Big news when Renault announced in 2016 that it would get its famous, sporty daughter ‘Alpine’ out of the freezer and bring her back to life. The plan was to do this with a modern interpretation of the original A110, the car that put Alpine on the map. Now that we have tested the ‘A-one-ten’ we realise that this was the perfect plan.
Imagine driving a fancy sportscar that reminds you of a rallystar from the seventies… but then with modern comfort. Not bad, eh? But even better is driving a fancy sportscar with a limited edition number just because it makes you feel special. That’s exactly the feeling we got when testdriving the new A110. We received lots of thumbs up. It’s clear that this car amazes people and arouses a lot of interest.
It makes sense. Not only is this a brand new car of a manufacturer that has been asleep for the past two decades, from this so-called ‘Premiere Edition’, only 1,995 cars are made. Our car of the day is number 1.689 from 1,995 pieces, a number chosen for the year Alpine was founded.
The limited edition number is mentioned on a metal plate under the middle tunnel and not on the sills as you would expect.
A more important thing by which this new A110 will be judged, of course, is its resemblance to one of the most distinctive sports cars of all times: the A110 Berlinette of 1961, designed by the great Giovanni Michelotti. The legendary blue paint and small proportions mimic the original A110, the car that put Alpine on the map. We personally adore the beautiful double headlights.
Knowing that Alpine designed this model to compete with the Audi TT and the Porsche Cayman 718 we must admit that this car feels much lower and is much more difficult to get in and out. However the support of the the Sabelt sports seats is amazing and though the adjustment of the seats and the steering wheel is quite basic (just back and forward) the car has a great driving position.
Inside the leather on the dashboard and doors is of great quality and combines classy with the blue stitching.
Furthermore we find carbon-fibre trim, a touchscreen infotainment system, digital instruments, climate control and some storage compartments behind the engine in the back (small storage) and in the nose (bigger storage), however they both are rather small.
Storage in the back.
The storage in the front is bigger. The blue file is A4.
In terms of every day use there is no glove compartment, nowhere a place to put a drink – but Alpine says it will have an accessory sorted soon – and the view out of the small rear window is pretty poor. But as Alpine is resolute in its findings that this is a car for everyday use, we continue to discover.
It doesn’t take long behind the steering wheel to realise that Alpine has created something special. Indeed, with its 1.8-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder mid-engine (a tuned Renault-Nissan block) with 252 hp, a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox, Brembo brakes and quite narrow Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, this light rear-wheel drive sports car (1,080 kilo) is fun to drive at any speed. The A110 flows down winding country roads with ease the long-travel suspension soaking up undulations. Yet there’s little body roll, because there’s relatively little mass to contain. The Alpine A110 weighs about 400 kilos less than the Porsche Cayman 718 and this without any carbon-fibre in the chassis construction. Because this would have raised the price of the car, Alpine chose a structure in aluminium.
For driving we can choose out of three different modes. We use the Normal mode for driving around town or cruise along a motorway in comparative calm. The ride comfort is something of a revelation. When we switch to Sport the powertrain comes alive, responding with adequate urgency.
For those who want to go on track, there is a Track mode, which we unfortunately couldn’t try out but on the other hand we were very happy to hand in this exceptional limited edition car after our test drive without any scratch. Our average fuel consumption? 6,1 litres/100 km.
The Alpine A110 is a very lively car, capable of accelerating to 100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds and though you quickly get the sense of speed, the engine is nothing special, especially in a car costing 58,800 euro (for Belgium). On the other hand the A110 is refreshingly different so if you want to distinguish yourself from all the Porsches on the road…
This Première Edition was sold out in five days, so we are allready looking forward to the next models. More info on this site. Just type Renault Alpine in the search area on this site.