Road tests

New Alpine A110 S 2022 review

The more powerful Alpine A110 S model heads up the revised French sports car range

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Verdict

Unlike most sports cars of late, the newly updated Alpine A110 S’s headline figure isn’t its power output or 0-62mph time. Refreshingly, like its predecessor, the standout stat remains the light 1,119kg kerbweight. On fun, twisty roads its driving dynamics will worry its coupé rivals. However, the Alpine doesn’t deliver the premium feel of its German rivals, which at this price point it really should.

Alpine’s future, like every other car manufacturer, is electric, and we’ve documented the firm’s plans for EVs – including a big SUV. With all that in mind, it’s tempting to praise the range-topping new A110 S simply for being a lightweight, raw sports car that’s designed with driving engagement at the top of its list of priorities.

But there are a few issues with this, mainly in the shape of rivals such as the excellent Porsche 718 Cayman and BMW M240i, to name just two. The French car still doesn’t have this segment to itself.

On paper, the new Alpine A110 S gets off to a good start. The 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit produces more power, up from 288bhp to 296bhp. It also develops a healthy 340Nm of torque, which helps it sprint from 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds, 0.2 seconds faster than its predecessor.

The light 1,119kg kerbweight is the standout statistic of the new A110 S and rightly so. Along with all the dynamic benefits this brings, it’s also a plus point for efficiency, with up to 40.9mpg possible.

Sliding into the bucket seats highlights how focused the A110 S is – if you hadn’t already noticed the lower ride height, larger 18-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres or the new rear spoiler.

The interior has most of the tech you could need, but it falls some way short of rivals’. The seven-inch touchscreen feels a bit puny, but it has connected services and enough features. On the flip side, it’s unlikely to distract from the driving experience.

Push the big red start button and the engine burbles into life, with a deeper bellow once you select Sport mode.

It doesn’t take long for the A110 S to show you what it’s about. There’s plenty of engine noise right behind your head, while the raucous turbo sounds and the firm suspension grab your attention immediately. There’s a sense the A110 S isn’t happy to potter around town, because the sportier chassis means the car is jostled by potholes and bumps at low speed. While it would be unfair to call the A110 S uncomfortable, if you intend to use your Alpine in town regularly, then the standard A110 or GT version would be better suited.

The S is happier when you ditch the urban environment and get up to speed. Its 1.8-litre turbo engine might not be as characterful as some five and six-cylinder competitors, but it has solid mid-range punch. It tails off above 6,000rpm, at which point you can snick a new gear with the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which is good, but not great. Changes aren’t as fast and precise as we’d like, but that doesn’t overly detract from the fantastic driving experience the A110 S’s superbly nimble and adjustable chassis delivers.

The Alpine fulfils its promise as an incredibly deft and involving sports car in corners. The steering feels more accurate than in the regular A110. And thanks to a mix of reinforced anti-roll bars and specially tuned dampers, there’s a new sense of responsiveness to how the S changes direction, with less body roll than in other A110 models. The optional front and rear spoilers deliver an extra 61kg of downforce at the front and 80kg at the rear, but you’ll be hard-pressed to notice on the road.

More obvious are the larger 320mm Brembo front brakes that are fitted as standard on the S, and also available on the mid-range GT model. They provide substantial stopping power combined with an excellent, progressive pedal feel.

The new A110 S starts from £59,995 – £2,855 more than the old car. With options including the carbon-fibre roof, different alloys, the aero kit and a few other extras, our car came to an eye-watering £71,689 – or £21,784 more than the standard A110.

Even at this price, though, the Alpine remains among the best sporty coupés. However, we prefer the softer and less full-on standard A110 to this stiffer, more focused S. While its updates represent an improvement, it’s not a huge one.

Model:Alpine A110 S
Price:£59,995
Engine:1.8-litre 4cyl turbo petrol
Power/torque:296bhp/340Nm
Transmission:Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, rear-wheel drive 
0-62mph:4.2 seconds
Top speed:171mph
Economy:40.9mpg
CO2:160g/km
On sale:Now

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