- The new A110 R gets radical aero and suspension tweaks but no power boost.
- Its 300-hp turbo 1.8-liter jumps from 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds.
- The A110 R’s aero package benefited from time in an F1 team’s wind tunnel.
The ‘R’ stands for ‘Radical,’ and that’s exactly what you get with the new Alpine A110 R. In the U.S., however, it could stand for ‘Reject’ because the A110 is not sold here and the new R model will not make it to these shores either. Revealed at its world premiere in Tokyo in the lead-up to the Japan F1 Grand Prix race this weekend, the heavily modified A110 R comes with a whole new suite of bodywork and suspension tweaks ready for track use.
But if you’re expecting a boost in power, shelve that desire. The new version gets the same 300-hp turbocharged 4-pot as its A110 S predecessor. But more on that later.
The A110R’s aerodynamics package has been reworked to increase downforce while lessening drag, the results of some time in a wind tunnel used by its Alpine Formula 1 team. A wider and more shapely diffuser built from carbon fiber boasts fins on either side, which isolate the diffuser from “dirty” air coming from the rear wheels.
Its rear wing is the same shape as the standard car’s, but it’s been positioned farther back to help reduce lift. Carbon-fiber side skirts also help aero efficiency and give the A110 R a more grounded look. A carbon hood, with two air intakes, saves 6.4 lbs, and a set of carbon wheels, which have been restyled to enhance cooling, save 27.6 lbs.
The rear generates 64 pounds more downforce at top speed compared to the A110 S Aero Kit, but Alpine also says drag is down by five percent, allowing top speed to increase to 177 mph. Thanks to the carbon fiber parts, it now tips the scales at 2,385 lbs which is a weight saving of 75 lbs over the A110 S. When you compare that to the 3,174 lbs base-model Porsche Cayman, which also generates 300-hp, it’s easy to see just how focused the Alpine is. We can also compare the R to the Mazda MX-5 which is 66 lbs lighter but loses out in the power department by 115 hp.
The R model sits 0.4 inches lower and can be further lowered another 0.4 inches thanks to adjustable shock absorbers, while the anti-roll bars and springs are stiffer too. The A110 R also gets track-ready Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 semi-slick tires, and braking performance is boosted thanks to new Brembo clampers with an upgraded cooling system.
Inside, the A110 R features carbon-fiber single-shell Sabelt seats that cut out 11 pounds and strap their passengers in with six-point harnesses. The blue color seen on the outside of the car—the same hue used on the Formula 1 racer—decorates the doors, which also feature red door pulls. The rest of the cabin is covered in microfiber and carbon-fiber bits, while the infotainment system packs a telemetry system for analyzing technical data.
The coupe’s turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder generates 300 hp, the same as the previous A110 S, and sends those horses rearwards via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The mid-engined coupe also produces 251 pound-feet of torque, with Alpine claiming the A110 R will sprint from zero to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds, down from the A110 S’s 4.2 seconds. And although the engine internals are the same, the sound it makes is quite different, according to Alpine, thanks to a new exhaust system that features double-wall pipes and which no longer contains an exhaust valve.
While Alpine is remaining tight-lipped about the price, for now, buyers can expect to part with significantly more than the €72,500 (approx $70,000) that the S costs in France, or £60,040 in the UK. One of the world’s best driver’s cars has just got better, but once again, this is yet another gem that Americans will miss out on.