David versus Goliath battles are always an enticing proposition, because they offer the chance to watch scrappy underdogs take on their bigger rivals. Evo has set up just such a battle with its latest drag race between the minimalist Ariel Atom 3.5 Supercharged (Ariel Atom 3 pictured below) and the plush Porsche Panamera Turbo S.
The two cars couldn’t be more different. The Atom personifies Lotus founder Colin Chapman’s well-known axiom: “Simplify, then add lightness.” Most of the car doesn’t even have a body; it’s just an exposed frame with a 310 horsepower supercharged Honda four-cylinder mounted behind the driver. On the other side, there’s the Panamera Turbo S. In the latest version, it packs 570 hp and 553 pound-feet from its 4.8-liter twin-turbo V8 and it features all-wheel drive. Of course, all of that comes with a significant weight penalty.
Off the line, the differences are even more apparent. The Atom doesn’t have any of the Porsche’s technological wizardry, so launching it challenges the driver to build the revs and let out the clutch just right. The car screams like a banshee as it goes, though. The Porsche is the exact opposite. Its launch control system lets the driver hold down the brake, get on the throttle and accelerate away in just the right way.
So which wins out in the standing kilometer (3,281 feet) – the tiny Ariel or the powerful Porsche? This might be a David and Goliath battle in terms of size, but it isn’t immediately clear in terms of accelerative ability which is which. Scroll down to watch the video and find out how it all shakes out.