RE: Wheels of fortune | Alpine A110 S

RE: Wheels of fortune | Alpine A110 S

Monday 4th November

Wheels of fortune | Alpine A110 S

We consider secondhand alternatives to the new - and arguably improved - Alpine A110



The Alpine A110 S was a thinker from day one. Traditionally, the quicker, pointier version of a mid-engine sports car qualifies as a virtual no-brainer, yet the standard A110 is so absurdly sweet to drive that the thought of tinkering with any of its faculties seemed almost like sacrilege. Consequently, we assumed the S would be faster - and worser.

But it isn't. It's very good indeed. Matt sagely concluded that you need to specifically want what the S is cooking to choose it over the standard model, but once that stumbling block is behind you, Alpine's more expensive A110 is a terrific entrant to the rear-drive sports car segment. If you said you preferred it, we'd understand.

Question is, would the same amount of money - and with a similar set of criteria - get you something better still in the secondhand market? Matt and Sam flicked through the classifieds to find out...

Rules of Engagement

Price: Β£50-60k
Mileage: Less than 25k
Driven wheels: Rear
Engine position: Middle
Engine size: Dealer's choice


2019 Lotus Exige S3 - Matt B

If there can be complaints about the new Alpine sports cars - and that's a fairly substantial 'if'- then they would centre around two things: the absence of a manual gearbox option, and the fairly ordinary four-cylinder engine. From a five-door hatch.

Step forward, then, the Lotus Exige. Also light, also mid-engined, also wonderful to drive. And, crucially for the sake of this prosecution, possessing a six-speed manual gearbox and a 3.5-litre V6 that, while hardly a specialised unit, makes a racket as joyous and tuneful as the Alpine's is slightly synthetic and meek. Even the 'box, never a typical Lotus strong point, has a rewarding, tactile action. All that interaction and aural excitement missing from the Alpine is spilling from the windows of the Hethel hell-raiser.

This Sport 350 is also a perfect exponent of what the Exige does well. It'll be more accommodating on-road than the racier Cup models, it looks superb in the optional Olive Green paint and - whaddya know - this 500-mile example has Β£10k off the list price, meaning it just sneaks in under our Β£60k ceiling - the perfect antidote. And while nobody is going to suggest that an Exige is a more usable everyday sports car than an Alpine, there will be plenty - myself included - who would argue that it's the more exciting, absorbing, memorable car to drive fast. What more reason is there, really, to buy a sports car than that?

See the full ad here

Joker - 2010 Audi R8 V10
This R8's rev limiter is higher (8,500, if memory serves) than its recorded mileage (8,400). Incredible. It's a V10 manual supercar that make a 911 seem staid. It's somehow less than Β£60k. It was a dead cert for my Alpine alternative, were it not for the pesky 4WD...

See the full ad here


2015 Porsche Cayman GTS (981) - Sam S

The four-cylinder 982 Cayman has given Alpine's A110 S an easy ride, but transfer your consideration to the old 981 and things look very different. GT4s aside, the flat-six-powered GTS is arguably the pinnacle of Cayman development largely thanks to the razor-sharp responsiveness of its naturally-aspirated 3.4-litre. The 340hp motor sings and wails in ways that make its flat-four successor sound like a box of nails, so before you've even grasped the delicateness of the 981's other controls, you'll likely be smitten.

True, the 981 GTS weighs 1,375kg to the 1.1-tonne A110 S. But the Cayman shuns any weight concerns with its quick, feelsome steering and a chassis alive to the smallest input. The stiffer GTS dampers provide a fantastic compromise between handling and ride quality (something the more focussed GT4 can't quite match), of the sort normally reserved for considerably lighter track cars, while the rearward power supply delivers remarkably unthreatening - but very real - throttle adjustability.

The real magic though is conjured by that flat-six. An A110 S and today's 982 will be no less appealing on a winding route to the 981, but neither has a soundtrack capable of making your hairs stand on end - nor a throttle response which so closely follows the adjustments made by your right foot. Ok, this 13,000-mile-old car isn't a hero-spec manual, but the PDK auto is brilliant and allows you to focus more on the GTS's excellent other traits. An unbeatable all-round sports car package, I'd say.

