Alpine A110: Cayman-beating coupe will land in UK in 2018
Alpine has confirmed that UK deliveries of its Cayman-rivalling A110 sports car will commence during the second quarter of 2018.
An almost-forgotten French manufacturer that’s actually owned by Renault, Alpine’s return has been eagerly anticipated by sports car aficionados since the A110 was revealed in 2016. This is its first new car for two decades.
You may be in for a bit of a wait if you want one though; all 1,955 Premiere Edition models were snapped up in less than five days, and the standard car is likely to be in high demand too. So what’s all the fuss about?
For starters, a lightweight rear-engine, rear-drive coupe is always going to be a blast, but this being the first Alpine in more than 20 years also goes someway to explaining its popularity.
Design-wise, the look is directly inspired by the World Rally Championship-winning A110 Berlinette of the 1960s. The twin headlights give a nod to that 50-year old design, as does the curved rear screen and droopy front end.
The interior, however, is far less retro, with Alpine’s images showing a modern, angular cabin with a digital instrument display, steering wheel-mounted controls and an automatic transmission with paddle shift.
And now for the important stuff…A perky 249bhp 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine should make it every bit as enjoyable to drive as its 60s forebear. With a 0-62mph time of 4.5 seconds, the smart-looking coupe will be rear-wheel-drive only and features a seven-speed DCT gearbox.
It has three driver modes (Normal, Sport, Track) in which the engine and gearbox settings, steering, ESC, exhaust note and driver display are adapted to suit the driving conditions (and the driver’s mood).
The light weight of the A110, combined with double wishbones front and rear, provide a rare combination – excellent handling and performance while at the same time offering great ride comfort and daily usability.
It features 44:56 weight distribution – perfect for a mid-engined sports car. This means the A110 is perfectly balanced in cornering and the driver feels at one with the car at all times.
Laurent Hurgon, chief test and development driver, added: “What is most important for me is that you don’t have to be a racing driver to enjoy the A110 and you don’t have to drive very quickly for it to be thrilling. It is also very comfortable to drive every day. For more experienced drivers, though, its performance is at a very high level.
“The A110 is a road car, but because it is so light and agile it is very good to drive on the race track as well. You can use this car to drive to work, to have fun on some mountain roads and also on the circuit.”
The Alpine’s stats and size makes it the perfect Porsche Caymen rival – its 229bhp per ton power-to-weight ratio is just a little more than a standard 718 (225bhp per ton). It’ll be a bit pricier than the Porsche however, thanks to a list price closer to £50,000 than £40,000.
While it perhaps doesn’t carry the same cache as the Porsche, it really doesn’t seem to have put people off, if the order books are anything to go by. We’ll bring you more info and leasing rates as soon as they’re available.