the best Alpine?

Radicalization can take several aspects. So when Alpine officially announced its A110 R for “Radical”, there was room for doubt. The A110 S, tested several times by the editorial staff, was very convincing but never left the indelible smile that the “basic” A110 can give after a few kilometers of winding roads. In question, a strict even very strong damping on twisty roads, which certainly plays for the precision of driving at high speed, but also signs of the end of fun and fun behavior of sportswoman of Dieppe. So offer a radicalized version but still approved for the road… Many are skeptical, yours truly first. And he also fell off his chair after a day with the beauty.

because if it is a question of radicality, it is here in the evocation of circuit cars with license plates, but not in behavior. The rims are made entirely of carbon (that’s 12.5 kg of unsprung weight saved on the scale!), aero kit to significantly increase downforce without affecting drag, 34 kg lighter than an A110 S in particular through full carbon bucket seats and approved harnesses to do without seat belts… Understand that Alpine has put the small dishes on the big ones to offer a sports car as much as possible, following the saying which is “born for the track, tolerated on the road”.

The Alpine A110 R benefits from a custom-made, manually adjustable suspension.© Alpine

Custom pendant lights

And if mechanically speaking nothing moves compared to an S, the 300 hp and 340 Nm of torque still there under the hood, the chassis focuses on most of the changes. So, still compared to the A110 S, the anti-roll bars are stiffer (by 10% at the front and 25% at the rear), the springs are 10% stiffer and the ride height drops to between 10 and 20 mm depending on the setup chosen. Above all, Alpine took care of development custom coilovers from ZF Race Engineering shocks and Eibach springs. All are adjustable in 20 compression and rebound positions and work in conjunction with the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2. On paper it’s guaranteed lumbago, but in practice it’s not. If the R is noticeably more stable than the S, it also benefits from a more progressive damping which is immediately visible on the roads around the Jarama circuit, north of Madrid. Instead of religiously following the roughness of the asphalt, the R absorbs them and exhibits excellent stability. A bit like with an A110, the fun is instant, accuracy and reduced money movements as a bonus. In a way, the A110 R has a bit of a GR Yaris side: the more you give it, the more it likes and shows its capabilities. Results, we end up driving very (too) fast on the open road and we really have to restrain ourselves so as not to become a road offender!

Easy and engaging

Confirmation is made on the hilly route of Jarama, where the Alpine is like a fish in water. While we were at neutral settings on the test cars intended for the road loop, the circuit test-oriented models were lower and slightly more stable. What to do with the Alpine A110 R a scalpel that never loses its good manners. Sharp but not confusing, engaging but predictable, it instantly gives you confidence, and the laps follow each other without having to fight dieppoise. Once warmed up, the Michelin Cup 2s provide tremendous grip on the front end, and even if you knock them over, they’re progressive in their glide, so you’ll have no fear. The very direct direction offers a perfect consistency and a good feeling, which allows to take advantage of the adhesion at its best. And the Alpine pivots on itself with disconcerting easeletting his driver know that his own limits have been reached before he gives up. As for braking, it offers bite and endurance, with only 1,084 kg to slow down, while the sturdy pedal makes dosing easier.

The cabin of the Alpine A110 R is lined with microfiber.
The cabin of the Alpine A110 R is lined with microfiber. © Alpine

In other words, the A110 R is a excellent track driving school, which does not make “civilian” trips a test. Will the generous tub remind you that your physio is someone you should see more often after a 400 km road trip? certainly Will the funny engine sound thanks to a particularly voluble exhaust in Track mode because of its steady buzz? No doubt. But if someone handed me the keys to an A110 S and an A110 R and told me there should only be one left, I wouldn’t hesitate to jump on the R, which is more accomplished. .

Spicy fare

As for the question of whether this French sapphire deserves the €105,000 he claims (along with a small penalty of €2,370 that will go directly into the State’s pockets), the answer is nuanced. First, very similar results can be obtained with an A110 S equipped with the Aero Pack and chassis preparation. On the other hand, we also pay for the very bad looks, the development, the development that transforms the car, and the little extra exclusivity compared to any other Alpine. Note that each copy of the A110 R is numbered but its production is not limited in number or time, unlike the rare Fernando Alonso Edition. That leaves you enough time to accumulate a little savings and love one of the most beautiful Alpine made to date, before the famous A in italics is no more than a weak evocation, an “Alpine Spirit “Which wonders how will it last once the brand goes all-electric.

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