Ariel has released the first picture of the new engine that will power the firm’s V8 Atom sports car.
The 3.0-litre V8 will produce 500bhp, and will be lighter than the Honda engine currently being used to power both the naturally aspirated and supercharged versions of the Ariel Atom 3. According to Ariel the whole unit weighs less than 90kgs, and adopts a new cam arrangement to help lower the engine size and weight.
The V8 Atom 500 will have a power to weight ratio in the region of 1000bhp, twice that of a Bugatti Veyron and similar to Caparo’s T1. Power will be mated through a conventional Sadev 6-speed sequential gearbox, although Ariel is exploring the possibility of a paddle shift option.
Numbers will be limited to just 25 examples as the Atom 500 will be built at the firm’s existing factory in Somerset. The engines are also likely to be built on-site in a workshop away from the current hand-assembled production line that produces around 100 cars per year. However, the build process is unlikely to start until midway through 2010, as the company is already working at full stretch, and will take between 4-6 weeks to complete each car with around one V8 leaving the factory per month.
Ariel claims the Atom 500 will reach 60mph in under 2.5sec and break 100mph in under 6 seconds. The new V8 powered car will also get substantial modifications to the car’s aero and brake package, as well as new suspension, and will come with a high level of specification that includes options from its 'standard' cars, including the lightweight magnesium alloy wheels.
Ariel has yet to announce a price for the Atom 500, but while speaking to PistonHeads last week Ariel boss Simon Saunders confirmed that the V8 would cost in excess of £100k but ‘no more than £135k’.
Saunders also underlined the need for the Atom 500 customers to be properly trained before taking delivery of their new cars, and believes the company will offer some form of handling day for V8 owners before handing over the keys to what he expects to be ‘the pinnacle of the petrol engine’s performance in a road car’.