The thing I like most about the new Alpine A110S is not the way it goes, stops or steers, although it is predictably fabulous in all these regards. It is that unless you happen to be a connoisseur of the A110 and, in particular, the design of its wheels, you’ll never know it’s an ‘S’ you’re looking at.
It would have been so tempting to graft a lip onto the back of the engine cover, or deepen its chin spoiler. A simple pair of pipes would have been a sure but subtle way of saying ‘this is the quick one’. Or a badge? One little ‘S’ grafted on the fuel filler cover where the Alpine emblem usually resides? But no, if you don’t spot the bigger wheels, the orange brake calipers, or the 4mm drop in ride height, you’re never going to know.
And for that, I commend Alpine to the skies. Commercially I think it’s an entirely crazy approach, because even the purists who buy Alpines could be forgiven for wanting to signal to the outside world that theirs is the top dog, but three cheers for ignoring that distasteful reality. And welcome to the Alpine A110S.