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Ariel Atom Mugen (2011) revealed

Fri, 17 Dec 2010

Ariel is celebrating the Atom’s 10th birthday with this, the Atom Mugen. All Atoms are ideal trackday playmates, but even Ariel itself says this Mugen edition is more circuit focussed.

The engine, for a start. A standard Atom uses a tweaked Type R engine good for 245bhp, but UK-based Mugen Euro (the European arm of the famed Japanese tuner) has carried out its own modifications so the Mugen Atom's 2.0-litre four-pot produces 270bhp. It remains naturally aspirated, but achieves an astonishing 135bhp/litre, a figure much higher than managed by Mugen's own Civic Type R.

Mugen Euro's general manager, Colin Whittamore, told CAR that the Ariel Atom Mugen has been tuned for a hard life on track, but that the company had also taken into account that the Atom wouldn’t have a full support crew in the pits, meaning owners needn't worry about usuability or reliability from this high-output naturally aspirated engine.

Neither Ariel nor Mugen have released any more details, but the 245bhp engine whisks the Atom to 62mph in 3.4 seconds, so in the more powerful Mugen those flies are going to be splatting into your face that bit sooner.

Only 10 Atom Mugens will be built, and as you can see in the CAD drawing, they’ll come with a special livery. All the cars will be numbered and will have a plaque signed by the Mugen and Ariel technicians who built the car.

The first-generation Atom, introduced in 2000, used the Rover K-series engine. In 2003, Ariel changed to the K20A-spec Honda Type R unit, and four years later switched to the latest generation K20Z Type R engine, which it is still using today.

The Atom Mugen will be unveiled at the forthcoming Autosport Show, which runs 13-16 January 2011.

By Peter Adams