Feisty 350bhp Ariel Atom unveiled


​Jeremy Clarkson once famously bellowed, "I've never ever driven anything that accelerates so fast!" when he first climbed behind the wheel of an Ariel Atom, before promptly having his face spectacularly misshapen by the open-top driving experience.

The Top Gear presenter may want to book in some time with his plastic surgeon as Ariel Motors has revealed its new weapon: a 350bhp Atom that now comes with a flappy-paddle gearbox for neck-snapping cog swaps.

The Atom 3.5R uses the same Honda 2.0-litre iVTEC engine found in regular models but it features a new charge cooler system that has allowed Ariel to increase supercharger boost from 7.5psi to 11psi.

A scary 350bhp and 330Nm torque is the result, all packaged in the familiar tubular bodywork that means the Atom weighs about as much as a supercharged pea.

Drive is now fed to the rear wheels via a new Sadev 6 speed sequential race gearbox with adjustable limited slip differential and different gearsets available to suit individual customer choice.

Ariel claims that the new 'box upshifts in less than 40 milliseconds and downshifts in less than 50 milliseconds with the capability of five downshifts in less than a second.

Ariel Atom 3.5R

Ariel Atom 3.5R

Customers can also enjoy 'flat-shifting' during acceleration, where the need to let off the throttle is eliminated and a true jet fighter 0-60mph sprint of 2.5 seconds is experienced.

Simon Saunders, Director of Ariel, said: "Our aim is to ensure that each customer has exactly the right car for their particular needs.

"Our approach means that every car is completely individual, as are our customers, and no two cars are identical."

​Prices for the 3.5R start at £54,000 (plus VAT) but will rocket to the £80,000 mark once options lists are plundered.