,236 ($89,750), some £15,818 more than the standard 3 in the same market. With only the organ-shoving Atom V8 having offered more power, the 3S is no doubt one of the British carmaker's most serious pieces of kit ever.

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