is she the best in the sport? Answer in our essay

2022 Alpine A110 S: The Porsche Method

New, the adjective is probably too strong. But improved, the A110 is destined for its 2022 vintage. And like Porsche, the manufacturer that knows better than anyone how to drop its models in so many variants, there’s now an Alpine for every taste. The base version (A110 for short) remains unchanged with 252 hp. to the rear wheels. The only real change for the latter is the use of a central touchscreen with a new, more modern interface. If this equipment is clearly present on other models, the top GT and S models benefit more from the changes. Taking its little sister’s standard chassis but richer equipment, the GT sees the 1.8 Turbo’s power increase to 300 hp and torque also increases to 340 Nm (+20 Nm). This double win was made possible by arrangements requested from Getrag, supplier of the 7-speed dual clutch transmission for the A110. More radical, like the GT3 in the Porsche 911 lineup, the A110 S gets the same engine and bigger brakes as the GT by adding an optimized chassis. The combined springs/dampers, like the anti-roll bars, have stiffer settings, which, by the way, remain the same as the S version (292 hp) launched on the market in 2019.

On board, racing car-worthy Sabelt bucket seats clearly indicate the car’s calling. And there is better. As an option, the S can get an aerodynamic kit with a front blade and real carbon rear wing… as evidenced by the claimed 5,400 euros. It is enough to add support at high speed, with the latter rising by 15 km / h on occasion, or 275 km / h anyway! Enough to tempt trail lovers, especially since Alpine offers the latest innovation that changes everything on the track with a choice of special shoes, in other words Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 semi-slicks. Gentlemen, start the engine!

A110 S: small changes, big effects

It is true that the weather is good all year round in the south-east of France, the location chosen by Alpine for testing at the Castellet circuit. But there is one catch. The absence of clouds also causes severe frosts at night and turns the roads of the hinterland into a skating rink. With a normal car already enough to afford some heat. With the A110 S in semi-slicks, it turns into a session of more or less artistic tricks. To put it bluntly, the choice of these tires will need to be carefully considered, and we advise future buyers to plan for a more classic fit for the cold season. However, this warm-up before hitting the track behind the wheel of the spiciest Alpine has already revealed a few things. The first, and ultimately logical, is that the increase in power and torque is imperceptible compared to the old 292bhp version. Really very smart is the one who can feel the difference between 4.2 and 4.4 s to accelerate from 0 to 100 km / h. In both cases, it blatantly pushes with a tonic-type 1.8 turbo and an efficient dual-clutch box, even if it is necessary to switch it to sport mode to get more tone from it, while freeing up an exhaust so generous with sympathy.

Another nice surprise about this Alpine S is that it’s not a piece of wood. Admittedly, the car saves its passengers from fewer road defects compared to the standard chassis (which is really amazing in this regard). But your back will not break after 100 km. On the other hand, the deal is clearly changing in the direction of behavior. While the classic A110 surprises with its body roll and very playful demeanor, the S relies in particular on the precision of the front axle, which we did not fail to test on the Castellet route. After warming up, the tires provide better traction, which allows for more precise trajectories and eliminates the effects of understeer. Enough to take full advantage of the potential of a formidable toy on twisty sections by switching to Track driving mode, which frees up the driver (limited electronic assistants and the ability to press a switch). The more experienced can also, if the propulsion system requires it, enjoy coming out of corners in generous commas, with the car flexing there with good grace. Admittedly, the A110 isn’t the most powerful sports car in the world, but because it’s one of the lightest, it’s a formidable hunter of lap times and big mechanical game that often exceeds a ton and a half. That behind the wheel of a Frenchman, the brakes and tires are less loaded. Track Day fans, including Exclusive Drive partnered by AM, will also appreciate the A110 S, because supplies turn out to be expensive when you’re having fun…

The aerodynamic kit is one of the new features of the Alpine A110S 2022. It costs 5400 euros (whatever!), it adds downforce at high speed, so the top speed increases by 15 km/h, i.e. 275 km/h.  .
The aerodynamic kit is one of the new features of the Alpine A110S 2022. It costs 5400 euros (whatever!), it adds downforce at high speed, so the top speed increases by 15 km/h, i.e. 275 km/h. .© Alpine

A110 S: attractive yes… but not the best

More rigorous, faster and more efficient, the Alpine A110 S (€71,500) is undeniably comparable to its sisters. But in our opinion, this is not the best option. More playful with earlier slides that are easy to manage but more comfortable, the A110 (€59,500) and A110 GT (€69,500) are more recommended in our opinion. Between the two, our hearts lean in favor of the GT, as its power is equivalent to that of the S (300 hp) S, but it’s richer and more luxuriously equipped. Next, it’s a matter of taste and use, a difficult choice that Porsche 911 enthusiasts know well…