Alpine A110 - Is it better than the Porsche Cayman?
The A110 is a lightweight two-seater sports car by a Renault-owned car manufacturer called Alpine. Alpine has resurrected the name of the A110 which was made famous in the Monte-Carlo Rally in 1973, where it won the first World Rally Championship. Alpine's mission statement was simple. To make a lightweight, fast and agile car that could stand up against the well-established giants. But that was then, what about now?
Alpine Retail Group UK invited us to drive the 'Premiere Edition' A110 on the roads of West London.
The return of the pretty little French sports car
1. It's as light as a feather
Weighing in at less than 1100 kg, the A110 is light. Really light. In fact, it's around 400 kg lighter than the Audi TT, and about 300 kg less than the Porsche Cayman. Alpine has achieved this remarkable lightness by constructing an all-aluminium body, as well as by employing a strict regiment of fat-shedding wherever possible. The seats in the A110 weigh just over 13 kg, almost half the weight of a standard sports seat. Alpine has used this tactic in almost every part of the car, resulting in a car that weighs slightly less than a Lotus Exige.
2. A tiny four-pot that thinks it's a straight-six.
The A110 uses the same turbocharged 1.8L four-cylinder engine that's found in the Renault Megane RS. This modest powerplant produces 250 horsepower and 320 Nm of torque, which gives it a top speed of 155 mph. Whilst these figures aren't particularly mind-blowing, don't forget that the A110 weighs virtually nothing. 0-60 mph in this car takes just 4.5 seconds which makes it quicker than the Porsche Cayman.
That's not all, fuel consumption is good too. In normal mode this car can achieve 35-45 mpg quite easily. That's a figure that some hot hatchbacks can't even manage.
For such a small engine, the exhaust note is loud and addictive. The engine start up noise resonates a deep, throaty, rumble throughout the cabin. As the A110 is mid-engined, you can feel the engine start up right behind you which adds a true sense of drama. This little French car sounds like it's packing a much larger engine thanks to its superb active-valve sports exhaust system.
Normal, sport and track mode are enabled through the use of a big red button that's found on the steering wheel. Sport and track mode increase the throttle response, as well as intensify the exhaust note to create an awesome experience.
3. It's bloody gorgeous
At every angle, the A110 looks absolutely stunning. From its athletic stance, to its plush interior, the Alpine is certainly a looker. It manages to stay petite in a world of cars that seem to increase in size with every generation. This pretty little French car is not only charming, but its quite possibly the best looking car in its category.
4. It's surprisingly comfortable
The A110 glides effortlessly over the bumpy, uneven roads of Britain. Surprisingly, the suspension is set up to be quite soft, this means that it's comfortable over speed bumps and potholes. Where most manufacturers opt for firm, sharp rides, Alpine has done the opposite and it's payed off.
It gets even better. The A110 has all the creature comforts you'd need for a pleasant journey. Despite its lightness, you still get air conditioning, sat nav, Bluetooth, and many other techy things that help keep the drive as comfortable and as effortless as possible. The seats offer tonnes of support and are soft yet firm which will make long journeys bearable.
An all-round double wishbone setup means that the A110 corners remarkably well. Combine that with the ultra-lightweight frame, and a track-hungry sports car is born.
5. Plenty of storage space
The A110 comes with two decent sized storage compartments. The rear boot can hold two rucksacks quite easily, whilst the front boot can manage two slightly larger weekend carry-on flight cases. However, storage space inside the cabin is very limited. There's only a small cubby-hole below the centre console which can hold something small like a phone or wallet, but not much else.
6. Who doesn't love an underdog?
Alpine has turned up to the mid-engined sports car party and shown the likes of Porsche and Audi what can be done when you save weight, soften a ride up and add a smaller engine. In the case of the A110, less really is more.
If you're in the market for a two-seater sports car you should definitely consider the A110. It ticks all the boxes required to not only make your hair stand on end, but to be comfortable enough to drive hundreds of miles to a mountain pass, to then attack it ferociously.
The 'Premiere Edition' is limited to just 1,955 models, which represents the year in which Alpine was originally founded. As standard comes the exciting active-valve sports exhaust, sport seats and a commemorative plaque with the car's build number on it. The Premiere Edition have all been sold now, but were priced at £51,805. The First model to roll off Alpine's production line in Dieppe sold for a whopping €90,000.
The 'Pure' is the most hardcore, track ready variant. Plush interior trims are ditched for lightweight carbon fibre. The Pure is said to capture the spirit of the Rallye Monte-Carlo winning A110 of the seventies. Priced from £46,905.
The 'Legende' is the most lavish trim that's available. It comes with a pair of comfortable six-way adjustable leather seats that are available in brown or black, along with a high-gloss carbon fibre interior trim. This model is best suited as a grand tourer, designed to effortlessly eat up road miles. Priced from £50,805.
Thanks to the Alpine Retail Group for giving us access to the spectacular A110
Check out the below websites for more information on the Alpine A110:
What are your thoughts on the A110? Let us know in the comments
Check out our review of the A110: