Alpine A110 (2020) - The return of the legend
The Alpine A110 sees the return of a former motor racing legend from yesteryear. It has been built following all of the principles which made its grandfather so revered and respected. It's super lightweight, at around 300kgs lighter than its main rivals the Audi TT RS and the Porsche Cayman. The A110 is designed and engineered to provide the best driving experience possible, both on the road and the track.
Alpine is a French manufacturer, specialising in sports and racing cars, was formed back in 1955. Alpine worked very closely with another French manufacturer, Renault, and together they forged a successful partnership. Over the years Alpine race cars went on to win several international events and were very heavily funded by Renault during this period. In 1973 the Alpine A110 1800 won the World Rally Championship, beating the likes of Porsche, Ford and Lancia. Due to the international fuel crisis in 1973, Alpine sales dropped at which point Renault stepped in and bailed them out via a takeover. As well as taking over Alpine, Renault had also taken over the Gordini tuning firm and decided to merge them and formed, as we still know it today RenaultSport.
Alpine cars continued to be manufactured until 1995 when Renault decided to drop the Alpine name. Now though, parent company Renault has decided to bring back this once world-famous sports car, with the Alpine A110 being reborn in 2017.
The new Alpine A110 maintains the same shape and style as old, but the engine is now mid-rear mounted sitting just behind the seats. To keep the weight to a bare minimum nearly all of the body and structure are made of aluminium. Wherever weight could be saved, Alpine/Renault have done it even down to the tiniest nut or bolt or wiring connections.
There are currently three trim levels available when selecting a new Alpine A110; there is the entry-level A110 Pure, then the A110 Legende and finally the top-spec A110S. There are currently two limited-edition models available, the A110 Legende GT and the A110 Color Edition.
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Engines, Power and Performance
There is only one engine, and it is a 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged unit, with two different power outputs depending on which model A110 you have chosen.
The A110 Pure and Legende get the lower power output of 252hp and 320Nm of torque. It may not sound like much in a car designed to take on rivals with significantly more power, but thanks to all of the weight-saving during the design process, it will sprint from 0-62mph in just 4.5secs and reach a top speed of 155mph.
The A110S receives an additional 40hp with total power now reaching 292hp, but torque remains the same at 320Nm. The extra power does bring the 0-62mph time down to 4.4secs and the top speed up to 162mph.
Each Alpine A110 variation comes with rear-wheel-drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT), with a pair of aluminium paddles either side of the steering column for changing gears manually if you feel the need to. The gear changing, whether in automatic or manual mode, are smooth, responsive and rewarding whatever style of driving you are doing.
The Alpine A110 excels way beyond most of its main rivals when it comes to handling capabilities and the thrill and excitement it brings to its driver and passenger. Alpine has kept things very simple with just three drive modes to choose from; Normal, Sport and Track. The A110 feels at home on the road or the track. The steering is light, balanced and sharp, allowing you to get maximum feedback when driving. As you change the settings up to Sport or Track, the steering becomes a little heavier but not ridiculously so and the suspensions firms just the right amount. The more you drive the A110, the more you will enjoy just how fabulous this car is, especially if you ever get the chance to unleash it on a track and try to reach its full potential.
Interior Quality and Technology
The interior of the A110 is gorgeous and elegant, yet minimalist and efficient; everything is in the perfect place and is very well built, using a good selection of quality materials such as leather and carbonfibre.
Each A110 comes with a colour digital information display in place of an analogue display cluster. The display will change its colour and information given depending on which driver mode you have selected. You also get a 7-inch colour touchscreen, which supports the Alpine infotainment system with features such as sat-nav, DAB Radio and MySpin mobile connectivity along with smartphone mirroring for iOS and Android devices.
If you take your Alpine to a track day, you can also record and review your track performance data to see how you did and where you could improve. The onboard Alpine telematics also allows the driver to see real-time information such as power and torque output, tyre and engine temperatures as well as turbo boost pressure. It feels like being part of an F1 team studying data looking where to improve for next time.
The seats are soft, comfortable and supportive, although if you are of a wider frame, it can be a bit of a squeeze to get in. The seats have a limited amount of adjustment, but there are optional seating selections available which do come with greater adjustability.
Space, Practicality and Safety
For such a small two-seater sports car, the Alpine A110 is surprisingly spacious inside which can be partly down to the fact that the firm's Managing Director (who happens to be around the 6'6" mark) made sure that he was able to fit. There is plenty of legroom and headroom thanks to low-mounted seats which can slide back.
There are a few storage compartments inside but nothing too impressive, just enough to store your essential items like a mobile phone, wallet and any other little oddments you may carry, along with a cupholder for your drink. The boot space is split into two sections. There is a small boot at the front and one in the rear. The boot in the front has a capacity of 100-litres while the rear boot compartment is 96-litres. Enough space for overnight luggage and ideal for a weekend break, but not for much else.
The Alpine A110 has not and will unlikely be safety tested by the Euro NCAP safety team. The A110 comes with plenty of safety features as standard though such as; Brake Assist, Hill Start Assist, Cruise Control, multiple airbags, parking sensors with optional rear-view camera and sports tyres and brakes.
The Alpine A110 is jumping in at the deep end against stiff opposition such as the Porsche and Audi, but I am pleased to say it passes with flying colours. It is one of the most enjoyable and memorable cars you will get to drive, so if you're thinking of buying a two-seater sports car then find a dealership with the Alpine A110 and take it for a test drive.