5 Sep 2009

Here’s an interesting Arial Atom review performed by Edmunds. Not that an Atom test is anything new, but because the Atom in question has an especially hot 375 hp engine. Reader Raphael sent me the article, suggesting that because the car has similar weight and power as Midlana will have, the results might help validate or negate the times CarTest2000 produced. Turns out it’s <em>very</em> close: 0-60 in 2.6 sec and the quarter in 10.6 sec, and that’s on street tires.

That said, there are several big caveats that bear mention. #1: The power comes from a supercharged high-compression engine that demands 110 octane race gas (how much is that per gallon?) #2: It’s loud as hell, the consequence of high rpm, high compression, and race muffler. #3: The cost of this particular car is plain stupid: $160k? (For that much I’d buy one of Dennis Palatov’s 4WD creations.) #4 is the worst, from their summary: Something simply isn’t right with this car’s handling as it’s difficult to detect its limits not what we expected from an Atom. Understeer is substantial and difficult to overcome on the skid pad. Balance is not good. And it’s just plain scary through the slalom, where even slight throttle application in 5th gear made it want to spin. Let’s hope I can do better.