This is an interesting version.
The car looks much better than the C64 version's, the gameplay is fast and smooth, and thus the playability would be better..
.. if it weren't for a few things that bring the whole experience down after the promising start.
1) The awful backgrounds. The coin-up was colorful, lush, green and blue and nice. This murky background color just makes you feel depressed, and the immersion is killed by the emptiness and monochrome nature of the backgrounds.
2) The flickering sprites. I died mostly because a car suddenly APPEARED in front of me so quickly there was just no reaction time left for me to do anything about it. I should've seen the car coming a long time ago, but it just didn't seem to be there. Then suddenly - BAM! You hit it!
If the sprites merely flickered, it wouldn't be so bad, but when it causes cars to suddenly materialize 1 mm in front of your car, it destroys the playability.
The sound is a little weak, and the music doesn't sound right (a couple of notes are omitted and such), but it does its purpose and I have no real complaints about it.
This would be a great, fun classic, and superior to every other version, if it weren't for those two awful problems that I listed - the ugly and empty backgrounds and the gameplay-destroying sprite-flickering.
(Though I am not sure if they are called 'sprites' when it comes to Atari - perhaps 'software players/missiles'?)
I wish I could put the coin-up version, the C64 version and this side by side, and compare them in real time. Hmm..