• Oct 2, 2007
Ariel Motor Company is releasing the third iteration of its mind-blowing track-tool, the Atom 3. And even though it may be hard to discern the changes, with a vehicle this minimalist, they're bound to have an effect.

The "exterior" gets new diagonal side rails and almost every body panel has been changed, including the addition of a new wind deflector that makes motoring at speed a bit more comfortable for its occupants. That, coupled with the increase in width by about 60 mm provides an additional 100 mm of elbowroom for passengers, who now sit slightly lower in the tub while simultaneously reducing the center of gravity.

Honda's latest 2.0-liter iVTEC-equipped Type-R motor sits behind the seats, while Bilstein 10-way adjustable dampers do their best to soak up bumps and ensure grip is all manner of conditions.

[Source: Car Design News]


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  • 13 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      They are rightly worried about the KTM X-Bow making them look bad.

      Fight!!!
        • 7 Years Ago
        I don't think Ariel is worried at all about the X-bow, they will stick to their formula thats worked so well and just refine it while KTM tries to get the x-bow off the ground and publicty.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The good news for this: Jeremy Clarkson can re-review it and we can watch his face distort again.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Nice, but I'd love to have the V8 Atom http://www.dpcars.net/
      • 7 Years Ago
      I wonder why Jay Leno wanted the ecotech engine in it, since the Honda engine is so much better. Weird. Can't be cost, since the car starts around $50,000 anyway. In any case, the 2.0 DI GM engine would be pretty sweet in this car. But with 300hp, not 260!

      No word on if the weight has changed any?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Jay Leno wanted an American engine in it - and that was that. He was one of their first customers and helped them get their start here in the US. I still would like to bonk him on the head of why he had to choose a cheaply built economy car engine over a race designed CTR engine (with respect to Inline 4 engines...Honda rules the roost - they are so vested in performance inline 4's from cars, to motorcycles to motorsports - even the almight Toyota had to outsource the Elise / Celica GTS 1.8 to Yamaha to make a comparable engine). Ironic thing was that the Ecotec was designed in Europe to be a "world economy car engine".

        I've driven an Ion Redline - it's not a bad car but it's overall package is way behind it's competition (it has power but it's suspension is still uncommunicative and the gearbox is balky and the construction quality is well standard GM fare). But it's besides the point...as with most engines slapping on forced induction makes them much better. The engineering feat and expertise is where a MFGR can build a powerful and fun to drive n/a engine without using large displacement or forced induction. Take the standard mazda 2.0 protege engine used in Probes, Escorts, 626 and Protege / 5s over the past 15 years...in 2.0 form it's a 140hp low revving shaky slow engine...but slap on the appropriate sized and tuned s/c or turbo and the engine is forced to come alive. What's funny is the base corvette engines from the c5 and newer love to rev and they are push rod based...versus the DOHC Ecotec engine which will shake itself apart.
      • 7 Years Ago
      You cannot "reduce the center of gravity"
      you can however lower it, which is what you probably mean...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Having driven the supercharged Ecotec Atom, I can assure you that the car is quite smooth, with excellent response and power delivery. It feels waaaay different in the Atom than in an ION Redline. Don't knock it til you try it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      want.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think the reasoning behind the ecotech engine is that it has significantly more torque than the honda engine. Around 300lb/ft if I remember correctly, compared to about 250lb/ft in the 300hp honda engine. I'm sure the extra 50lb/ft makes quite the difference in a car this light. At the least, you'll be shifting less often.

      I would kill to drive this car on a track but the don't have any east-coast track days and i can't pony up the 75k to buy the one i want... Perhaps someday.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Let's not get lost in the typical discussion of what "torque" is. All engines make torque - it's where in the RPM band they make it. Most people refer to engines as torquey b/c it makes it on the low end versus people who think engines are HP - these make their peak torque at higher RPMs.

        What is really important to racers is the powerband - and the fact that is matched to their gearing (you always want to be in the torque powerband while racing - or you'll get swallowed up).

        Where the Ecotec has more low end grunt it is nice for standing starts, drag racing, very slow corners and it's intended design as a economy engine for city traffic. However on a race track where you are always at full boil you want that extra high rpm power. The Ecotec will grenade at higher rpms.

        Compare a Civic Si Sedan versus the Sentra Spec V - the Nissan comes equipped with a 2.5 liter engine with gobs more low end torque whereas the Si engine has a lot less .5 less liter displacement, is lighter due to the engine and has higher rpm torque. The Spec V is faster to 60mph due to the extra low end grunt...the Si though catches and passes it before the 1/4 mile. Then you track them and the Si's engine is better balanced for the track whereas the Sentra is better for the drag strip and city driving.

        Typically to generalize...low end grunt and torquey engines are great for drag racing, city driving and workhorses such as trucks. High rpm powerbands are best for full tilt racing - Honda's always taken the approach low rpm modest torque yet great gas mileage -however stamp the gas to get full boil power of a larger engine (dr. jeckyl / mr. hyde approach). The Atom is a racecar bred for road racing - not the core market the Ecotec was ever conceived for its design...the CTR engine was made for road racing applications - and adapted to a road car.
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