Test Drive: Alpine A110 S: The well- ending love affair

Back in January, Alpine organised an international press launch to introduce its new three model range : A110, A110 GT and A110 S. We recently tested the latter, finished in a pretty Orange Fire colour, all dressed up with an aero kit and a carbonfibre spoiler on the rear boot.

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The very first A110 we drove back in Autumn 2018 left us quite cold. The car was shod with winter tyres that were unsuitable for mild weather and  any spirited driving on dry… and even warm roads. A few months later, in Spring 2020, we tested the A110 S and we were hooked. True, there was still no manual gearbox to play with but the extra power and firmer suspension were more to our liking. Two years on, the revised S features more equipment. However, will it be enough to win our heart for good ?

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I like it

On top of this eye-catching orange paintjob (a € 1870 extra) and the questionable spoiler, the new A110 S is available with new dynamic extras. Some found it too soft, apparently… Therefore, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 semi-slick tyres are available (€750), as well as a carbon fibre roof (€ 3420), GT Race black diamond wheels (€ 750). There’s even a complete ‘Aero Kit’ (€ 5450) with the non- adjustable carbon fibre spoiler in addition to some chassis mods that up top speed to 275km/h while adding 141kg downforce for the car to remain stable. The small capacity turbocharged 4-cylinder engine always pulls pretty well and emits an enjoyable growl and if you lift up the right foot when in Sport or Track mode, some backfire noises will inveitably come along. The strong and consistent brake pedal feel contributes pretty much to the racing atmosphere. The car sticks to the road like it was glued to it and allows cornering speeds that will terrify most passengers, while the slight, controlled rear axle slides keep the driver grinning.

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Quite clever

The good thing about the sportiest Alpine of the range is its comfort. This car can really be used as a daiy driver, even on long journeys. The suspension is firmer than on other versions but the bucket seat offer a near perfect driving position and we didn’t feel any backpain at all. In the quest of ultimate performance, some cars become too extreme and sacrifice any comfort. Ti sis definitely not the case with the Alpine A110 S.

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I don’t like it

Let’s be honest, Alpine improved the automatic gearbox’s shift speed since we first tested an 110 but we thing it could still be better. The steering could be a bit sharper in tight bends and hairpins taken in a spirited way. That said, in this day and age, most production cars have a « safe » but mostly unprecize steering set up. We just have to live with it, even though we still relish some highlights from the recent past.


Why I buy it

The French market totally banned sportscars and this 300 HP is truly the last remaining example of the breed. For that reason alone, it deserves a medal. On top of that, the A110 S oozes sheer driving pleasure, no matter if you are a rookie or a more experienced driver. Selecting the most extreme mode will inevitably enhance your driving skills and turn any track session in a nice experience full of lovely slides. Or you could take advantage of some nice weather and discover some of the beautifull Ardennes back roads. Visibility alowing, you could trash the small 4-cylinder engine there and have real fun. Despite what some Alpine purists might say, the Orange Fire colour suits the car perfectly.

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Why I don’t buy it

As we said above, we are definitely in love with the Alpine S. Even more so now that its 7-inch touch screen is Apple Carplay / Android Auto compatible. Since the car’s introduction, many niggles were put right, all the better for that. The S starts from € 72,750 and adding up all the desirable extras push that to € 88,310. That now puts it in the same price league as a famous German brand. If that’s too steep, you could still select the base version, from € 60.500 or the GT one with more equipment and comfort starting at € 70.500. During our 830 km test drive that included some unrestricted German motorways, average fuel consumption was 10.1 l/100 km. Quite impressive and still pretty reasonable, isn’t it?

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