Combining go-anywhere capabilities with supercar-like acceleration.
The modern-era Ariel Motor Company made a name for itself with the track-focused Atom that made Jeremy Clarkson’s face flap in the wind in an episode of old Top Gear. As of 2015, the UK-based niche manufacture has been offering what it refers to as the “Atom’s mucky brother,” the off-road-ready Nomad.
The original version came with a Honda-sourced 4-cylinder 2.4-litre engine tweaked to deliver 235 bhp (175 kilowatts) and 300 Newton-metres (221 pound-feet of torque). A supercharged version followed by the end of 2015, taking the output to 290 bhp (216 kW) and 340 Nm (251 lb-ft). Fast forward to today, Ariel has prepared an even beefier version of its go-anywhere vehicle.
It’s called the Nomad R and it eschews the 2.4-litre Honda K24 engine for a 2.0-litre K20Z3 unit from the old Civic Type R but fitted with Ariel’s own supercharger for this new application. It produces a healthy 335 bhp (250 kW) and 330 Nm (243 lb-ft), enough for a 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in just 2.9 seconds before topping out at 121 mph (195 km/h).
All that power is channelled to the 18-inch wheels wrapped in Yokohama tyres through a Sadev six-speed, close-ratio sequential gearbox adapted from the Atom V8 and Atom 3.5R models. It upshifts in as little as 40 milliseconds and downshifts in 50 milliseconds, with the clutch only being used for start and stop for seamless acceleration. Alcon brakes with four-piston calipers and two-piece ventilated rotors are fitted at both axles, with adjustable brake bias when you want to take the Nomad R off-road.
Gallery: 2021 Ariel Nomad R
The very little bodywork it has is comprised of a mix between composite and rotationally moulded parts, on top of which Ariel offers a wide array of customisations tailored to the owner’s personal preferences. The list of goodies is comprehensive as it includes everything from adjustable Bilstein dampers to a pair of new lightweight bucket seats. It also boasts a limited-slip differential working in harmony with the RWD system for ultimate tail-happy experiences in the mud.
Only five will ever be made, at £64,500 a pop, excluding value-added tax. You'll need to hurry because only two are still up for grabs.