If you’re looking for a car that can get to 60 MPH as fast as a McLaren P1 but without all that annoying “bodywork” and for about 1/25th the price, boy are you in luck, because Ariel just announced the Atom 4, which uses the engine from the Honda Civic Type R. That engine allows the gloriously skeletal car to go from immobile to 60 MPH in 2.8 seconds. This thing is pretty much just an alloy of adrenaline and fun, cast into the rough shape of a car.


I’ve always loved the Atom because it gives supercar-like performance at normal-human prices, and this latest version is no exception, starting at £39,975 or about $53,000 in our colonial dollars. For this kind of Huracan- embarrassing performance, that’s a bargain.

The 1996cc turbo inline-four Honda engine gets a slight power bump from its job moving Civic Type Rs thanks to a custom Ariel ECU, giving about 14 extra horses, for a total of 320 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque.

The Atom 4 is not just an update, and even though these things are so complex visually it’s hard to tell, it’s actually an all-new chassis design. The bodywork is all new, too, what little of it there is. I bet re-doing that took most of the afternoon.


Here’s the full list of what’s new, from Ariel’s press release:

• 320bhp Honda Type R turbo engine

• New larger diameter tube chassis

• Totally revised suspension and steering

• New bigger brake and cooling system

• New bodywork with significant aerodynamic improvements

• New seats, revised ergonomics, more interior space

• New instrumentation and electronics with traction and launch control

• Atom 4 is capable of 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds and 0-100mph in 6.8 seconds

• Production will commence in late 2018, for Spring 2019 deliveries

• Prices starting at £39,975 including VAT in the UK (£33,312 ex VAT)

The idea of “more interior space” on something that’s about as enclosed as a grocery cart is a little hard to wrap my head around, but I like that they’re thinking about it.


According to Ariel Director Simon Saunders, only three parts are carried over from the previous-generation Atom:

“The Atom 4 is the biggest change to the car since we originally released it in 1999. It really is an all-new car; in fact there are only three parts carried over from the last Atom – the clutch/brake pedals and the fuel cap.”


Incredibly, you actually can get an Atom here in America, though getting it registered to drive on the street can be, um, tricky. But not impossible. I’m just happy that pure, distilled driving-is-a-wonderful-thing cars like this still exist, and this latest Atom looks pretty amazing.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)

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