Car manufacturers, especially sports car manufacturers, are in a constant balancing act, trying to make cars that are as purpose-built as possible while still being livable. Ariel, with the latest version of the Atom, has found a better balance.
The car is driven by the Savage Geese YouTube channel’s host, Mark, who actually owned the previous generation Atom 3S. In his view, the Atom 4 is 90% better than the more extreme 3S. That’s surprising, because in a lot of ways, the latest Atom is less interesting to write about.
Although it uses a Civic Type R crate engine, it makes a reasonable 320 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Since this is strictly an enthusiast car, it uses a six-speed manual transmission, and thanks to how little car there is here, it can hit 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds.
That all sounds good, but the previous generation model made 365 hp. Moreover, besides the improved aerodynamics, the new car’s modifications have largely made with a view to user comfort.
So can a hardcore car be made better by going softer? Turns out that yes, it can. Especially if you aren’t a professional. Although the new car feels like it might be slightly less track-focused than the Atom 3S, it’s still an Ariel Atom, so no one will confuse it with the Civic from which the engine came.
Indeed, you need only look at Mark’s face as he launches the car to understand how serious this car is. And by being made a little bit softer, it handles real roads better and gives the driver more confidence.
As a result, even though a professional driver might not be able to lap a track quite as quickly as they could have in the Atom 3S, it’s not like the Atom 4 could ever be accused of being slow.