These three cars are not just made to get you from point A to point B. They have a special mission to cause the brain to release endorphins at every turn and every acceleration. The Alpine A110 S challenges the more powerful BMW M2 CS and Porsche 718 Cayman GT4. Photo: Quattroruote.
Before shouting that it is a sacrilege to put an Alpine with only 292 hp next to two beasts over 400, it must be said that driving pleasure is not measured in dry numbers. A car in the sports segment is not a simple means of transport, but an instrument that offers special sensations, which must be enjoyed in the same way as we enjoy a good wine or a special food.
The right route
On a road without traffic, full of turns and with an amazing view, we can really appreciate what such a car has to offer. The senses sharpen and perceive exactly what the car is communicating. The body is embraced by the carbon fiber seat, through which the mechanical vibrations seem to speak. The body rests firmly on the side panels and you can understand exactly how effective the tires are for the car to cling to the asphalt. The steering becomes a tool of communication between the wheels and the hands, being a valuable source of information.
Pleasure consists in entering into symbiosis with an instrument over a hundred years old and in the fact that each mental input is transformed into a mechanical act according to your precise desire. Then there is the sound, which each of the three actors present today interprets differently. However, the ultimate goal is the release of endorphins from the brain. Ergo, generating pure emotions.
Why Alpine A110 S?
That’s why you don’t need exorbitant powers to enjoy it all. Of course, a large stud farm is precious and everyone wants more horsepower. But their number is just one member of the orchestra where everyone has to play flawlessly for the audience to applaud. Therefore, in this test where the exuberant models from Porsche and BMW stand out, we wanted to include an Alpine A110 S. Because we were sure that the figures of this model (about 30,000 euros cheaper and a power difference from 128 to 158 hp) would have passed into the background thanks to his dynamic abilities.
Thus, we have before us the most sporty version of the Alpine brand, a brand already loved by the new Renault CEO, Luca de Meo. This year, the Alpine brand will make its Formula 1 debut, with driver Fernando Alonso at the wheel. The Alpine A110 S model does not have specific elements to highlight it, but the French sedan comes with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder turbo engine, powered by 40 hp and a rigid body. In addition, we have stiffer anti-roll bars on both the front and rear axles, 50% firmer shock absorbers and wider tires. It seems small, but, I assure you, it is enough. We have already appreciated the qualities of the basic version, extraordinarily pleasant to drive due to its rigid aluminum body and low weight (just over 1200 kg), combined with the rear propulsion and the engine mounted in the central position.
➡ Alpine becomes 100% electric
The only defect of the normal A110 is the roll and balance of the body, which penalizes driving at the limit. With the S variant, things change – the body movements have been limited, and the few extra horsepower helps. The 1.8 turbo engine also brings a specific idling sound, a sound reminiscent of the rumble of carburetor engines.
After the first turns in which we felt the increased grip and overall balance of the body, we realized that a more powerful engine could be used at any time without damaging the harmony offered by the Alpine A110 S.
A situation identical to that of the Porsche 718 Cayman, with which the French model shares the technical solution. In the present case, Cayman is represented by GT4, the most specialized version, with 420 hp available. They are supplied by a suction boxer engine with six cylinders. When it reaches 8000 rpm, its sound should pass alongside the great masterpieces of contemporary music. It sends shivers all over your body and somehow forces you to always keep the propeller in turns.
BMW M2 CS – the most powerful
The feeling is even more pronounced when you get off the CS, the most extreme version of the BMW M2, which stands out instantly between the three cars present. It is the only car of the three that does not need more power. 450 hp and 550 Nm are more than enough and, more importantly, they are present throughout the speed range. The 3-liter in-line six-cylinder engine is explosive, resilient and becomes stout when the tachometer needle rises with extraordinary progression.
