McLaren 720S Vs. BMW S1000RR Vs. Ariel Atom

Few cars are capable of besting a cutting edge superbike when it comes to accelerating in a straight line. There are a handful of exotic cars that boast acceleration comparable to that of a race-derived two-wheeler, though they’re few and far between and usually cost at least six figures. For this reason, there’s something satisfying about watching a $17K stock production bike go head to head with a $285K+ four-wheelers and hold its own. 

AutoCar has previously arranged well over a dozen car versus bike battle videos. This includes a variety of other rolling exotica drag races, as well as a few weird, albeit awesome competitions such as a 510-horsepower Land Rover against a speedway racer (piloted by world champ, Tai Woffinden) on a dirt oval. The latest shootout is a three-way battle includes a McLaren 720S lined up against BMW’s latest (2019) S1000RR superbike, and an Ariel Atom. The AutoCar crew pits the trio of high-end track machines against each other in both quarter and half-mile runs from a standing start. Even with each machines’ performance specs on hand, it’s difficult to say who the winner will be.

While the McLaren’s four-liter biturbo V8 packs more than three times as many horses as the 207hp Beemer, the RR tips the scales at only 434-pounds (or 426 lb for the M-package-equipped S1KRR)— less than one-seventh of the weight of the 720S. Meanwhile, the Atom is powered by the 320hp, 2.0L turbocharged inline-four used in Honda’s Civic Type R, and weighs a tad less than 1,350 lb.

One might think that because of the BMW’s weight, relative to the cars it’s going up against, it would have a clear advantage off the line. However, both the McLaren and the Ariel clocked better 0-60 mph and 0-100mph times. The two-wheeler ultimately achieved greater top-speeds in both the quarter and half-mile sprints, making things pretty, pretty interesting.

Without watching the video first, which of the three would you guess has the advantage?


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