More Power for Renault's Porsche Rival

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Renault reveals its latest version of the Alpine A110S – and it’s even lighter.

There aren’t many cars that can rival Porsche’s 718. If you want a mid-engined sportscar, you ordinarily have to pay supercar money for the privilege of having an engine between the axles, instead of on top of one of them.

Renault is finally giving Porsche what they have never had: a proper compact mid-engined rival to the 718 (Cayman). The car in question is the brand’s revival of its Alpine sub-brand and named A110. If you are a Renault follower, and aware of its classics, that naming convention will make complete sense.

We've driven the 718 Cayman S: read our review here

The A110 is a mid-engined chassis unique to Alpine and powered by the same 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder which sits up front in Renault’s highly regarded Megane hot hatches. It’s light and fast – and now Alpine has revealed the A110S, which is even lighter and faster.

Alpine engineers have added an assortment of technical upgrades to the A110 with this new ‘S’ derivative. At each wheel corner there are revised spring rates, hollow anti-roll bars and recalibrated dampers which create a median 75% stiffer suspension set-up. The A110S also rides 4 mm lower than Alpine’s factory specification A110.

Larger Brembo brakes, which are optional on the A110, come as standard fitment on the A110S and it also rolls a stickier compound of Michelin high-performance tyre. For those drivers confident in their abilities, the car’s electronic stability control can also be completely disabled…

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The A110S is more powerful than a standard A110, with power boosted from 185- to 215 kW. That increase in engine output equates to 0-100 kph in 4.4 seconds.

Best of all is how light the A110S is. With a carbon-fibre roof, which saves 1.9 kg in weight, this mid-engined Renault sportscar registers a kerb mass of only 1 114 kg.

Availability in select markets is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year, with indicative pricing of R1 250 000. Renault SA was originally excited about bringing Alpine models to SA, however hasn't been able to make a business case work for it with current exchange rate fluctuations.

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