Since the Alpine A110 came out in 2017, people (such as us) have been saying its superb chassis could handle, and indeed deserved, more power than its tiddly 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder provided.
Happily, Renault was paying attention, and for the new Alpine A110S has increased the 1.8’s output from 252hp to 292hp, by dint of a beefier turbo. 0-100km/h takes 4.4secs - a tenth of a second quicker than standard.
But it’s not about outright speed, the A110S. Alpine says the whole character of its mid-engined sportscar has changed: the engine (because peak-power lasts for 1,400rpm longer than standard), and the handling (because of changes to the suspension and chassis).
Changes like the new springs and hollow anti-roll bars, which are 50 per cent and 100 per cent stiffer respectively, plus tuned dampers. The ride height is down by 4m, and it rolls on wider Michelin tyres with a stickier compound. The ESC, which can be fully deactivated, has been retuned too, and you get big Brembo brakes that on other A110s are only optional.
Jean-Pascal Dauce, Alpine’s chief engineer, says earlier Alpines are 'playful and fun to drive' like the Seventies original, while the A110S is a more 'focused sportscar'. Handling precision and high-speed stability are two of its defining characteristics, he says, and though laptimes aren’t a priority, it’s quicker round a track.
Dauce stresses this is still a car that 'can be enjoyed by drivers with any level of experience', and one that’s 'comfortable and usable' everyday.
Aesthetic changes include flag motifs, orange brake discs and optional matte grey paintwork. Meanwhile an optional carbon roof shaves a further 1.9kg from the A110S’s kerbweight.
STORY Tom Harrison