The Ariel Atom 3.5 comes standard with a Honda-supplied 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 310 horsepower (231 kilowatts), and the one in this video is equipped with a supercharger that boosts output to 310 horsepower (231 kilowatts). Watch the driver takes the car to 151 miles per hour on the legendary Autobahn.
When the Atom is accelerating, the supercharger’s sound dominates that of the vehicle. The driver is even wearing earplugs because it’s so loud. This one has a windshield, so he doesn’t need a helmet or goggles to keep the wind out of his eyes and bugs out of his teeth.
The transmission is smooth and quick, especially in the lower gears. The rate of increase in speed slows down only after sixth gear due to the lack of power. But the driver may continue to push the Ariel as long as the road is empty enough. By the time the digital speedometer flickers between 242 and 243 kph, going faster appears to be difficult.
The Atom is remarkable in that it has so little of any form of chassis or interior. In reality, there’s just a tube frame for supporting the engine, two seats, and a nose cone. Many don’t even have a windscreen. The design is straightforward enough that you can see the front wheel and suspension in action during this video.
One of the Atom’s drawbacks is its lack of power, which shows at high speeds. But because of its lightweight, it is incredibly nimble, especially with its mid-engine layout. The vehicle cuts corners with ease. Based on this video, the throttle response appears to be nearly instantaneous, which would be ideal for placing the car in just the right location in a turn.
The fourth-generation Atom is the latest (gallery above). The 2.0-liter turbocharged Honda K20C four-cylinder engine is now used to provide power. The standard version of the powerplant produces 320 horsepower (240 kW), but Ariel offers a 350 hp (261 kW) upgrade option.