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Alpine A110 R: Redefining Lightweight Performance in the Sports Car Arena

A110 R
A110 R (Alpine)

The Alpine A110 R stands out in the automotive world dominated by increasingly heavy sports cars, offering a refreshing counterpoint with its lightweight design. While carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) is trendy, most cars continue to gain weight, making the A110 R’s focus on shedding pounds remarkable.

Although unavailable in the United States, this French coupe represents Alpine’s commitment to performance and agility.

Alpine, a subsidiary of Renault, has gained recognition, particularly with its Formula 1 team rebranding. Despite its niche status, Alpine competes fiercely in Europe with its sole model, the A110. The A110 R, as the pinnacle of this lineup, targets enthusiasts seeking a spirited driving experience akin to the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4.

Weighing approximately 60 pounds less than its predecessor, the A110 R achieves its featherweight status through extensive use of carbon fiber—found in its hood, roof, engine cover, wheels, and seats. Powering this agile coupe is a turbocharged 1.8-liter inline-four engine, producing 296 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

A110 R

A110 R (Alpine)

Driving the A110 R on the twisty roads of East Anglia, UK, accentuates its track-focused dynamics. With firm suspension and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, the car exhibits exceptional grip and precise steering feedback. Its handling is finely balanced, demonstrating minimal roll and responsive agility, even at higher speeds.

Inside, the A110 R strips away non-essential comforts for weight savings and performance focus. Carbon fiber and microfiber trim dominate the cabin, featuring minimalistic controls and a small infotainment screen. The driving experience, heightened by harness-equipped seats and a lack of rearview mirror, further emphasizes its track-oriented pedigree.

However, the engine’s performance doesn’t match the overall finesse of the chassis. Despite its power-to-weight advantage over competitors like the Cayman GTS 4.0, the engine lacks charisma, sounding lackluster at lower revs and harsh when pushed near its redline. Nevertheless, the A110 R remains compelling due to its exceptional handling prowess and the dynamic advantages of its lightweight construction.

With an estimated price of around $101,000, the A110 R positions itself as a focused, lightweight alternative to heavier sports cars in its class. Its emphasis on agility, precision, and weight reduction underscores the timeless automotive principle that reducing weight is often more beneficial than adding power.

Thus, despite its minor flaws, the Alpine A110 R emerges as a distinctive choice for enthusiasts seeking a purist driving experience in a modern, lightweight sports coupe.

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