At Alpine’s very confidential premises in the Paris region, the brand gave us an appointment just before the summer. Aside from the R marking communicated on the invitation card, few clues give us a glimpse of what awaits us behind those closed doors. But the meeting point is not trivial. This is where some of the engineering work that we later find on Formula 1 circuits takes place, leading us to suspect that the fledgling French brand has prepared a slightly spicier recipe for its one-of-a-kind road model. After a brief introduction and after signing a contract on the strictly confidential nature of what follows, here we are in front of the Alpine A110 R, the most radical version of the little Dieppe, completing the range, with no time or production limit. Delicious.
So the R is the track girl, the purist of the series. It surpasses all other versions by being by far the most radical. A very generous use of carbon, a completely redesigned aerodynamics, a more radical interior and a color Bleu Racing Mat that it shares with the A522 of Formula 1.In the counted space of the meeting point, surrounded by highly technical parts, this R version imposes . Lower and optically widened according to the laws of aerodynamics, this A110 seems straight out of a touring championship, a sort of unbranded GT4. Still, this version was designed for those who want more intensive use on the track…and still be able to get there on the road. For this we have a group of engineers available to explain the technical improvements made to the already very efficient A110. And that, of course, starts with relief.
At first glance, this A110 R “seems” to be lighter. And for good reason, carbon is ubiquitous and very noticeable. The very imposing front hood gives character to the face, but also improves top speed and contributes to aerodynamic optimization. The rims were specially developed for this A110 R. More complex at the front, they ensure better cooling of the brakes. The rear ones, more streamlined, allow better control of drag. The rear window was also replaced with a large piece of carbon fiber. Designed, engineered and crafted by the specialist Duqueine, these pieces stand out for their lightness in the hand. The rims alone have saved more than 12 kg. Overall, this R version saves 34kg on the scale compared to an A110S of the same performance. A value that may seem low, but the aim is above all to lower the center of gravity – even more.
The other main area of work was optimizing the aero part. For this, the Alpine A110 R benefited from working in the wind tunnel with tools as advanced as those used in Formula 1. The aim was to find an optimal relationship between aerodynamic support and air resistance. Clearly, ensure maximum dynamics and grip in the corners (also fast), without any disadvantage at high speeds. Flat bottom, redesigned, widened and lengthened diffuser, side flaps, streamlined wishbones… The A110 R inherits the best in the field. At the stern, the fin is the same as on the A110 S. However, it rests on different masts, is less inclined and has a lower angle of attack.
The improvements also affected the landing gear, which was lowered by 10mm for the occasion (compared to an A110 S). Thanks to configurable shock absorbers, you can also add 10 mm more. In addition, the latter benefit from a graduated hydraulic adjustment (20 levels) which, according to Alpine, “allows to adjust the force-velocity law in compression and relaxation”. Body roll is even better controlled thanks to increased handlebar stiffness by 10% at the front and 25% at the rear. On the tire side too, the A110 R is serious with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 semi-slicks. The braking system entrusted to Brembo is taken care of by 320 mm discs on the front and rear axles. They have a cooling system specially developed for this R with air ducts mounted directly on the top links of the front axle.
On board, the interior of the A110 is retained, enhanced here by Sabelt seats, also in carbon, which offer optimal support. Alcantara is obviously a must in this interior, which doesn’t seem to have sacrificed everything for performance. For the rest we find the classic mechanics of the Alpine A110S, namely the 1.8 from 300 hp (here the power-to-weight ratio is increased to 3.6 kg/hp). From 2,400 rpm it still develops 340 Nm of torque. On the other hand, this A110 R accelerates more with a 0 to 100 km/h acceleration achieved in 3.9 seconds and the top speed has been achieved unbraked to reach 285 km/h. The Alpine teams took the opportunity to hear us the sound of this new version (which benefits from a special double-walled exhaust pipe to protect the other parts from the heat). A very typical alpine sound that is actually hoarse.
This Alpine is now part of the range for purists and amateur pilots and will be making its first public appearances this weekend at the Japanese Grand Prix. It will not be limited in time or in production. On the other hand, it now dares the six-figure price tag, as it’s listed at €105,000 for the French market.