Alpine is a name you might not have heard of unless you’re into classic French cars or rallying, but owner Renault is bringing back the brand with a reinvention of its most famous model – the Alpine A110.
A small team has imagined how the two-seater sports car would look if it had stayed in production and it was now on its seventh incarnation with an updated engine, modern technology but hints of the original A110 Berlinette’s 1960s design.
The A110 gets a turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, which features 248bhp and 320Nm of Torque. It can race to 60mph in just 4.3 seconds and will carry on to a top speed of 156mph.
Despite its turbo, the A110 has sharp throttle response and a monstrous sound from the engine behind you. There’s only this engine and seven-speed DCT gearbox pairing available, however the car does come with three different modes if you want a more involved drive. By pressing the ‘Sport’ button on the steering wheel you can switch between Comfort, Sport and Track modes.
Ride & Handling
Sat inside the Alpine it appears like a stripped back lightweight, but take it on the road and the suspension setup keeps you gliding over bumps better than some family cars. This doesn’t impair the performance though, as you’ll find yourself pinned to the road around corners.
We were lucky enough to take the A110 out on track too, where the split personality of this car becomes clear. Arguably the steering could be tighter, but it’s unlikely you’ll find yourself need to corner bends quite like those on the Circuit du Grand Sambuc had to offer. On the winding trails we were driving in Provence, the car comes into its own with its ability to power around corners while smoothing out bumps in the road.
Interior & Equipment
The Alpine A110 appears lightweight inside, and the team of designers has stripped as much weight as they can out of the car. The materials inside also reflect this performance focussed style, with a microfiber material used on the basic bucket seats plus carbon fibre and aluminium accents used across the dash.
The A110 does get some special details too. As a nod to the classic version, the dash and dials have followed a similar design. On the door cars a ceramic French flag badge features and every car gets a plaque stating which number in the run of 1955 it is – significant because it’s the year the brand was launched.
You’ll recognise the infotainment system from Renault. Although it does work well it’s a little slow. However, it’s equipped with satellite navigation, Bluetooth, USB ports and radio. Space is quite limited though, as there’s no storage in the cabin and although there are two boots, both are pretty limited as you’d expect from a car of this size.
If you want an Alpine, you won’t be able to get hold of a Premier Edition new as they sold out within five days of going on sale. They cost €58,000, which works out as about £50,000 in the UK. That’s including all of the goodies we’ve mentioned.
According to the figures from Alpine, the A110 will produce 138g/km of CO2 and achieves 46.3mpg, which isn’t too shabby compared to rivals. However, that will still cost you £200 to tax.
If you’re looking for something a little more hardcore, you can wait until the end of next year when two new specification levels will be announced. The first is called Pure, and weigs in at only 1080kg. The second is Legende and offers a more GT feel with a plusher interior.
The Alpine is a truly fantastic car to drive. Relaunching a brand that’s so beloved and had such a successful history is always a dangerous game, but the team has hit the nail on the head. The A110 is a true drivers’ car and will put a smile on the face of even the coldest character.