When Alpine – and parent company Renault – set about reviving the legendary brand, its main focus was to make a lightweight and engaging sports car. We’ve now driven a number of examples, both in Europe and the UK, and we’re pleased to report that they’ve largely succeeded. The Alpine A110 is a thoroughly engaging car to drive.
Tipping the scales at just 1,103kg, it’s much lighter than rivals like the Porsche 718 Cayman and Audi TT RS. As there’s less weight to pull around, it can make do with less power, too – the dinky 1.8-litre turbo petrol engine pales alongside the Audi’s 395bhp 2.5-litre five-cylinder unit. The Alpine’s motor isn’t as characterful as its German rival, but it sounds great, and it’s more fun to rev than the muted flat-four in the latest Cayman.
That low weight has huge benefits when it comes to handling. The double-wishbone suspension and strong Brembo brakes help with engagement, while the rear-mounted engine offers perfect balance. There’s even a flat underbody, which makes the car more stable at speed.
While some may criticise the fact the Alpine isn’t available with a manual gearbox (all cars come with a seven-speed DCT transmission), the small sports car feels hugely sophisticated and very fast.
There are three driving modes: Normal, Sport and Track, which alter the settings for the steering, exhaust, traction control and gearbox. You cannot change the settings for the suspension. But despite not offering adaptive dampers, the car flows beautifully over British roads. Grip is excellent, too.
Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed
There’s only one engine and gearbox combination, and while it lacks the power of rivals, it’s still a quick sports car.
Alpine suggests the A110 should sprint from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds, and our tests recorded a (0-60mph) time of 4.6 seconds. In a recent triple test against a Porsche 718 Cayman S and Audi TT RS, its German rivals completed the same dash in 3.9 seconds and 3.5 seconds respectively.
The Alpine’s low kerbweight means it is strong in gear, however. This also helps agility through tight bends. Every model is electronically limited to 155mph.