➡ BMW, ready to ban thermal engines 💡
But to have a perfect package, you would need a manual gearbox, like the one from Cayman. The Bavarian six-speed gearbox seems to have rubber gears and is not as fast when you want to change gears. Moreover, the BMW gearbox does not require mastery of the “heel-and-toe” technique, the brand’s engineers allocating the synchronization of the car’s electronics speed. Porsche has a similar system, which activates when the Auto Blip button is pressed. If you are not part of the “save the manual” movement, both models offer dual-clutch automatic gearboxes as an alternative. Alpine offers only automatic transmission, which works very well, especially in downshifts, where it accepts a gear even at high speeds, when the audible warning becomes useful for approaching the speed limiter.
Instead of a verdict
The dynamic part is the source of the major satisfactions offered by this trio of aces. All are performance-oriented (BMW is still the most comfortable of the three), and the differences come from the technical solutions chosen.
BMW M2 CS is the classic version, with front engine and rear-wheel drive, but also a fairly large total weight of over 1600 kg. As a result, it cannot achieve the agility offered by Alpine and Porsche. But that doesn’t mean it’s less fun. On the road, it is perhaps the most enjoyable model, especially for those who prefer a certain driving style. The one where you don’t use the steering wheel as much as the accelerator pedal. And the level of electronic assistance can be set either in the libertine MDM mode, or completely off.
➡ Test Porsche Taycan 💡
With a lower center of gravity and an almost perfect weight distribution, Alpine and Porsche promote precise and clean driving. Overtaking must be caused, especially in the case of the French model, and the strong point of both models is the speed with which they can change the direction of travel and how they can negotiate a turn, quickly and without unnecessary oversteer. The feeling of the one behind the wheel is that it floats, while the grip offered is excellent. Both cars have rigid suspensions, but Porsche has the advantage of an adjustable suspension.
|TECHNICAL DATA||Alpine A 110S||BMW M2 CS||Porsche 718 Cayman GT4|
|Model||1.8 turbo 292 hp||3.0 turbo 450 hp||4.0 boxer 420 hp|
|Engine / no. cylinder||L4, turbo||L6, bi-turbo||B6, aspirated|
|Maximum power / speed (hp / rpm)||292/6400||450/6250||420/7600|
|Maximum torque / speed (Nm / rpm)||320 / 2000-6400||550 / 2350-5500||420 / 5000-6800|
|Gearbox||automatic, 7 steps||manual, 6 steps||manual, 6 steps|
|L x W x H||4180 x 1798 x 1248||4461 x 1871 x 1414||4456 x 1801 x 1269|
|Luggage compartment volume (l)||100/96||390||150|
|Empty mass (kg)||1189||1625||1495|
|Acceleration 0-100 km / h (s)||4.4||4.2||4.4|
|Top speed (km / h)||260||280||304|
|Mixed consumption (l / 100 km)||7.2||9.9||11.1|
|CO2 emissions (g / km)||163||226||251|
|0-60 km / h (s)||2.4||1.6||1.9|
|0-100 km / h (s)||4.7||4.0||3.9|
|0-130 km / h (s)||7.0||6.2||5.7|
|0-200 km / h (s)||16.1||13.5||12.7|
|1 km starting from place (s)||22.3||22.0||21.5|
|70-90 km / h||2.5||4.3||4.3|
|70-120 km / h||4.6||8.3||9.9|
|Braking from 100 km / h|
|Empty, cold (m)||39.8||37.7||36.0|
|The 90/100/130 km / h (l / 100 km)||5.8 / 6.2 / 7.8||8.2 / 8.4 / 10.6||7.5 / 8.2 / 10.5|
|In the city / national road / highway (l)||8.77 / 6.71 / 7.57||11.7 / 9.3 / 10.2||13.6 / 9.0 / 10.1|
|Test consumption (l / 100 km)||6.71||11.7||11.1|
|Measured mass (kg)||1221||1659||1541|
|At 50 km / h (dBA)||62.5||53.7||67.7|
|At full acceleration||77.6||86.2||92.5|
|Price (euro with VAT)||nc||nc||nc|