We all know the Ariel Atom as the very essence of what is effectively a ‘Road-Legal Go Kart’. With a lightweight exoskeleton chassis, two seats, four wheels, and a peppy motor mounted midship, the Atom has established itself as a potent track weapon for the avid track junkie with a fair amount of disposable income.
Since the first Atom debuted in the early 2000’s, their weapon of choice would usually be Honda’s high-revving K20 from older generations of the Civic. And now for the Atom’s fourth generation, it looks like Ariel is sticking to the same formula albeit beefed up with all the good bits from Honda – with the brand new K20C1 from the new Civic Type R.
Honda jargon aside, the K20C1 is better known as the turbocharged 2.0L inline-four motor found in the fifth generation Civic Type R. Capable of pushing 320 PS and 420 Nm of torque, this motor will bring the new Atom from 0 - 97 km/h in merely 2.8 seconds – 2.1 seconds faster than the car the motor came from. Engine management is handled by Ariel’s own programmable ECU that can be fitted with features like traction control and launch control at extra cost.
Power from the midship mounted powerplant is then sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox and a limited-slip differential. On the footwork side of things, Bilstein dampers come standard with Öhlins suspension offered as an optional upgrade. A staggered set of 16 inch wheels up front and 17 inchers at the back can also be specced in carbon fiber for an extra 50% less weight versus the standard alloy versions.
The new Ariel Atom’s body comes in full carbon and has been further tweaked to improve aerodynamics as well as airflow towards the air intake, radiator, and intercooler for the turbocharged motor. You’ll also notice that the iconic rollover hoop has been hidden underneath the rear cowl to make the new atom more streamlined.
Prices in the UK for the 4th gen Ariel Atom have started at $53,000 with only about 100 units planned to be built each year.