28 May 2009 - 09:00
Atom 500: the world’s fastest?
When we first saw the Ariel Atom 500 last year, it's fair to say we were excited. Well, wouldn't you be? A skeletal track special with a 370kW V8 wedged in the back and a power-to-weight ratio twice that of a Bugatti Veyron?
Then it all went very quiet. We were sad. Had the financial downturn claimed another victim?
No. Ariel has just given us a whole bunch of new details on the Atom 500, and confirmed that it will build 25 of the insane lightweights this year.
Here's the number you really need to know: less than 2.5 seconds. That's how long it'll take the Atom 500 to hit 100km/h, and it'll rack up 160km/h in less than six seconds for good measure. Ariel reckons it could be the fastest production car ever made.
All that speed comes from a 3.0-litre, naturally aspirated V8 developing 370kW. It's a neat little unit, weighing in at less than 90kg and channelling its power to the rear wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox. For the moment, you'll have to change gears with a manual shifter, but Ariel says it is investigating the possibility of paddle shifters.
Like the Caterham R500, the Atom 500 features adjustable traction and launch control... but we'd imagine it'll still be a Stig-spec task to get all that power down on the start line. Revised brakes and a stiffer suspension set-up should come in handy when you arrive at that first corner far, far quicker than you expected.
As for the price... well, Ariel says it hasn't been confirmed yet, but asserts that ‘standard specification will be very high'. We're not completely sure what options boxes you can actually tick on a Atom order form (steering wheel? Passenger seat?) but that doesn't seem to have put off potential customers: almost half of the 25 planned 500s have already been sold.
It's going fast, in other words. Would you expect anything else?
Now watch Clarkson get his face reshaped by the Atom smasher:
Want to comment on this?
There already is a Veyron killer and its calles the SSC ultimate aero and its top speed is 435km/h thanks to a all twin turbo v8 titanium block
V8supercar: Your so called Veyron killer (SSC ultimate Aero) isnt half the car the Bugatti Veyron is! It might have a little bit higher top speed than the Veyron but the Veyron will smash it all the way to 408 K/mh an hour in terms of how long it takes to get there from stand still and that said i mean from 0-100, 100-200, 200-300, 300-400K/mh and any combination you care to imagine. As for handling, style and prestige the Veyron is King and a PIONEERING feet stretching the laws of physics and the way we look at Supercars today and indeed in the future. Take your glorified Corvette and stick it!
I LOVE THE FUTURE like ****hall yeh just am...
This is so cool and look at clarksons face when he is driving it
NO car is half the car the Bugatti Veyron is, because it's HUGE... FAT that is... It's an extremely obese super-car! And it looks like an extremely obese super-car. Imagine a 300 lbs fat bloke running the 100 Metre in 8 seconds... that's the Veyron... The Ultimate Aero is Halle Berry running the 100 Metre in 9 seconds... and the Ariel Atom is the small Danny DeVito running the 100 Metre in 6 seconds... This debate is finished... Thank you.