What is it?
The Alpine A110 is one of a small handful of cars to have earned itself a coveted Autocar five-star road test verdict in 2018. A perfect rating doesn’t necessarily indicate a car that cannot in any way be improved, however, and it is with that view of things that Gloucestershire tuning company Litchfield Motors has turned its considerable expertise and resource to the development of its own A110.
Litchfield’s assessment of the factory-specification Alpine included a trip in August to the Nurburgring, where in the words of company founder Iain Litchfield the A110 was ‘amazing, but a touch road-biased to be really effective on circuit’. In time he and his engineers will develop a suspension package for the car, an exhaust system and perhaps even offer a limited-slip differential to replace the standard open differential.
The first upgrade Litchfield has made available to customers, though, is an engine remap that costs £995 (before VAT) and increases power output from the 1.8-litre turbo engine to 300bhp and torque to 298lb ft.
Those are gains of 51bhp and 62lb ft of torque. When you factor in the very lightweight construction of the A110, those gains are actually more substantial than they first appear. They are enough, in fact, to bump its power to weight ratio up from 226bhp/tonne to 273bhp/tonne. The Porsche 911 Carrera S that will bow out in the next few months has exactly the same power to weight figure, which means a remapped A110 is no longer merely a quick car, but a very rapid one indeed.
Litchfield is more concerned with the quality of the remap and how well it works out on the road than the raw numbers themselves. In testing the engineers had stretched the four-cylinder motor all the way out to a peak torque output of 330lb ft, but Litchfield reckoned that much shove made the car ‘undriveable’, so it’s been pegged back. The cost of the remap also includes a warranty, Litchfield saying he’s confident the engine is still working well within itself even at this higher state of tune.