Renault has something going on with the Alpine A110. It’s a lightweight sports car with an aluminum body, chassis, and suspension. It also came with a decent turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but Renault is turning up the heat.
The 2020 Alpine A110S is now equipped with a more powerful engine. It now has the muscle to give the Audi TT and Porsche 718 a serious run for the money.
Here are the things that make the new Alpine A110S a serious performance contender.
The new Alpine A110S has more power
Lightness has its benefits. In fact, the standard Alpine A110 is around 300 kg (661 pounds) lighter than the equivalent Audi TT and Porsche Cayman. Even though the A110 also came with a modest mid-mounted 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 249-horsepower, the Alpine A110 has a tendency to feel faster than those numbers might suggest.
Renault tinkered with the boost pressure of the turbo. This gave the engine 38 more horsepower. The A110S has a total of 288-horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque to play with. The result is a 0 to 60 mph sprint in 4.4-seconds and a top speed of 162 mph (4.5-seconds and 150 mph in the base A110). The stronger motor is still mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission which turns the rear wheels.
Truth be told, the A110S is just as fast as the standard A110. But adding 38 horsepower into a relatively lightweight body is a perfect recipe for a damn good time!
It has a reworked suspension system
The new Alpine A110S receives stiffer coil springs (50-percent stiffer than the original) and anti-roll bars, new dampers, and revised bump stops. The ride height is now 0.16-inches lower to give the A110S a more aggressive and sporting stance.
The car also gets new Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, which were developed specifically for the Alpine A110S. The tires are mounted on new Fusch wheels to complete the updated look. Stopping power is provided by oversized Brembo brakes with 12.6-inch discs on all four wheels. For good measure, Alpine also tinkered with the stability control system to increase the fun factor of the car.
With more power, better handling, and stronger brakes, the Alpine A110S has suddenly turned into a serious performance contender.
The exterior changes are subtle
And that’s how it’s supposed to be in a sports car. Alpine resisted the urge in adding gaudy or polarizing body kits, vents, and purported aero bits to improve the styling and aerodynamic performance of the new A110S. And even though the styling tweaks are limited to new wheels, new paint colors, and a splash of carbon fiber exterior bits and orange accents, the Alpine A110S remains a beautiful sight to behold. Oh, and it’s also got a carbon fiber roof.
The interior also receives minor updates including new premium trim materials, a leather-wrapped tiller, and new aluminum pedals.
The Alpine A110S needs two more things to be great
Chief among those is a proper manual gearbox. Don’t get me wrong, the standard 7-speed DCT is good enough for both novice and professional drivers. But would it be too much to ask for a gated manual shifter in a lightweight sports car?
The next thing is availability. Sadly, the Alpine A110 and A110S is still – and will not be – sold in North America.
If and when Alpine wakes up and realizes the market potential of the A110 in the USA, prices are expected to start around $75,000 for the S version. That’s more than what the Porsche 718, Audi TT, and Alfa Romeo 4C are asking for the same driving experience.
But the Alpine A110S is a different animal. It remains a passionate driving machine in the purest sense of the word.