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There’s no V8, but the Ariel Atom 3S is face-melting fast

When you think of elemental, track-based sports cars, you think of the Ariel Atom.

The Caterham Seven and KTM X-Bow are impressive vehicles in their own right, but in its class, Atom is king.

Ariel has added yet another member to the Atom’s ever growing family, and it’s called the 3S.

Built in America by TMI Autotech Inc., the 3S has overtaken the Atom 3.5R as the most powerful street-legal version under the V8-powered Atom 500.

The turbocharged 2.4-liter i-VTEC that sits behind the driver delivers 365 horsepower at 7500 rpm and 310 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm. That’s a little more than the supercharged 3.5R’s 350 hp, but, wonderfully fulfilling the stereotype, the U.S.-spec 3S is a little fatter.

It weighs 1350 pounds compared to the 3.5R’s 1212 lbs, but it still manages a 0 to 60 mph time of “less than 2.8 seconds.” That’s right in line with the 3.5’s 2.6-second time. The 1/8-mile is dealt with in 6.8 seconds at 103 mph, and Ariel estimates a quarter-mile run of 10.7 seconds.

TMI Autotech just showcased the Atom’s focused performance in a short racing video at Virginia International Raceway.

The film shows the 3S’ blistering lap time of just 1:58.8, and even though there’s a fair amount of wind noise, there’s just enough of an audible turbo whistle to let you know the Atom is chomping at the bit.

There’s also a new, adjustable traction control system inside the cockpit, but it’s not intrusive enough to prevent the Ariel from sliding through a few corners.

Related: Ever wondered what an Ariel Atom motorcycle would look like? Well, here’s you answer

Like an F/A-18 Super Hornet, the Atom is sleek, powerful, and technologically advanced. The four-piston brake calipers and pushrod suspension are straight out of Formula One, and there are three six-speed gearboxes to choose from: a standard unit, a close ratio system, and a sequential Sadev transmission.

The Atom 3S starts at $89,750, which puts it at a significant premium over the Atom 3’s $64,500 base price. Compared to its performance competitors, though, this beefed-up go cart is a hell of a deal.

(Photos via Ariel Atom Facebook)