► New Alpine A110 coupe review
► We test the 300bhp Litchfield upgrade
► 'Alpine has absolutely delivered'
As it rolls out of the factory in Dieppe in the north of France, the Alpine A110 Premiere Edition is as close a rival to Porsche’s 718 Cayman S as we will ever see. The similarities in mechanical layout, performance and price are so apparent they hardly need spelling out. What isn’t so immediately obvious, however, is that a 50bhp uplift in power is all that is needed to give the A110 not Cayman S levels of straight-line performance, but 911 Carrera S pace.
Alpine A110 S: what you need to know
With its power output boosted to 300bhp, the flyweight Alpine has the same 273bhp/tonne power to weight ratio as a mid-range 911. From behind the wheel the car feels rampantly accelerative; forceful in the way of a junior supercar, not a lightweight sports car.
Where does this extra power come from in the Litchfield Alpine A110?
A simple engine remap. That’s all. It’s the work of tuning specialists Litchfield Motors, the Gloucestershire company that made its name modifying Nissan GT-Rs and now offers upgrade packages for numerous performance cars.
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An increase in turbo boost pressure from 1.1 to a peak of 1.45 bar lifts power from 249bhp to 300bhp, while torque jumps further still from 236lb ft to 298lb ft. Useful gains, certainly, but factor in the A110’s skinny 1100kg kerb weight and and they become more significant still.
Does the A110 really need more power?
Not particularly. One of the joys of the standard car, in fact, is that you can use all of its performance on the highway without fearing too much for your licence. But the way this uprated A110 shunts you along the road, walloping you in the back with its big whump of turbocharged torque, really is quite exciting. That newfound performance is still exploitable on the road, too.
What’s important, though, is that the chassis - untouched here, at least for the time being - isn’t at all troubled by the extra power and torque. Traction is still very good, even on a greasy surface, and this particular A110 is in no more need of a limited-slip differential than the standard model. Away from a sweeping second gear corner the car will still slide a little before it ignites the unloaded inside tyre.
What else do I need to know?
Throttle response remains good for a turbocharged engine, though it isn’t razor sharp by any means, while the boost threshold is still very low in the rev range, which gives you a usefully wide power band. At 4500rpm the engine seems to dig deeper for the final dash to the redline a little shy of 7000rpm.
Litchfield will eventually offer an uprated suspension package for the A110, as well as a freer flowing exhaust system and perhaps an LSD, too. It’s currently in the process of assessing the chassis in its standard specification, both on British roads and at the Nurburgring (see above).
Litchfield Alpine A110: verdict
The remap costs £995 (before VAT) and Litchfield is so confident the engine isn’t overstressed at 300bhp the upgrade includes a warranty. It isn’t always the case that more power makes a car more fun, but in this instance it is unquestionably true.