Alpine A110 Review
The revived Alpine sports car has the performance to match a Porsche - but it's no cheaper
Strengths & weaknesses
Reviving an old marque can often be a risky proposition for a car company, but Renault’s decision to bring back the Alpine name is inspired.
The first car bearing the name is the A110, is a sports car that, right off the bat, is a serious rival for the Porsche Cayman and Audi TT RS. To hit the ground the running like that is a real achievement.
It certainly looks the part, with its modern reinterpretation of the A110 Berlinette of the 60s and 70s. The smooth, sleek and sculpted surfaces are every inch a sports car, while details such as the twin headlights and a wraparound rear screen offer a real distinctiveness.
The cabin is a lovely pace to sit, cocooned by quilted leather and carbon fibre trim, while the sports seats – whichever version buyers opt for when choosing their trim level – hold the two occupants in place perfectly, even when cornering quickly. The A110 is a proper sports car, so it's only a two-seater, while there’s not a great deal of luggage space – a 100-litre boot up front and 96 litres at the rear. There’s not much in the way of in-cabin storage, either.
The A110 is a car that is meant to be driven, so its engineering will come under close scrutiny by anyone who sits behind the wheel. It’s scrutiny that will be met with impressive credentials. This is a beautifully balanced, agile, grippy car with bags of potential for fun – much more than can be legally found on the UK’s roads. It responds sharply to steering inputs, its low centre of gravity ensures stability, while at the same time it magically rides incredibly comfortably. The Cayman is a fantastic car to drive, but the A110 matches it, corner for corner, bend for bend, straight road for straight road.
And once you throw into the mix an engine with genuine performance and a really involving character – prod the throttle pedal and it makes a wonderful snarling sound that belies its 1.8-litre nature – you get a truly remarkable car that will reward the owner every time they drive it.
Alpine A110 Engines
There’s just one engine variant available in the A110, a 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit available with either 252hp or 300hp. It's quick, snarly and responsive, offering plenty of off-the-line pace as well as impressive in-gear acceleration. It certainly doesn’t give up any speed to the Porsche 718 Cayman, which is hugely impressive. The seven-speed automatic gearbox also offers quick and smooth gear changes, with paddle shifters giving drivers the option of becoming more involved.
And even with its hugely impressive performance, the A110 still manages to officially return 42mpg on the combined cycle and 152g/km of CO2 emissions.
Alpine A110 Trims
The Pure trim is focused on performance, so it's more minimalist and stripped-out, with lightweight seats, 17-inch alloys, matt carbon fibre casing on the interior, driving mode selector with three driving modes – Normal, Sport and Race – air-conditioning, sat-nav, smartphone connectivity, and front and rear LED lights.
The Légende version is more GT-oriented, with an emphasis on refinement, so the seats have six-way adjustability, high-gloss carbon fibre interior trim, 18-inch alloys, park assist, rear parking camera, two-colour wheel rims and an audio system with more features.
The limited-edition Première Edition includes 18-inch aluminium wheels, active sports exhaust, carbon fibre interior accents, brushed aluminium pedals and leather-trimmed sports seats.
More recently, the A110 has been available in standard A110 guise - capable of 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds - and A110 GT and A110 S which are both 0.3s quicker to 62mph. Regardless of model, every A110 comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.