See the full ad here

Joker - Ferrari 360 Spider
Scrap the mileage limit and your money can buy a 360 Spider featuring Ferrari's glorious 3.6-litre V8. The noises of that compact 400hp unit are downright heavenly, particularly at 8,500rpm and when a Spider soft top is down. An A110 S would be far from your mind when you're dancing this midship Prancing Horse down the Stelvio Pass.

See the full ad here


Verdict...

Well, it's a nail-biter right out of the gate. If there's objective daylight between the two it's in the Porsche's more rounded usability and - historically, at any rate - its superior build quality and reliability. Also, the flat-six has a pedigree that Lotus's Toyota-acquired V6 cannot claim to hold a candle to. But then there's the Exige and what it does when presented with the English countryside, and the way it stands out apart from almost anything else you care to think of...

Were the Porsche equipped with a manual transmission, it would be hard to argue against its many virtues. But for PH's Monopoly money, the PDK would likely have you second guessing the car's purchase over the similarly geared A110 S - which comes with the added value of no miles and a manufacturer warranty. Ten minutes in the Exige, and you'd second guess nothing. Hethel wins by a nose, then - assuming you're not also daydreaming about owning a V10-powered supercar from 2010.


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Author
Discussion

jbforce10

Original Poster:

156 posts

122 months

Sunday 3rd November
quotequote all
Price: £50-60k
Mileage: Less than 25k
Driven wheels: Rear
Engine position: Middle

For me... Lotus Evora 400 manual.
https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

...or a Lister Bell Stratos if a sub 25k mile Alfa v6 Busso could be sourced.

chelme

675 posts

117 months

Sunday 3rd November
quotequote all
Is this another PH attempt at marketing for Porsche?

I suppose it depends on what people want from a small mid engined car....some may opt for the Porsche, others may want to opt for a pre-owned standard Alpine Pure? Was this considered?

Or as you thought, some may actually want something more hard-core like a Lotus Exige ...

Vee12V

846 posts

107 months

Sunday 3rd November
quotequote all
Exige for me. That particular green looks fab too!

62dave

3 posts

48 months

Sunday 3rd November
quotequote all
jbforce10 said:
Price: £50-60k
Mileage: Less than 25k
Driven wheels: Rear
Engine position: Middle

For me... Lotus Evora 400 manual.
https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

...or a Lister Bell Stratos if a sub 25k mile Alfa v6 Busso could be sourced.
I considered the Alpine, Alfa 4c and Evora 400 this summer and ended up with the Lotus. I really like these alpines but the Evora felt like another level (which it should to be fair).


macky17

1,951 posts

136 months

Sunday 3rd November
quotequote all
Yes, evora 400 for me at that money. The 981 boxster spyder is dropping closer to that price point as well...

samoht

1,033 posts

93 months

Sunday 3rd November
quotequote all
This Noble GTO-3R looks on point. The interior's almost acceptable too, would want to fit a Nardi wheel but otherwise not bad.
https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...



Artega GT, with the 300hp 3.6 VR6 - fly out, buy car, do a trackday at Spa, drive back:
https://www.reezocar.com/en/voiture-occasion/arteg...


Edited by samoht on Sunday 3rd November 14:09

chelme

675 posts

117 months

Sunday 3rd November
quotequote all
samoht said:
This Noble GTO-3R looks on point. The interior's almost acceptable too, would want to fit a Nardi wheel but otherwise not bad.
https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...



Artega GT, with the 300hp 3.6 VR6 - fly out, buy car, do a trackday at Spa, drive back:
https://www.reezocar.com/en/voiture-occasion/arteg...


Edited by samoht on Sunday 3rd November 14:09
Hmm. Both look like good alternatives.

Marvin H

2 posts

31 months

Sunday 3rd November
quotequote all
An alternative is a used BMW i8, maybe not as much of a driver's car, but technically interesting.

SidewaysSi

5,972 posts

181 months

Sunday 3rd November
quotequote all
Elise rather than Exige for me. A more agile and focused machine.

£50k is easily 250 Cup territory.

Tickle

3,380 posts

151 months

Sunday 3rd November
quotequote all
SidewaysSi said:
Elise rather than Exige for me. A more agile and focused machine.

£50k is easily 250 Cup territory.
There is a komotec 260 Elise Sprint in the classifieds, it sits beautifully. Not keen on the look of the cup aero, I understand it is functional on track. In my eyes, this sprint is one of the best (non S1) Elise I have seen.

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...


lee_erm

823 posts

140 months

Sunday 3rd November
quotequote all
I like the bit where the author suggests the Porsche will be reliable.

SidewaysSi

5,972 posts

181 months

Sunday 3rd November
quotequote all
Tickle said:
SidewaysSi said:
Elise rather than Exige for me. A more agile and focused machine.

£50k is easily 250 Cup territory.
There is a komotec 260 Elise Sprint in the classifieds, it sits beautifully. Not keen on the look of the cup aero, I understand it is functional on track. In my eyes, this sprint is one of the best (non S1) Elise I have seen.

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...
Love that car - great spec!

spikyone

378 posts

47 months

Monday 4th November
quotequote all
I had a discussion recently on a different site about exactly this proposition. For me, £50-£60k for a new sports is a really difficult price point, because it’s the exact point where you can get something far more exotic and interesting, with under 10k on the clock. I can’t think of a single new performance car I’d take at that money over something very lightly used.

How about an exotic Italian V8 as a joker - not directly comparable to the Alpine, but properly special:

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...



AmosMoses

3,468 posts

112 months

Monday 4th November
quotequote all
For me it would depend on what i wanted the car for.

A daily driver - Probably take the last gen Cayman GTS with PDK

High days and dry days - I'd have to stretch the budget for a manual 360

Track day hack - Have to be an Elise/Exige

£50-60k is a bloody fantastic place to buy a performance car at the minute

bcr5784

3,939 posts

92 months

Monday 4th November
quotequote all
spikyone said:
I had a discussion recently on a different site about exactly this proposition. For me, £50-£60k for a new sports is a really difficult price point, because it’s the exact point where you can get something far more exotic and interesting, with under 10k on the clock. I can’t think of a single new performance car I’d take at that money over something very lightly used.

How about an exotic Italian V8 as a joker - not directly comparable to the Alpine, but properly special:

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...
To choose a used exotic you'd have to ignore the running costs - even if it was something as "mainstream" as an R8. You are near to affording the purchase price of a used McLaren 12C - but would you risk it?

bcr5784

3,939 posts

92 months

Monday 4th November
quotequote all
AmosMoses said:
For me it would depend on what i wanted the car for.

A daily driver - Probably take the last gen Cayman GTS with PDK

High days and dry days - I'd have to stretch the budget for a manual 360

Track day hack - Have to be an Elise/Exige

£50-60k is a bloody fantastic place to buy a performance car at the minute
Agree. Only the Cayman or Evora are the same sort of car as the Alpine. I can't see you choosing any of the other options unless the Alpine wasn't the sort of car you wanted anyway.

spikyone

378 posts

47 months

Monday 4th November
quotequote all
bcr5784 said:
To choose a used exotic you'd have to ignore the running costs - even if it was something as "mainstream" as an R8. You are near to affording the purchase price of a used McLaren 12C - but would you risk it?
It probably depends what type of buyer you are. If you’re buying on PCP then you may not be able to afford running something like that GranTurismo or an R8. But if you’re buying outright you have £50k spare cash to buy a car, so you probably can afford the running costs. They don’t look too scary for the Maserati.

I think running costs really come into it if you’re looking at a “bargain supercar” - something older, higher mileage, and <£20k. For a nearly new 21st century car with 5k on the clock, where your initial outlay is £50k? None of the bills are going to be too frightening.

Dale487

1,037 posts

70 months

Monday 4th November
quotequote all
Of the cars here, I'd go for the R8 - manual and the perfect colour combination. And I'm a dyed in the wool Porsche nut.

But a 911 would make more sense, as there's space in the back for the kids.

bcr5784

3,939 posts

92 months

Monday 4th November
quotequote all
spikyone said:
They don’t look too scary for the Maserati.
Unless they break down. I have no personal experience but a neighbour finallly gave up on Maseratis because of reliability issues.