Ariel is close to finalising the specification of its high-performance Atom V8 as the car enters the final stages of its development.
Powering the Atom V8 is a 3.0-litre engine originally sourced from US firm Hartley. However, Ariel’s extensive modifications mean it will be branded as Ariel’s own design and power is likely to be in excess of 500bhp. The car should be capable of 0-60mph in less than 3.0sec and a top speed close to 200mph is expected.
Ariel could produce even more power out of the engine, but the firm is keen to preserve the usability of the standard car in the V8 version despite the larger engine, company boss Simon Saunders told Autocar.
“The Atom is user friendly and we want to preserve this in the V8, he said. “It’s got to be able to sit in traffic and anyone should be able to drive our cars, not just professional racing drivers.”
The firm previous looked at using a supercharged 2.4-litre V8 engine, but it wasn’t satisfied with the power delivery it offered. Forced induction was also considered for the 3.0-litre unit, but this too was ruled out as it would remove some of the Atom’s user-friendly characteristics.
The Atom V8 is expected to cost around £110,000, some £80,000 more than a standard Atom. This is due to the high costs of the engine and gearbox, which is six-speed sequential unit provided by Sadev. Saunders said the cost of the gearbox alone was between £10,000 and £12,000. Other features that have pushed up the price include a ceramic exhaust system and magnesium alloy wheels.
The firm is currently putting the finishing touches to the car, including mapping the launch and traction control systems, as well as the ECU.
Two versions of the car will be offered: road and race. Of the 25 Atom V8s Ariel will produce, the firm has already sold 20.