Currently reading: Ariel Atom 4R boosts Honda powerplant to 400bhp
Aggressive aerodynamic package accompanies power uplift for extreme, track-focused Atom

Ariel has revealed the latest iteration of the super-lightweight Atom, taking the covers off it at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in a surprise unveiling.

Named the 4R, it packs a 2.0-litre Honda-derived iVTEC four-pot – also used in the new 325bhp Civic Type R – tuned in-house to produce to 400bhp and 369lb ft, an increase of 25% over the standard engine.

This makes it the second most powerful Atom to date, behind only the monstrous 473bhp Atom V8and the fastest four-pot Atom yet.

The jump in power for the latest car is achieved mainly by a new cooling and intercooler system – the latter thanks to huge air-sucking side pods that distinguish the car from the previous-generation Atom.

It takes just 2.7sec to reach 60mph from a standstill and less than 6.5sec to hit 100mph. Its top speed is 170mph.

Ariel Atom 4R 2023 rear quarter static

The engine - which can be boosted further with three Turbo boost modes - is coupled to a new Quaife six-speed sequential paddle-shift gearbox that allows upshifts to be made at full throttle without the use of the clutch and can complete five downshifts in less than a second.

Ariel says the Atom 4R has “dramatic” in-gear acceleration times and performance on track. Optional front and rear wings can be fitted for increased aerodynamics to boost its track performance further.

Henry Siebert-Saunders, director of Ariel, said: “We continue to strive to evolve the Atom as the ultimate driver’s car, whether on road or track. 

“The 4R follows in the footsteps of the amazing Atom 3.5R and yet again moves the story on. This really is an astonishing car of which we’re justifiably proud.”

Ariel Atom 4R Ohlins dampers


Read our review

Car review

World’s fastest piece of mobile scaffolding gets a new chassis and turbocharged engine

Back to top

Suspension is via the standard Atom pushrod system but with Öhlins TTX36 dampers, designed and valved specifically for the Atom 4R with a choice of optimised Öhlins springs for road or track use.

Lightweight carbon brakes with a carbon-ceramic disc and machined aluminium bell with AP Racing four-pot calipers are also fitted. These give increased braking performance, high resistance to brake fade and reduced wear, the brand says. These discs are less than half the weight of the standard Atom's discs.

Carbon wheels, made specifically for the Atom, take the saving in unsprung mass a step further and together with the brakes save 26kg over the standard car. Switchable ABS – with 12 positions – is also introduced on the Atom 4R, a first for Ariel.

Prices for the Atom 4R start at £64,950 plus VAT.

Will Rimell

Will Rimell
Title: News editor

Will is a journalist with more than eight years experience in roles that range from news reporter to editor. He joined Autocar in 2022 as deputy news editor, moving from a local news background.

In his current role as news editor, Will’s focus is on setting Autocar's news agenda; he also manages Autocar Business and Haymarket's aftermarket publication CAT.

Writing is, of course, a big part of his role too. Stories come in many forms, from interviewing top executives, reporting from car launches, and unearthing exclusives.

Join the debate

Add a comment…
The Apprentice 14 July 2023
I would love to have a track blast in one of these but suspect I would need new underpants on standby.
Peter Cavellini 13 July 2023

I had a passenger three Lap experience a few years ago, a veritable time machine, it was over that quick.