What are the engine options for the Ariel Atom?

5th August 2023

The Ariel Atom has offered a number of both engine options and power outputs throughout its consistently improving evolution, which can vary depending on the specific model and the preferences of the customer. The list below explains some of the more known engine variations:

1. Rover K-series: The Rover K-series engine is only found in the original Atom, now known as the 'Atom 1'. Power was offered in three increments; 120, 160, and 190 bhp, and helped launch the Atom into the track and fast road car it is today.


2. Honda K-Series: The Honda K-Series engines are popular choices for various Ariel Atom models and were standard fit in the improved 2003 'Atom 2', signalling the end of the Rover engine cars. The Honda engines are known for their reliability, lightweight construction, and high power output relative to their size, offering a huge advantage over the earlier examples. Different variants of the K-Series engine, such as the K20 and K24, were used in various Atom 2, 3 and 3.5 models with power outputs reaching over 200 bhp alongside greatly improved reliability.


3. Supercharged Engines: Ariel offered a supercharged version of the Honda K-Series engines in the Atom 2, 3 and 3.5 models. This supercharger setup significantly increased the power output to around 300 bhp - 350 bhp in the ferocious Atom 3.5R - providing a thrilling driving experience and taking performance to supercar territory.


4. Turbocharged Engines: With the launch of the Atom 4 came the latest Honda engine; this time a turbocharged unit from the latest Civic Type R - a first for Ariel. With 320 bhp out of the box and options to increase power to 350 bhp, the Atom 4 promises to be impressively ferocious.


5. Limited Edition Engines: Ariel have released limited run models based on the Atom 3. The Atom Mugen was limited to just 10 examples, and utilised a Mugen-built normally aspirated Honda K-series engine. Revving to 8,600 rpm and producing 270 bhp, the Mugen was a hit and all 10 sold out immediately. However, those looking for the 'Ultimate' Atom experience got their wish in 2010 with the introduction of the Atom V8. Just 25 examples were built and came with a custom-designed and compact 3 litre V8 revving to 10,000rpm. Offering the choice of either 475 or 500 bhp, the Atom V8 has a power to weight ratio of over 900bhp per tonne.  An pneumatically controlled Sadev sequential gearbox changed gears in less than the time it takes to blink and became the world’s fastest accelerating car at the time. 


It is essential to check with Ariel Motor Company for the most up-to-date information on available engine options and specifications for the Ariel Atom, as newer models or updates may have introduced additional choices.