The Alpine A110 harks back to the World Rally Championship-winning car of 1973 with the same name. It’s still quick, still lightweight, but its interior quality is disappointing these days
In 1973, a small, French, two-seat rally car ripped to victory in the inaugural World Rally Championship, putting Alpine firmly back on the sports car map after its racing successes of the 50s and 60s. Now the Alpine A110 is back for 2018, staying true to the original recipe of the original’s lightness and mid-engine balance.
Indeed, the Alpine A110 has a turbocharged 1.8-litre petrol engine producing 252hp that sits just behind its two seats for better weight distribution and in turn improved handling. It drives the wheels through a standard seven-speed automatic gearbox – there’s no manual option.
The performance figures for the Alpine A110 are impressive for what is a relatively modest power output: 0-62mph in just 4.5secs and a limited top speed of 155mph. The secret? A kerbweight from just 1098kg.
Inside you’ll find plenty of bits from the Renault parts bin (the Alpine brand is owned by them) and if you’re used to the sort of quality in an Audi TT or Porsche 718 Cayman you’ll disappointed. That said, the design is at least striking, with leather sports seats, a sports steering wheel, digital driver’s display and red starter button all helping lift the mood.
In the centre of the dash sits the Alpine A110 infotainment system – a 7.0-inch touchscreen which features Bluetooth and sat-nav but doesn’t get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, instead relying on a smartphone integration app from Alpine. In truth, when car manufacturers think they can do better than Apple or Google on this front, it rarely goes well.
If you’re old enough to remember the A110 Berlinette of the 1970s you’ll be pleased to hear this new model also focuses on lightweight, mid-engined handling balance
Although there’s only one choice of engine and gearbox with the Alpine A110, you do get the choice of two trims: the entry-level and more driver-focused Pure and the more expensive Légende.
Pure cars get everything you’re likely to need including 17-inch alloy wheels, climate air-con and the 7.0-inch infotainment system. Because this is supposed to the more driver-focussed model, you get particularly lightweight sports seats as standard too.
Légende models up the luxury a bit, but replacing those bucket seats with a more comfortable and adjustable, heated set, an upgraded Focal audio system and an active sports exhaust among the extra features.