It really is an all-new vehicle.
It was 1999 when Ariel, a small-scale carmaker from Crewkerne in Somerset, England, revealed the Atom. The key numbers: 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds; 0 to 100 mph in 6.8 seconds; and a top speed of 162 mph.
At the heart of the Ariel Atom 4 is the Honda Civic's Type R engine, a turbocharged 2.0-liter unit with 320 horsepower and 310 pound-feet (420 Newton-meters) of torque. Siebert explained the move was forced to satisfy emissions standards. Oh, did we mention it now gets a Honda Civic Type R engine?
To best deploy the performance, Ariel has calibrated the Atom's ECU to accommodate both traction control and launch control (which are optional extras), and has also installed a (turbo) boost controller.
The tubes forming the all-new chassis are larger in diameter, and have been designed to create the lightest, yet strongest structure possible. As a result torsional rigidity is up 15 per cent compared to the 3.5.
A revised version of the 3.5's inboard, pushrod-operated damper system has been carried forward. Bilstein dampers constitute the standard, passive set-up. However, a semi-active Öhlins package is now under development.
The Ariel Atom 4 has been unveiled overnight, and will be certified for sale in Australia from 2019.
Ariel has given the Atom 4 a revised steering-rack for a wide range of road conditions, though a quicker, track-focused module is still available.
The standard brake set-up comprises 278mm ventilated discs up front and 253mm discs at the rear. An optional set provided by AP Racing sizes up at 290mm all round with 4 piston calipers.
Aerodynamic improvements are said to improve downforce and engine cooling while reducing "helmet lift" for the occupants. It's now enclosed under the air intake body panels, resulting in a cleaner look. There's also a fresh nose cone, a new engine cover and a tweaked aero screen spanning the width of the dashboard. The seats can be individually adjusted for the first time ever too.
The Atom 4 arrives 19 years after the debut of the original Atom, and though the basic principle remains much the same as the original 1999 auto - even down to the usage of Honda power - Ariel claims that the new Atom is fresh from the ground-up, and every panel is new compared to the Atom 3.5.