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Ariel Atom 500 will come to U.S., packs 500-hp V8

Thu, 28 May 2009

This is the car in which strapping yourself in tight is mandatory.

British boutique automaker Ariel Motor Co. is on the verge of rolling out the Atom 500, the latest version of its ultralight, two-seat street and track car, this one fitted with a 500-hp narrow-angle V8.

Company owner Simon Saunders says Ariel plans to build 25 copies of the Atom 500, and he has sold orders in hand for 12 of them. And Saunders says that Ariel plans to offer the Atom 500 in the United States, where the company's cars are built and sold by TMI Auto Tech Inc.

This 3.0-liter V8 for the Ariel Atom is rated at 500 hp.

According to Ariel, the 3.0-liter V8 has an angle of 75 degrees between cylinder banks, four valves per cylinder and weighs just less than 200 pounds. That means the Atom 500 checks in with a curb weight of a mere 1,000 pounds, or about 2 pounds per horsepower. That power gets to the ground via a Sadev sequential-shift six-speed transmission, and Ariel says it is looking at a paddle-shift arrangement for the future.

Ariel says the Atom 500 will rip from 0 to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds and 0 to 100 mph in just less than 6 seconds.

A price for the Atom 500 has yet to be set. In the United States, the Atom 3 carries a base price of $65,000.

By Dale Jewett