Ariel Atom 3.5 (2012) first official pictures | CAR Magazine

Ariel Atom 3.5 (2012) first official pictures

Published: 10 October 2012 Updated: 26 January 2015

It’s difficult for Ariel to come up with a mid-life refresh for its cars – there simply aren’t that many bits to fiddle with in the first place. Still, the boys from Somerset must have succeeded, because what we have here is the freshly updated Ariel Atom 3.5.

As the name suggests, it’s a development of the Ariel Atom 3, with a crop of minor visual  tweaks and some mechanical changes too, keeping Caterham and BAC looking over their shoulders.

What exactly is new on the 2012 Ariel Atom 3.5?

You’ll do well to spot the visual changes: they come in the form of new triple-lens front light clusters with LED indicators, and full LED rear lights.

Ariel claims more and more of its customers are using their cars as ‘regular transport’ (respect is due) and Ariel has tried to make the Atom less of a daylight-only proposition. The only other cosmetic difference is a reprofiled bonnet panel.

Anything different under the Ariel Atom’s skin?

What little skin there is, yes. The exoskeletal chassis has seen changes brought on from lessons learned in the Mugen Atom and 500bhp V8 model.

In 3.5 guise, the Atom is stiffer, and boasts its best-yet torsional rigidity. The dampers and engine mounts have also been revised to take advantage of the stronger base.

And what of that engine? The Atom still comes in two flavours of Honda VTEC four-cylinder, which in normally aspirated guise screams out 245bhp. However, the supercharged version has had power lifted in the Atom 3.5, up from 300bhp to 310bhp, with changes to the intake, mapping and fuel system also liberating more mid-range poke.

You’ll be reading your rapidly increasing speed from an all-new single-screen LCD instrument display, which sits below a row of F1-style gearshift change-up lights. A data logger can be added to the driver display to give real-time information including lap times and a G-force calculator.




By Ollie Kew

Former road tester and staff writer of this parish