Ariel’s stunning new £30k Nomad, the lightweight, Atom-based on and off-roader launched at this week’s Autosport International show at Birmingham’s NEC, will offer an entirely new type of all-terrain high-performance driving when it hits the market this summer, its creators say.
The car is powered by a 2.4-litre, long-stroke four-cylinder Honda engine (used in high-end versions of the Accord) that has been configured with Ariel electronics to help it produce 235bhp at 7200rpm. Its torque output of 221lb ft is especially impressive as it matches that of the supercharged 2.0-litre Atom, which is one of the fastest cars on the road.
Latest specifications, just issued, list the Nomad’s weight at a modest 670kg, despite the bigger wheels and tyres, extra rollover protection, bulkier long-travel suspension and chassis modifications needed for it to cope with off-road use.
The result is a car with an on-road 0-60mph sprint time of just 3.4sec and a 125mph top speed, which should make it capable of beating fully fledged rally cars both on the special off-road courses where they are developed and in actual motorsport events.
Ariel boss Simon Saunders thinks most Nomads will be bought for recreational driving both on and off road, but the car has the credentials to achieves success in rally competition. Saunders believes a well set up Nomad could eventually compete “with honour” in the Dakar Rally, not necessarily winning but at least reaching the finish in good shape.
Ariel has toyed with the idea of a Nomad-style vehicle since the early days of the Atom, but the job of continuing the development of the Atom, coupled with the launch of the highly successful Ace motorcycle, kept intruding.