Goodwood Test: 2021 Alpine A110S Review

A tweaked, tighter A110, the A110S is the mid-engined sportscar for chasing lap times...
09th February 2021
Ben Miles



The Alpine A110 was a triumphant return for Alpine. Not a return to form after a few bad cars, but a total re-entry to existence for a brand treasured in France. If you spoke to any of the team that worked to create the car you heard great stories of the pressures they felt reviving this beloved brand in France. It was along the lines of: “get it wrong and you’ll be thrown in the Channel”.

Well, they got it very right, and we adore the A110. But during the original design process, they always envisaged a slightly more hardcore version, one that would be at home on the track as well as the road. The A110S is that car, a sharper-edged A110 for people who want lap times. They are very keen to stress the S is not about ‘fixing’ the A110, it was always in the plan, this is about tweaking it for another audience.

We like

  • Still one of the best cars to drive today
  • Faster and more slick on track
  • Lower stance and bigger wheels

We don't like

  • Not as fun to drive as the “standard” car
  • Over £55,000
  • Not actually much faster than the A110



I have waxed-lyrical about the A110. In person it looks everything you want from a small sportscar – it looks squat, ready and exciting and somehow also quite beautiful. The S doesn’t change, really, anything. There’s more carbon-fibre in the roof and around various areas for weight, the wheels are bigger and lighter. But the A110S overall keeps with the formula that worked so well for the A110. The key is how Alpine managed to transfer over features from the original Berlinette to a modern car, without looking too much like an awkward mashup of retro-futurism. The quad-light arrangement at the front nods to the past while still looking fresh, the rear slopes just like the old car, but has some very modern X-design lights to set it all off. It works very well, in a way that tells you this is a ground-up fresh car, not a Renault parts-bin knock off.

Performance and Handling


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.



There’s not a lot to say about the interior of the A110S over the standard Alpine. It looks exactly the same, which is not a criticism. There’s the odd new flourish to show you the difference, a few of the small French-flagged features now match the colours of the accents on the outside, but it’s basically the same. The interior is where the design team had to save a bit of money. While the car is a ground-up fresh design with the team given complete freedom, Renault didn’t actually hand them a blank chequebook, so there is the odd compromise. The overall design is still good, with a tiny little touchscreen controlling sat-nav, media etc. and some buttons for the automatic gearbox and climate control – there will still never be a manual A110 no matter how much ask as the packaging is too tight, so the seven-speed DSG from ZF will have to do. The wheel is excellent, of Alcantara, and the sports seats supporting without being too harsh on the back. The cheap bits are hidden. The stalks are two-generation-old Renault, with harsher edges than the current designs, and the infotainment system is very basic. But in a sportscar these are things we can survive.

Technology and Features


Not a whole lot to be honest. It has sat-nav and climate control, there’s sports seats and a little touchscreen. The system on it is basic, and when I say basic, I mean shared with the Suzuki Jimny basic. But it works in the Jimny, so it works here. It gets you where you want to go – what more do you need? There’s a small slot for your phone/the classic rectangular Renault key, there are USB ports and a foot brace for the passenger. That’s pretty much it.



They reckon that the A110S will probably be outsold about three-to-one by the standard Alpine A110, and you can see why. This is not a bad car by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just a car for a very specific audience. It is for people who do care about track days and lap times, not just for an enjoyable drive back. The A110S still retains some of the essence of the A110, just in a sharper form; if the A110 is the baseball bat to whack targets off a plinth, the A110S is the sniper rifle. You’ll still have fun in the A110S, you’ll just find it more precise, less silly.

It isn’t the car for me. I would always plump for the standard car, which is just so achingly smile-inducing that I can never tire of telling people of my affection for it, but that is no way of saying don’t buy one. You really, really should. And now we know this is possibly the last of its kind before Alpine go electric, you really need to hurry.


Engine 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
Power 292PS (214kW) @ 6,400rpm
Torque 319Nm (236lb ft) @ 2,000rpm
Transmission Seven-speed ZF double-clutch , rear-wheel-drive
Kerb weight 1,107kg
0-62mph 4.4 seconds
Top speed 161mph
Fuel economy 43mpg
CO2 emissions 146g/km
Price £56,810

Our score

4 / 5

This score is an average based on aggregated reviews from trusted and verified sources.

  • Evo
    5 out of 5
  • Autocar
    4.5 out of 5
  • Top Gear
    4.5 out of 5