The Alpine A110 was officially unveiled in Geneva. Here is everything you should know about the French pocket rocket, including power figures, top speed and why it could be one of the most exciting cars this year.
Geneva Motor Show 2017: Alpine who? Let’s be honest, we can forgive you for being unaware of the name. The Dieppe-based French manufacturer last built a car in 1991 and four years later production ceased entirely.
But Alpine is back and has been working on a car since 2012, which is called the A110 – the same name as the 1962 model. The A110 was actually Alpine’s second car – here are 10 reasons the new version matters and how it compares with its key rivals.
1) Alpine A110: What is it?
It is a two-seater sports car that could be compared with the Toyota GT86, but the price, performance figures and no-nonense ethos put it within the sights of the lairy Alfa Romeo 4C. At just 4,178mm long, 1,798mm wide and 1,252 tall, it is a relatively dinky car.
2) Alpine A110: What engine powers it?
Let’s not pretend it packs a small punch though, because its Renault-Nissan developed 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine makes 252hp and 236lb/ft (320Nm) of torque. Enough to propel it from 0-62mph in as little as 4.5 seconds. As for the top speed, an electronic limiter stops it from breaching 155mph.
3) Alpine A110: Why so fast?
Let’s be fair, you get the power of an old Nissan Skyline in a car that weighs nothing. Thanks to a kerb weight (not a dry weight) of just 1,080kg, the Alpine A110 has a power-to-weight ratio of 233hp per tonne. A Getrag wet clutch seven-speed DCT automatic also plays a role in getting it moving. Yeah, no manual is a bit odd but we will reserve judgment for now.
4) Alpine A110: So it should handle rather well?
With a small amount of weight at the mercy of physics, weight distribution of 44 per cent front and 56 per cent rear and a low centre of gravity, the Alpine A110 is going to leave most cars for dust in the bends. Alpine became famous for conquering mountain roads – the name says it all – so we have high hopes (sorry) it will rock (sorry again).
5) Alpine A110: How does it weigh so little?
Being small helps, as does the fact it uses a special rear brake system with an integrated parking brake actuator. Not only is it a world-first, it saves 2.5kg. The 18-inch forged alloys, meanwhile, are of the lightweight variety ;and the one-piece bucket seats are just 13.1kg apiece.
6) Alpine A110: What about the styling?
Those round lights are a tasteful nod to the original A110 Berlinette and are of the LED variety. Then there is X-shaped rear light design, sloping rear windscreen and retro side profile, all of which help it stand out without being gaudy. We approve from just about every angle.
7) Alpine A110: Does it have a nice interior?
From the looks of things, very much so. Not that beating the 4C will be too difficult anyway, but Porsche is another potential rival. But then a generous portion of natural grain leather, aluminium, carbon fibre and what Alpine calls a ‘welcoming, comfortable driving position’ will help it keep pace with the Cayman and Boxster.
8) Alpine A110: What is the Premiere Edition?
Alpine is offering an A110 Premiere Edition for early punters. The 1,955 car run (a not-so-subtle reference to the year Jean Rédélé launched Alpine) includes an Alpine-tuned Focal sound system, active sports exhaust, 18-inch Otto Fuchs alloys, aluminium pedals, performance braking system, numbered plaque and a choice of Alpine Blue, Noir Profond (black) and Blanc Solaire (white) paintjobs.
9) Alpine A110: When can I buy it?
Formal orders will begin to be taken in ‘mid-2017’ and Alpine says to expect ‘several’ trim levels and a ‘wide range of personalisation options’ to make each A110 that little bit more special. And more expensive, obviously.
10) Alpine A110: How much money do I need to throw at Alpine?
So here we are at the million dollar question: how much does it cost? Well, it’s not a million dollars, but it is going to make the GT86 and BRZ look very cheap. Prices start from €58,500 in France. A UK price and launch is set for 2018, while European deliveries begin in late 2017.