Driven: Ariel Atom 3.5 supercharged – PistonHeads

26 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Driven: Ariel Atom 3.5 supercharged – PistonHeads


We’ll set the record straight at the 3.5 doesn’t refer to another over-engined Atom akin to the scary V8 – but rather a of updates that sees the 3 evolve into a fitter and useable sports car . No, seriously…

LCD is new and will log data

That the looks are tweaked, there’s a new LCD that will log your on track and show what you’re in, some geometry that alter the steering – it more forgiving on-road, losing any of that track – and more bracing around the new and rear suspension mounts, the ‘point-five’ is 15 per cent stiffer than the 3.

Don’t be soft

As I cruise the A303 from Ariel’s base to meet snapper Tom Stonehenge I’m watching the Atom’s front wheel track the through the chassis’ exposed work – the car’s reaction to the I’m seeing doesn’t compute.

The spikes up and down but the compliance in the filters out any harshness. Granted, eyes can still give a and grids can initiate a minute from the rear (most to do with setup), but the plush from each corner of the car on roads at normal speeds is to the point of being incongruous the Atom’s … focus.

Don’t think this has the car soft though – it’s bristling with all the pent up of a caged ferret.

The 3.5 uses the supercharged 2.0-litre Honda motor as before, but the new car gets a boost to 310hp, courtesy of to the mapping, plumping up the mid-range. It need it, but it’s got it. The engine’s and the 229lb ft of forced induction means instant acceleration in any that’d embarrass a 911 owner.

here the gear display into its own too, as in third, and fifth the motor produces a similar horizon-smashing bout of

Throttle response is immediate, being fly-by-wire; what you ask for is what you get. The engine has a appetite for revs and it’s to run into the staccato pap-pap of the limiter. The six-speed manual ‘box just adds to the of relentless pace, too – each change snicked punctuates the and involves more than a shift transmission ever

If you’re after the stats comes up in 2.7 seconds, 100mph in a troubling 6.8 and top speed stands at Believe those numbers – it atomises the road.

The steering haven’t stripped the 520kg of any of its agility. The 3.5 gets more toe out to turn-in, and combined with 1.7 from lock-to-lock it means the is fast, accurate and stable.

There’s understeer on turn-in and you can the comparatively light front end the tyres across the Tarmac. the brake on corner entry to weight over the front and you can the nose, then pick the up and reverse the balance – making the natural weight distribution key the rubber into the road – and be fired out the other side.


It technical but it’s intuitive; you do it. The 290mm four-pot Alcon all-round give a reassuringly feel and inspire confidence to late and deep despite ABS.

Slides are manageable, but rare

If it slip into a slide manageable, but even on slick, roads and lightly treaded there’s plenty of grip. Get hot on a dry track and not much this of a slick-shod and wing-wearing racer come past you all day.

and/or track

I played with the suspension damping all day but to Ariel General Manager Tom settings. For the road they’re on and tread the perfect line tautness, control and compliance.

You exactly call it practical but the 3.5 is a better road car for the changes, losing any of its single-minded focus to go and harder than whatever placed against.

Obedient on the cruise and with a that’s happy to pootle at low revs the Atom 3.5 is as docile as you making a great car even – that’s because it hasn’t its rabid character at the other end of the Stoke it and it turns into the unhinged piece of weaponry always been.

Power 310 @ 8,400rpm

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