Hagerty Video: Driving the A110 R: Alpine’s Most Hardcore A110 | Henry Catchpole – The Driver’s Seat

Posted: 2023-09-06 15:00:07
Author: Hagerty
The Alpine A110 R is billed as the ultimate version of the featherweight French sportscar. But after driving it, Henry Catchpole began wondering what the R in its name might stand for. After pondering a few possibilities, he finally hit upon the answer, which doesn’t lie with the Alpine F1 team as you might expect but rather with the greatest hot hatch of all time.

A quick look at the Alpine A110 R’s numbers could also have you questioning why it commands such a price premium over the original and S variants of the A110; It has no more power than the A110 S and the weight savings are a relatively minimal 34kg or 75lb. But dig a little deeper and it’s clear why the R very much deserves its top billing.

For a start, the weight saving has been hard-won and strategic. For example, the standard buckets were an already trim 13.1kg (28lb 14oz) each, but the R has managed to shave another 2.5kg (5lb 8oz) off that figure. The carbon fibre wheels by Duqueine might give you sleepless nights if you have to park next to high kerbs on a frequent basis, but they do save an impressive 12.5kg (27lb) of unsprung, rotating mass.

This means that the unchanged 296bhp and 251lb ft has just 1082kg (2385lb) to push around. Combined with Michelin Cup 2 tyres, this sees the 0-62mph time drop to just 3.9sec, so the R is no slouch in a straight line. However, it’s in the corners where it comes alive: New springs from Eibach, 20-way adjustable dampers from ZF and bump stops by BASF all combine to create magic in the ride and handling department.

We hope you enjoy this latest episode, with its incredible drone footage from the team of Glenn Winhall and Ben Cornish. Feel free to show your appreciation in the comments down below or just tell us whether you’d rather have an A110 R or a Porsche Cayman GT4! If you’d like to help support the show and the Hagerty YouTube channel in general, then please think about leaving a thumbs up, subscribing or even joining the Hagerty Drivers Club (https://bit.ly/Join-HDC-Henry) – any or all would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

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Hagerty Video Transcript

This is the Alpine A110 R but what does that r mean Thank you the A110 has been one of my favorite cars ever since it arrived in 2017 its focus on lightweight and a more relaxed ride quality it felt like a breath of fresh air in the sports car scene a mildly hotter s version arrived in 2019 with its latest R variant moves things

On much further not least in price with the r starting at nearly 97 000 pounds at first I thought this might have used R just because it’s the next rung up the automotive alphabet obviously R comes before s in terms of the normal alphabet but we all know that in the automotive

Sphere well ah is better than S however that didn’t necessarily fill me with an awful lot of confidence because well in my experience the standard A110 one without any letter after it is the best they want 10. making it firmer for the S giving it a little bit more power didn’t improve it

So the idea of the r being 10 stiffer still and not actually getting any more power or Torque 296 brake horsepower 251 pounds foot thank you very much dual clutch gearbox because that’s all it can take well doesn’t seem like a great recipe but then I looked at the spec sheet and

Wondered if the r might not be for reduced as in reduced weight because there have been some clever changes to this now we’ll get to those carbon-based alterations faster than an F-15 Eagle but first there’s just a little bit of information for those of you based in the land of McDonald Douglas

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Below and just to be clear in case John Lennon’s watching a jet definitely isn’t part of the deal right on with the film The Standard A110 weighs in at a little over 1100 kilos or 2425 pounds which is akin to a paperback in a world of large

Print hard covers in the current climate but the r has managed to shave off even more mass the new carbon lid at the front saves 2.9 kilos while the lack of a rear window saves another kilo although I think some lexan might have been nice the standard seats were already a trim

13.1 kilos each but these pair back another two and a half kilos off that figure something to add weight such as the new front splitter side skirts rear wing and diffuser these shift the Aero balance backwards to help stability but only actually add 29 kilos of downforce interestingly however drag has actually

Decreased by five percent meaning the R’s top speed increases to 177 miles an hour and for what it’s worth the north 60 mile an hour time has also been reduced with the r dipping a tenth below 4 seconds the most important weight reduction however comes in the form of

The carbon wheels which you’ve no doubt spotted are a different design front and rear although terrifying of your parallel parking near a high curb they do reduce rotating and unsprung mass by a useful 12 and a half kilos or 27 pounds they also work in tandem with new

Suspension that gives you 20 clicks of adjustment in the damping and allows you to lower the ride height by a further 10 millimeters from the R’s standard 10 millimeter drop this is what Alpine calls its track setting which made me wonder if the r might stand for racing oh for racing would certainly

