The basic Atom in the UK comes with the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter K20Z engine, and Ariel fits the mill with an exhaust and custom ECU tuning to make 245 horsepower. An optional supercharger can push the output to 310 hp or up to 350 hp. The top versions can reach 60 miles per hour in less than 2.7 seconds and a top speed over 155 mph.
Ariel's other products have different Honda powerplants. The company's new Nomad uses a 2.4-liter K24 with 235 hp, and an optional supercharger can give the off-roader 290 hp. For those that prefer two wheels, the Ace motorcycle packs a 1,237cc V4 with 173 hp.
In the US, the Atom wasn't always available with Honda power. Brammo, which previously imported the sports cars here, fitted them with a 2.0-liter EcoTec four-cylinder engine from General Motors. Ariel toyed with other powerplants, too, like its 500-horsepower V8 in the Atom 500.
Honda (UK) and Ariel renew exclusive engine supply deal as 1,500th Honda-powered Ariel roars out of the (very small) factory
Honda (UK) and Ariel Motor Company renew exclusive engine supply deal for Atom and Nomad
1,500th Honda-powered Ariel in 16 years roars out of the factory
Supercharged Civic Type R engine delivers a scorching 350bhp and top speed of more than 155mph in the famed Ariel Atom
Honda (UK) and Ariel Motor Company have renewed their 16-year strong exclusive engine supply agreement which sees the famed Atom powered by the Civic Type R engine, and the new off-road Nomad by the Civic 2.4 unit.
The news comes as the two brands celebrate the 1500th Honda-powered Ariel roaring out of the small factory in Somerset, where just eight highly skilled build technicians spend 100-200 hours painstakingly hand-crafting one vehicle each at a time, from start to finish. Over the last 16 years 1,500 new Ariels have been built here – just a few day's work for Honda's Civic-producing Swindon plant.
Walking into Ariel's small British workshop is like walking into a luxury tailor to be measured for a bespoke suit. No two Ariels are the same: each is made to order and there are thousands of possible configurations. Ariels are extremely affordable, very fast and will run and run at a track day with almost zero maintenance. At the heart of every Ariel lies the engine, however.
Since 2003 Ariel has been using as standard the Civic Type R engine to power these pocket rockets, firstly with the flagship Atom and now, with the Civic 2.4 unit, the new off-road Nomad. Atom base models use a completely untouched unit off the shelf to offer 245bhp with Ariel-tuned ECU and exhaust or, it can be supercharged to either 310bhp or 350bhp offering a 0-60mph of less than 2.7 seconds and a top speed of more than 155mph.
Ariel's founder Simon Saunders comments: "Our customers are hugely passionate about driving so the engine is everything. When we tell new customers that it's a Honda they simply nod and move on to the next question. They just know that it works. Switching to Honda engines is one of the best decisions that we've ever made. It's a brand that can't be matched for performance and bulletproof reliability and we're delighted that this success is set to continue well into the future."
Philip Crossman, managing director of Honda (UK), says: "The Ariel brand is an incredible British success story with a fascinating history and pedigree in producing bespoke machines which driving fans love. The two brands are a perfect match – not least with our common engineering expertise and reputation for unrivalled performance, reliability and durability. With the engine such a key factor it's a huge endorsement for Honda that Ariel chooses ours over others, and we look forward to continuing this successful partnership for many years to come."
As well as custom-building the Atom and new off-road Nomad, Ariel recently introduced the Ace motorcycle which, true to form, is also exclusively powered by Honda. Under the cowling of each Ace sits a V4 1237cc Honda unit, delivering 173bhp with a top speed of 165mph.
For further information on the Ariel Atom, Nomad and Ace please visit www.arielmotor.co.uk.