Originally launched in the 1990s, the Ariel Atom is now an established motoring icon, turning heads both for its looks and the fact it is as exhilarating a car as you could wish to drive.

Two seats sit within the Atom's intricate steel latticework, and in this case the looks don’t deceive: there are no creature comforts to speak of, but performance is stunning and the handling sharp, whichever model you choose. While an optional windscreen makes it possible to drive without a helmet, that’s all the protection you’ll get from the outside world – and in the right conditions it’s better for it.

With success, Somerset-based Ariel has grown as a company, although total production is still only around 100 cars a year, a fact which maintains exclusivity and keeps residual values at an impressively high level.

Today, the range extends from a 245bhp base model of the car through to a 500bhp version, which comes with a supercar price to match. Without exception, each model offers a uniquely thrilling driving experience that is, at its best, unmatched for thrills and rawness this side of a superbike.

Top 5 Extreme track cars

  • The Ariel Atom is superbike-fast, and as exhilarating as cars get

    Ariel Atom

    1
  • Radical’s update of its road car delivers the power previously missing. A Nurburgring record-holder in waiting

    Radical RXC500

    2
  • The driving experience offered by the BAC Mono has an impossibly strong whiff of F1 about it

    BAC Mono

    3
  • Lotus V6 Cup
    The Lotus Exige V6 Cup delivers enough performance to thrill all keen drivers

    Lotus Exige V6 Cup

    4
  • Caterham Seven 620R
    The Caterham's supercharged engine can catapult it from 0-60mph in 2.8sec

    Caterham Seven 620R

    5

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