What brow pin and its marketing team once more they’ve done 32 Alonso additions 32 because it is obviously alonso’s number although that was a little bit inconvenient when he then announced he was going to Aston Martin however the more I drove the a110r on a variety of Roads the more I realized

That it wasn’t the faster smoother ones where the new eye back Springs ZF dampers and BASF bump stops were really shining the most brightly and that made me think that the r should really stand for rally 50 years after Alpine won the World Championship and 50 years after they came one two three at Monte Carlo well it would make sense wouldn’t it to do something and celebrate at that and of course Alpine has produced a rally version of this car the rgt version

And if they wanted a hero to hang a special edition off well why not pick somebody else that doesn’t want to give up seemingly there’s still things they’ve got a world championship in them if they could just find the right Machinery yes the campaign starts here for a delacore Edition a110r

And I don’t mean rally in the sense of these cars we’ve seen recently like the 911 Dakar and the Lamborghini Huracan Serato no this is a proper timeout rally car I’d just love to put a number on the side of this go through scrutineering and do a Tarmac rally in it maybe the

Manx or Jim Clark epit as we’re in Wales it is so lovely when you find a car like this that is at home on a road like this happy to fly through the air land well and instantly grip attack into the corners let you look up through even

When it’s like this you’re gonna hold the line feel all the grip through your backside through the steering it’s just brilliant I love the fact that you just have it’s pretty tiny steering inputs and it remains so clean through corners it’s not ragged which might sound boring but it’s so involving

The fact that this is so lightweight makes itself abundantly clear on a road like this the response in terms of acceleration braking cornering it’s all there there’s a car like this to me harnesses they do make sense because I think something to do with it being lightweight and so responsive Being strapped into it I do know that some people find harnesses annoying however and I’m not sure the seat’s lovely though they look will be to everyone’s taste either with the positioning of the pads taking a while to get accustomed to and while we’re being critical we should talk

About the 1.8 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine because although it’s effective it’s not the most characterful pops on the overrun are fun but it certainly doesn’t feel exotic in comparisons with a naturally aspirated 4 liter flat six that you can get and the cheaper Cayman are inevitably unflattering for the album for the money

You could argue that the interior isn’t quite up to Snuff either it’s not bad but you can certainly see it’s humble underpinning so I love things like this the sort of the body color bits up here and actually Apple carplay or Android auto all this works pretty

Well the bridge down here is still a nice piece of theater as well lashings of Alcantara are a tactile pleasure and I like the big red tongues of door pools too so I suppose it’s really just some of the switch gear that jars the lack of rear window there

You get used to that pretty quickly too there’s just some occasions inevitably where you want to be able to see more behind you than having to put it into reverse to get the reverse cameras not really always an option that’s one of those rear view mirrors that’s actually a screen linked to a

Camera would have been nice but I suppose that would have added more cost and weight and if it was a case of development budget well I’m glad they focused on the damping at lower initial speeds this does still feel firm and it doesn’t necessarily Bode that well but

Like a really good passive dampers do they get into their stride above a certain speed this is not some sort of Magic Carpet like I say it’s not a 911 data or something which is going to just sort of Steamroller over stuff this just copes with the bumps keeps you

Very much in contact with the road and retains its Precision it deserves to wear cut to rubber not something normally so much fun it’s precise but not prescriptive just occasionally yes perhaps you think or maybe I’d want a lemon slip diff big old handbrake for The Hairpin bends but mostly

It’s just so evolving there’s a nice little bit of roll in the corners but as soon as you turn in it’s there giving you feedback so then ah for rally except not because the more that I’ve driven this car the more it’s reminded me of another owl something about being

Strapped in in these harnesses and then be able to break so late so so it’s so precisely right up to an Apex and that sense of lightweight not huge amounts of power the way it deals with bumps as well that tarmac rally car theme the car Bonnet even this really does remind me

If it Megan r26r I remember driving the r26r when it came out on some of these very roads and I’ve got exactly the same feelings and as it turns out that’s not a coincidence yes they both come from Dieppe but they also have the Fingerprints of one

Particular man on them because while a car is always the product of a team it was jean-pascal dos that was head of engineering for Rena Sport and who gathered together a small group of four to develop the r26r as a Skunk Works project and guess what yep

The chief engineer at Alpine whilst this was being developed well it’s the same man it is no wonder the greatest hot hatch of all time and this feels so brilliantly similar and so what does the Alpine’s r stand for well it’s the same as on the r26r R for radical What’s a pirate’s favorite letter uh you went R didn’t you no Tis the C