ALPINE SCALP (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Sportscar enthusiasts will welcome back the Alpine brand and its first credible modern-era contender, the A110 coupe. Jonathan Crouch drives it
Ten Second Reviewword count: 40
Alpine is a name you might dimly remember. A French sportscar manufacturer long forgotten. Except that it's back. And this Renault-owned brand is gunning for class-leading performance coupes like Porsche's 718 Cayman and BMW's M2 with this car, the A110.
Backgroundword count: 144
Alpine has quite a history. So much so in fact that you might wonder why it took Renault so long to reinstate the marque in the sportscar sector. Founder Jean Redele created the marque to build lightweight, compact, highly agile sportscars, but the company has also been highly instrumental in Renault motorsport success, the Alpine-Renault team claiming the World Rally Championship manufacturers' title in 1973. In more recent road car terms, there's been little that's been properly Alpine-badged since the sleek GTA coupe of 1985, but in 2012, a joint venture with Caterham Cars was hatched to revive the brand. It was based around creating the design you see here, but Caterham pulled out of the project in 2014. Leaving Alpine to complete the task of bringing what has become this A110 model to market. Here, we take a look at the revised range.
Driving Experienceword count: 239
All A110 variants get a 1.8-litre turbocharged four cylinder engine mated to a quick-shifting 7-speed paddle-shift Getrag dual-clutch auto gearbox - there's unfortunately no manual option. The standard model offers 252hp, but you can also consider pricier 'GT' and more driver-focused 'S' and 'R' models, both of which use the same engine tuned out to 300hp. These top versions get a sports exhaust so you can hear it better and the 'S' and more lightweight 'R' feature a Sport chassis with recalibrated anti-roll bars and 50% stiffer coil springs. Across the range, as you'd expect, there's a driving modes system offering Normal, Sport and Race options. As for the figures, well rest to 62mph occupies 4.5s in the standard model (it's 4.2s with the 300hp variants) on the way to the 170mph top speed that all A110 models share. By comparison, a Porsche 718 Cayman manages 5.1s and 171mph. The aluminium body has a low centre of gravity - there's a near-perfect 44/56 front-to-rear weight distribution - and doesn't need the broad tyres that some rivals depend on for cornering vim. In the 'S' model, there are hollow lightweight anti-roll bars instead of solid heavy ones - one reason why the kerb weight of this car can dip beneath the 1,150kg mark. Armed with this information, you start to understand why the performance of this car betters its Cayman counterpart, even though this Alpine engine's output is much lower.
To see the full road test text contact us on 0330 0020 227
Pictures (high res disabled)
Scoring (subset of scores)
Category: Sporting Cars
|Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.|