There’s nothing revolutionary under the bonnet for the S either. The same 1.8-litre, four-cylinder engine, plonked toward the rear, powers the A110S, but now it has had a boost tweak, so we can expect 292PS (214kW), a lift of around 40PS over the standard car. There’s 319Nm (236lb ft) to play with, which is the same as the original car, but the boost change means it is available through more of the rev range. That, accompanied by a 7kg weight saving through the new wheels (which are options) roof and other carbon bits, means the S will hit 62mph in 4.4 seconds, which is only a tenth or so faster than the standard Alpine A110, then it’ll hit 161mph, rather than the A110’s 155mph. So in pure performance terms, there is very little difference.
Where the change can really be found is in the drive. The ‘standard’ Alpine A110 is an absolute boatload of fun, designed to move around under you, with specific inclusions like the double-wishbone suspension all around meaning that there is natural roll, the kind of roll you shouldn’t be scared of, but which involves you more in the drive. The new car is more firm in its stance, the ride control could be seen as being much better as there’s less movement, but that is also to sacrifice a little feel. The A110S will turn in with more precision than the standard car, and stays flat a lot more through the corners. There’s a lot stronger request needed to provoke oversteer, with the A110S remaining more planted. Which is what the designers wanted, a car that retained at least a taste of the original’s fun, while being more desirable to people who want to head home from a track day with a printout of lap times.
That’s not to say the A110S is harsh to drive on the road, it’s just that the brilliant feeling of the standard Alpine isn’t there. It rides B-road bumps very well, it just doesn’t feel as involving in them as before.