Alpine A110R is the most hardcore version of the lightweight sports car

The A110R retains the power output but still manages to shave half a second in acceleration

The Alpine A110 – a lightweight back-to-basics slap to modern two-tonne sports cars with massive power figures to flaunt on their brochures. The French performance carmaker itself fell into the higher horsepower trap by introducing the more powerful A110S a couple of years ago. However, with the launch of the latest 110R, Alpine seems to be back to its traditional methods of increasing its appeal, i.e. without increasing the power.

Yes, it retains the same 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine as the previous 110S with the same 300hp and 340Nm torque power output. However, the 0-100kph acceleration figures witness a massive half-a-second reduction from the 110S’ 4.4secs to the new 110R’s 3.9secs. Even the top speed increases to 285kph against the 110S’ electronically limited 250kph. You ask how Alpine generated better performance without tweaking the power output? An aerodynamically-aided lightweight approach is the answer.

The most significant changes are tricks lifted from the Alpine Formula 1 team handbook, and the cornerstone tweak is the extensive use of carbon fibre. Components such as the bonnet and the rear window are fabricated in carbon fibre now, saving 3 kilos with the former and added vents for better airflow over the car. Even the wheels are now carbon fibre components, explicitly made by the Alpine F1 team for the A110R. These wheels get a unique open shape at the front and a closed rear for improved brake cooling and optimized drag while saving 12.5 kilos on the weight scale. The seats, also single-shell Sabelt carbon fibre units, lighten the car by another 5 kilos. All these weight-saving measures tip the 110R’s scales at 1082kgs, making it 34 kilos lighter than the 110S.

The 110R might appeal to track-bred enthusiasts only as the engineers have turned a blind eye to civilized city ride experience in pursuit of lightness. One gets red straps instead of door handles on the interior. The engine-bay sound-deadening materials have been chucked out, and so has the powered flap inside the exhaust that keeps the sound level low at lower revs to lose a few kilos. However, the tailpipes have been 3D printed to reduce the exterior exhaust noise.

Besides the weight-saving measures, Alpine has incorporated more F1-derived touches on the 110R. The Racing Matte Blue launch colour has been lifted off the Alpine A522 F1 car. The cabin embeds an onboard telemetry system that allows the driver to measure performance data. The Alpine 110R was further put through a wind tunnel, resulting in the rear wing mounting further back. With new race-type swan-neck pylons holding the wing in place, these tweaks are said to improve 110R’s downforce.

While the cabin does get swathed in microfiber fabric to provide a race-car-like atmosphere, the 110R’s superior mechanicals bring the atmosphere to life. For instance, the shock absorbers are adjustable and can be lowered by 10mm. The stiffness on the suspension springs and the unique anti-cant bars has been increased for better body support. For better performance around the track, the ground clearance has been lowered by 10mm further than the 110S. The lightweight wheels get wrapped by grippy Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires which get halted by uprated brakes from Brembo.

No wonder the 110R engineers boast it “feels very different on a track” than the A110 S.

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