For the track-day junkie or even just the no-frills driving enthusiast, the Ariel Atom is in many ways the ultimate car. The purity of the driving experience is unsullied by fripperies such as a complete interior, a roof, or even a sheet metal body shell. And now it can be had for a mere $49,980.

For that bargain-basement entry price, you get a 219-horsepower Honda K20 engined, six-speed transmission grown-up go kart that's capable of sub-3.0 second 0-60 mph runs and 0-100-0 runs under 11 seconds. That's face-stretchingly fast. It does this with an anorexia-inducing 1,375-pound curb weigh that yields a power-to-weight ratio of 6.3 pounds per horsepower in base trim.

Upgrades in power can push output up to 246 horsepower or an even 300 horsepower, driving the power-to-weight ratios down to 5.6 and 4.6 pounds per horsepower, respectively. Those models also up the price, however.

The base Atom 3 also comes with PBR single-piston floating brakes, double unequal-length wishbone suspension, limited-slip differential, Bilstein non-adjustable shocks, a cast alloy quick-ratio rack and pinion steering system, and composite body panels. Optional upgrades include Wilwood or Alcon brake systems, adjustable shock absorbers, a quick-release system for the steering wheel, carbon fiber body work, magnesium Dymag wheels, and a host of other appearance and performance accessories.


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