At the 2011 Autosport International Show in Birmingham, UK, Ariel unveiled the latest iteration of its “no screen, no roof, no doors” Atom, the Mugen-flavored limited edition it first hinted at back in December. Only ten units will be built, each featuring a special livery with a red chassis, white bodywork and red graphics showing the number of the car, to mark 10 years of production and 1,000 Atoms manufactured.
The highlight of the bare-essentials sports car is a Mugen-tuned 2.0-liter Honda K20Z naturally aspirated engine, delivering an impressive 270HP at 8,600 rpm and 255 Nm (188 lb-ft) of torque at 6,000 rpm.
Each powerplant is stripped, measured and fully blueprinted at Mugen Europe’s Northhampton headquarters and then reassembled using different pistons, camshafts and valve springs. Other upgrades include a new manifold with bigger throttle body, race grade spark plugs and lightened flywheel. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a close ratio Honda 6-speed manual gearbox and limited slip differential.
Once the assembly is complete, Mugen tests the engine on a dynamometer. The entire process lasts seven days and, before being signed off, the high revving four-pot is bore scoped and inspected one last time.
The Atom is known for its superb handling and the Mugen should be no different. Boasting a 4-way adjustable damper/spring package, sourced from the 500HP Atom V8, the anniversary model also comes with high performance ventilated brakes and white Ariel magnesium alloys, shod in Yokohama AO48 track-spec tires.
As you’d expect, the Atom Mugen is a very fast piece of machinery, completing the dash to 60 mph (96 km/h) in just 2.9 seconds and reaching a top speed of 150 mph (241 km/h).
The open cockpit has been fitted with a new multi function LCD screen housed in a carbon fiber instrument panel. Besides showing gearshift lights and standard warning lights, it can also warn the driver if any other functions go outside their programmed values, which can be handy for pinpointing malfunctions and avoiding critical failures during track days. The driver and passenger racing buckets come with 3-inch FIA harnesses with crutch straps as standard.
“The advantages of being small are obvious in this latest Atom. It’s a hand built car, tailored to suit individual customers who we know and like as friends and who are passionate about their cars and driving. The ability for Mugen to hand build a performance engine, coupled with the legendary Honda reliability, takes this one stage further”, said Simon Saunders of Ariel.
Every Ariel Atom Mugen is built by two technicians, one from Mugen and one from Atom, with both signing off the engine and car only when they’re 100% sure everything is A-OK, reflected in a numbered build plate. No information on the pricing has been released.
By Csaba Daradics
Source: Atom via Atom Club