2014 Ariel Atom 3.5R

The Ariel Atom might lack in aesthetic appeal for the culturally inclined, but where lacks in sophisticated beauty, it more than makes up for with a driving experience unlike any other. Now, imagine if you have an Atom that’s more powerful than anything in its lineup outside of the Atom 500 .

This here is the Atom 3.5R (a faster and more powerful version of the Atom 3.5 ), and yes, that "R" attached to its name means an Atom that comes with a host of upgrades, visual and aerodynamic improvements, improved transmission and suspension setups, and of course a supercharger.

One of the most impressive qualities of the Atom is its weight, or lack thereof. Weighing just 1,220 pounds, the Atom’s skeletal structure lends itself to the kind of unnerving performance that makes test driving the car tantamount to a near-death experience. It’s no wonder why those who have driven the Atom attest to its capabilities in contorting their faces into a unique combination of shapes.

Click past the jump to read more about the Ariel Atom 3.5R.

Exterior

Ariel Atom 3.5R

Compared to the Ariel Atom 3.5, the 3.5R carries a significant amount of styling changes, highlighted by the presence of a rear wing and optional side pods just in front of the rear wheels.

Compared to the Ariel Atom 3.5, the 3.5R carries a significant amount of styling changes, highlighted by the presence of a rear wing and optional side pods just in front of the rear wheels. These two pods, incidentally, serve distinct purposes with one housing a new intercooler that helps cool the compressed air — 11 psi worth — and the other featuring a remote oil cooler.

Other than the added bodywork, the Atom 3.5R still features the redesigned hood, the twin projector headlamps, and the LED turn and taillights, all of which we first saw on the Atom 3.5.

Interior

On the interior, Ariel didn’t announce any changes, so its reasonable to expect to see the same LCD dashboard display that has gear-shift lights as the 3.5 features, as well as the same data logger that shows critical information about the car, including lap times and the amount of G-force you’re subjected to when you decide to tempt fate by taking the Atom 3.5R for a spin on the track.

Drivetrain and Suspension

Ariel Atom 3.5R

For one, its 2.0-litre iVTEC engine has been supercharged to develop 350 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque

as far as its mechanical upgrades go, well, the 3.5R is the closest thing to an apocalyptic ride as you can find. For one, its 2.0-litre iVTEC engine has been supercharged to develop 350 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque. Combine that with a new Sadev six-speed sequential racing transmission that upshifts in just 40 milliseconds and downshifts a hair slower at 50 milliseconds.

Ohlins TTX36 dampers are also part of the standard package for the Atom 3.5R, which should serve the rocket on wheels well on the track.

Take all that into the equation and you have a car that can hit 60 mph in a blistering 2.6 seconds to go with an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. It’s no secret that the Atom 3.5R can easily eclipse 155 mph, but in the interest of driver’s safety, Ariel opted to just keep it at 155 mph.

Pricing

Ariel Atom 3.5R

The Ariel Atom 3.5R is as good as its going to get for speed seekers in the UK. But as is always the case, there’s a price to be paid for such thrills, and in this case, that price is close to £80,000, which is about $135,000 based on current exchange rates.

Competition

BAC Mono

BAC Mono Track Car

BAC Mono is a single-seat track car specially developed to take on models like the Atom 3.5R and the KTM KTM X-Bow. The Mono is powered by a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers a total of 280 horsepower and sprints the car to an impressive top speed of 170 mph. It’s not as powerful as the Atom 3.5R, but it’s still more than capable to be a thrill ride all its own.

BAC Mono is also available on the U.S. market at a price of $130,000. Good luck with finding one, though, because last we heard, only 12 units made their way here.

KTM X-Bow

KTM X-Bow GT

One of the biggest thrill factors of the KTM X-Bow was that it was designed with power and speed in mind, even if it came at the expense of overall comfort.

Power for the X-Bow GT comes in the form of a lightweight 2.0-liter TSFI four-banger that produces 281 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 309 pound-feet of torque at 3,200 rpm, allowing it to hit 62 mph in just 4.1 seconds to go with a top speed of 143 mph.

Again, a little short of the 350-horsepower output of the Atom 3.5R, but enough to give drivers of the X-Bow its own thrill ride for the ages.

Conclusion

Ariel Atom 3.5R

It’s hard to come up with enough superlatives to describe the Ariel Atom. Everybody, it seems, has already given the pocket rocket their unwavering vote of approval and since we recognize a speeding bullet as much as anyone, we’re not going to veer away from the consensus. The Ariel Atom 3.5R is the closest thing to a rocket ship as most people will ever get. It’s ridiculously fast and if you’re lucky enough to have sat and driven one, chances are, you have a new appreciation for your own life after experiencing it.

LOVE IT
  • Sign us up for those 350 ponies
  • New rear wing should help stabilize the car and makes it look pretty sick
  • Blistering pace is unlike any other car
LEAVE IT
  • No models earmarked for the U.S.
  • It’s ridiculously expensive
  • Purely a toy for those with speed in their hearts and money in their pockets

What is your take?

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