Geneva Motor Show: Alpine’s Revival


Is this the car that could finally topple the Porsche Cayman?

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Many of you reading this may have never heard of the name Alpine and are wondering why many people are getting rather excited about its return. Let me try and explain it for you before we get into the new Alpine A110.

Alpine dates back to the 1950’s, when Dieppe mechanic Jean Redele began racing Renault-engined lightweights with some success. After that he began creating his own lightweight road racers, called Alpines and using Renault engines and fibreglass bodies. The most famous Alpine was the A110 which helped win a 1-2-3 win in the Monte Carlo Rally in 1971. Renault then bought Alpine in 1973 but failed to capture the magic of the brand and it finally disappeared. This new car pays homage to the original A110 Alpine.

Now they are back (Still under Renault) and have finally unveiled their production ready car, the A110. No not the road, the car. First impressions are that it is an extremely handsome car. Following the path of the Fiat 500, it has many retro styling nods which hark back to the original such as the circular halo lights in the front of the car. However at certain angles, the rear looks slightly too long but that could be a different matter in the metal. The lights, front and rear are all LED and there is a little French flag on C-Pillar.

Engine wise and the A110 has a 1.8 litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine capable of producing 249bhp and 236lb ft. A seven-speed twin clutch paddle shift gearbox helps deliver the power to the road via the rear wheels. A top speed of 155mph is electronically limited while 0-62mph passes in only 4.5 seconds. That engine is also mounted in the middle of the car meaning it’s a rival for the Porsche 718 Cayman. Laughable, right? A small company from the past funded by Renault is aiming at one of the best driving cars in its class. Not so. It is lighter than the Porsche weighing in at just 1,080kg plus is reaches 62mph 0.1 seconds quicker than the more powerful Porsche (although the Porsche is 20mph faster)

It has three modes (Normal, Sport and Track) which can alter the engine and transmission responses as well as the stability control settings, steering weight and exhaust noise. The weight is split 44/56 and the fuel tank and engine both sit within the axles for a lower centre of gravity.  Alpine is serious about making this a competitor for the Cayman, it’s even priced similarly at roughly £50,000.

So you have a choice, this or the brilliantly engineered yet slightly dull Porsche 718 Cayman?  Tell us your choice below…

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