Half-tonne marvel tops the pile at our benchmark performance test
1 August 2007

In what’s become an unmissable event in the motoring calendar, Autocar has once again lined up the hottest new cars of the year, with one question to answer – what’s fastest? And, as it’s proved on two previous occasions, the champion of the day was a lightweight, supercharged engineering marvel built in Great Britain – the Ariel Atom 300.Our annual benchmark performance test took place last week at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome in Leicestershire. We lined up no fewer than 29 examples of the hottest new metal we could find, including the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, Brooke Double R, Porsche 911 GT3, Roush Ford GT 600RE and the Mercedes CL63 AMG. However, it was the 300bhp featherweight from Somerset that again romped home with the honours.On a day when bad weather threw a spanner in the works, the supercharged Atom recorded a 0-100-0 time of just 11.35sec; that’s within half a second of its best performance ever (10.88sec) recorded two years ago, and just 1.45sec slower than the fastest 0-100-0 time we’ve ever recorded on a production car (9.9sec, set by the Bugatti Veyron in 2006).Lower down the rankings there were some equally spectacular performances. Lamborghini’s new Gallardo Superleggera put in a 0-100-0 time of just 12.9sec (a full three-quarters of a second faster than the standard Gallardo set in 2006). Meanwhile Lotus’s new 252bhp 2-Eleven proved itself quicker in a straight line, and under braking, than a Caterham R400, an Audi R8 and a 517bhp Mercedes CL63 AMG.0-100-0 wouldn’t be complete without a few runners from left-field, and this year we also produced 0-100-0 figures on a Rage Race Buggy, an MG SV-R drag racer and a Suzuki GSX-R1000 superbike.Check out our gallery for pictures taken at the event, our special 0-100-0 wallpapers, and don’t miss our exclusive 0-100-0 videos: 0-100-0: on board and 0-100-0: how to put in the perfect run.

Meanwhile, for all the full and essential breakdown of this year’s fastest performance test, get Autocar magazine, out today, 1 August.

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