2020 Alpine A110 Sport
The Alpine A110 is one of the best sports cars currently on the market; the only car one James May bought last year out of all of the machines he got to test. And for good reason. The French midship pocket rocket that packs a 1.8-liter, turbocharged engine delivering 249 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque sent to the back wheels through a seven-speed automatic box benefits from an awesomely balanced chassis and sharp steering that make it a true driver’s car. Yes, there’s no manual on offer right now, but the car you see in these spy shots could be the answer to our prayers for more oomph as Renault could be hard at work developing a track-oriented version of the A110. We’re impatient!
When the Alpine A110-50 Concept broke cover in 2012, quickly followed by an Alpine-branded racing program in the European Le Mans Series and at Le Mans, we were wary at the prospect of a full-blown revival of the Alpine brand. You see, when Alpine was in its prime, the Renault-powered A110 1600 models were dominating the rally stages, and the car was a French symbol. Then, as years went by, Alpine kept its racing credentials by winning Le Mans outright in partnership with Renault but, on the road, the products moved away from the recipe that made the brand great. The A310 looked good, but the A610 of the ’80s and ’90s was just a cruiser. In a world of cars that get fatter by the day, pushed by safety regulations and the necessity to fill them to the brim with tech, we thought that a modern-day Alpine would just be a revival of the A610, an awkward, sluggish coupe that you either love or truly hate. Then we heard that it’ll be named ’A110’ and we crossed our fingers it won’t tarnish that legendary name.
Then, when the car finally saw the light of day we were left drooling at its styling. It evoked the original while still looking fresh and, most important of all, it was tiny. It looked smaller than even an Alfa 4C or a Porsche 718 Cayman - Renault’s benchmark when developing the A110 - and then people started driving the new Alpine, and the positive reviews started pouring. This time, though, it wasn’t a case of pundits getting together to give empty applause to a car that doesn’t deserve even a single-handed clap. No, the 2017 Alpine A110 is a well-sorted car that is deserving of the badge and of the heritage of the company founded by Jean Redele. A hotter version can only translate in a general tremble across the board from Audi’s TT to Porsche’s Cayman and everything in between.