It has already been more than two years since Alpine released its 2017 version of the Alpine A110. The Renault owned two-seater is designed with the 1960’s design spirit of the A110 of that time kept in mind. Here is everything you need to know about the Alpine A110 of today, and a little bit more.
Let’s start of with the looks of this mid-engine sports car. Especially when the deep blue edition really catches the eye. It looks sporty from all sides, with friendly looking headlights, and fast-looking contour lines.
The twin-headlights, overall contour, and even the short looking backside are an obvious inspiration from the Alpine A110 Berlinette that was produced in the sixties.
Even though the Alpine brand falls under the Renault brand, the Renault logo is nowhere to be found on both the interior and exterior of the sportscar. What can be found are small blue-white-red bagdes representing the French heritage that the brand carries.
Price-wise the Alpine A110’s competitors are Prosche’s 718 Cayman, the Alfa Romeo 4C, Audi TT (RS), and maybe even the Nissan 370Z falls into the same category.
The length of the A110 is with 4180 millimeters almost 20 centimetres shorter than the Porsche 178 Cayman.
The interior of the Alpine A110 is kept simple and fits the sports car well. The dash is curved and not too high, such that it offers a broad view of the road. Some interior parts are made of carbon fibre, most parts consist of simple plastic, which reminds of Renault’s Clio interior. Sadly the interior is considered to feel cheaply made, and some elements, like the centre console are even a bit wobbly and do not seem to be fixed really well.
Other design choices in the interior seem out of place as well, especially in a sportscar which’ exterior looks so luxurious and professional. One of the elements which can be improved in the car interior is storage space. The passenger-side does not offer a glove compartment, and actually the only convenient thing one would use on a daily commute is a small cupholder that is moved to an inconvenient spot. Furthermore, the colour of the start-stop button is in-between orange and red, and the steering wheel is only partly covered in alcantara leather. Not all is bad in the A110. The pedals look and feel fancy, being made of metal, and the infotainment system is good enough for a sportscar. All these details can make the car seem odd, or rushed, but as soon as you start driving the car, you find out the opposite is true…
All the design choices discussed are based on one important requirement: weight reduction. With a weight of only 1098 kilograms it can absolutely be considered a lightweight car. The aluminium body parts, lack of unnecessary details and smart designs to reduce weight make this car a pleasure to drive. One example of a smart weight reduction design implemented is the fact that the handbrake is incorporated with the regular brakes, which saves about 2.5 kg of weight. Another example is the simplicity of the sports seats installed in the car. This saves an additionally 13 kg in the car.
The seats itself are not that adaptable at all, but the distance to the steering wheel and the height are, which makes it comfortable for most drivers, even the tallest petrolheads around us could comfortably be seated in the A110. Another oddity in the Alpine that can be easily explained is the weird placement of the cruise-control button. It is placed on the mid console, just next to the parking brake. But it makes sense, considering the focus of this car is on performance, and not the cruising of day to day use.
When driving the Alpine A110 you really notice how the fact that the car is lightweight comes to use. The combination of the subtle suspension that is not too stiff and the light weight of the car makes it exciting to drive. With the engine mounted in the centre and the centre of gravity being just slightly focused on the back gives the car even more of a sports car experience, and the car is obviously able to handle a track day just fine.
Equipped with a 1.8 litre turbo engine this little car produces 250 horsepower and has a 0 to 60 time of 4.5 seconds. The gearbox could use some improvement or tweaks, because the downshift feels a bit odd and slow. The placement of the shifting pedals is quite high, which makes downshifting difficult when taking a left corner, and up-shifting is not easy when taking a right corner with your hands on the steering wheel.
One of the questions that some critics always find themselves wondering is, can I use this car as a daily driver? The answer is a bit complicated.
Yes, of course you can use this car as a daily driver, but it comes with some compromises. Let’s start with the seats. The sports seats are not adjustable, so you should really test whether the seats fit your body before buying this car. On the other hand, the car offers quite some space for your legs and head, so as long as the seat is good enough for you, the car can be used to travel longer distances. The subtle suspensions makes that the car is comfortable to drive, even on bad roads.
If you are planning on making a lot of hands free business calls there are two things you should keep in mind: first of all, the car can be quite noisy (it is a sports car after all), and secondly, the built in infotainment system is a bit simplistic and does not work smoothly with all smartphones.
The storage space of the A110 is also not a lot. The small trunk under the bonnet offers about 100 litres of storage, and the trunk in the back also only stores about 100 litres, and the shape of this compartment is somewhat inconvenient. It will be fine for a briefcase for you and one passenger, but don’t expect to take a skiing holiday’s worth of bags on a trip.
Potential buyers of Renaults owned Alpine A110 will not buy it because it is the most practical two seater for it’s price, or for the comfort it offers you. No, the Alpine is simply a lot of fun to drive. The car is quick, looks good and is definitely unique.