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The Top Gear car review:Ariel Atom
For:One of the purest, most vivid driving experiences on the road
Against:If it rains, you look like a berk. Quite possibly a drowned berk
What is it?
One of the purest – and coldest – driving experiences on the road. The Atom is a racing space-frame with wheels and an engine, and not much else, which means it’s stupidly light, shockingly fast and skin-searingly exposed. The use of a Honda engine means the Atom is reliable, and the build is engineer-spec. No mass production here. Favoured by track-day folks who like to drive to and from, the Atom is surprisingly usable and comfortable on the road, but you have to tog up like a biker or your ears will fall off.
The latest versions are the revised Atom 3.5 models, using a Honda VTEC in various stats of tune – including a 350hp version in the track-focused 3.5R. It’s the fastest real-world Ariel ever built. Maybe one of the fastest road cars ever built: certainly you’d swear it is from behind the wheel…