The Alpine brand returns with a sports car aimed at the mighty Porsche 718 Cayman

It took Renault about three years to transform the 2012 Alpine A110-50 Concept into a production-friendly vehicle, and the road-ready sports car is finally ready to hit the market. Come 2017 and the French company relaunched the Alpine brand at the Geneva Motor Show. As expected, the production model shares many design features with the concept cars Alpine showcased in recent years. The most recent of them is dubbed Alpine Celebration Concept and broke cover ahead of the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was featured again a couple of weeks later in the year at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and looked ready to hit the streets with minor modifications here and there.

As the name suggests, the Celebration Concept celebrated six decades since Alpine was established in Dieppe, France. Also, it pays homage to the classic 1961 -1973 Alpine A110, a sports car the French built from 1961 to 1977. Introduced as an evolution of the A108, the two-door "Berlinette" was designed by Giovanni Michelotti and used a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. Among being Alpine’s most iconic model, the A110 was also a successful race car, winning the manufacturer’s title at the end of 1973 World Rally Championship. All told, the new Alpine has a lot of heritage to build on and this is more than evident in the final production model.

Continue reading to learn more about the new Renault Alpine.

Exterior

2017 Renault Alpine A110 High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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The production model is heavily based on the Celebration Concept.

Although it sports a more down-to-earth exterior design, the production model is heavily based on the Celebration Concept. While the overall shape remained true to the concept, the stylish wheels, the slender side mirrors, the flashy livery, and the orange covers hiding the headlamps are gone.

Besides actual headlamps and fog lamps with LED technology, the Alpine’s production front also features a revised bumper with minor differences. In spite of that, the Alpine kept its sporty stance and classic A110 cues, including the hood, the nose, and the Porsche-style vents just under the rear glass.

2017 Renault Alpine A110 High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Renault Alpine Celebration Concept
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Exterior comparison production model with Celebration Concept

The A110 is also unexpectedly compact. At 163.4 inches, it's 8.6 inches shorter than the Porsche Cayman.

Around back, the X-shaped LED taillights with dynamic turn indicators give the car a highly modern look, while the sloping, wrap-around rear screen reminds me of Alpine’s past models. A diffuser based on that of the concept and a large, center-mounted exhaust complete the vintage-inspired, yet modern design.

The A110 is also unexpectedly compact. At 163.4 inches, it’s 8.6 inches shorter than the Porsche Cayman. On the other hand, it’s not the shortest car in this niche, as the Alfa Romeo 4C comes in at a very compact 157 inches.

2017 Renault Alpine A110 High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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2017 Renault Alpine A110 High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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2017 Renault Alpine A110 High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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2017 Renault Alpine A110 High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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Production kicks off with the Premier Edition, which adds a few extra features on the outside. For instance, color choices are limited to Alpine Blue, Noir Profond (black), and Blanc Solaire (white), while the 18-inch forged aluminum wheels in matte black finish are exclusive to this versions.

2017 Renault Alpine A110 High Resolution Exterior
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1961 - 1973 Renault Alpine A110
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Exterior comparison model with original A110

COMPETING DESIGNS

2017 Porsche 718 Cayman
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2014 Alfa Romeo 4C High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Alpine is primarily aimed at the Porsche 718 Cayman.

The Alpine is primarily aimed at the Porsche 718 Cayman, one of the oldest sports cars in this niche. Updated for the 2016 model year, when it also received a "718" badge, the current Cayman (left) is a sportier proposition as far as design goes. The body has a sleeker, almost supercar-like shape compared to Alpine’s more traditional approach, while the 911-inspired cues give it a unique look you can’t find anywhere else in this segment. Another option is the Alfa Romeo 4C (right), which marked the company’s return to sports car manufacturing as well as spearheaded its comeback to the U.S. The 4C also stands out for its supercarish looks, especially the swoopy roofline and styling cues inspired by the classic Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale. Design-wise, the 4C is hard to beat. Sure, styling is a matter of choice and the Alpine is a gorgeous little sports car, but both the 4C and the Cayman have a somewhat exclusive look that the French firm can’t deliver.

Porsche 718 Cayman Alfa Romeo 4C Renault Alpine
Wheelbase (Inches) 97.4 93.7 95.23
Length (Inches) 172.4 157 164.48
Height (Inches) 50.4 46.6 49.29
Width (Inches) 78.5 73.5 70.78
Track Front/Rear (Inches) 60.1/60.5 64.5/63.1 61.25/61.14

Interior

2017 Renault Alpine A110 High Resolution Interior AutoShow
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Alpine didn’t have much to say about the A110’s interior, but a quick look at the photos reveals the kind of modern, driver-oriented cabin every sports car should have. The layout is pretty much simple in the dashboard area with a clean passenger side and a couple of race-inspired gauge clusters behind the steering wheel. The center stack is a bit more crowded with the infotainment screen in the upper section and various control bellow. I think Alpine could have done a better job here to keep things cleaner, but it’s not that bad overall. Below, the center console, which clearly separates the driver’s cockpit from the passenger area, includes the "Drive," "Neutral," and "Revers" buttons of the automatic transmission, and a "Start/Stop" button among other features.

As far as materials go, the A110 is clearly on the premium side, even in base trim. Although there are numerous plastic surfaces, they seem smooth and soft. The seats and the steering wheel come wrapped in natural-grain leather, while some elements are crafted from aluminum. The door panels, which have a simple, lightweight design, have accents that match the exterior paint. There’s also contrast stitching, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and sports pedals, while the seats have motorsport-inspired bolstering.

2017 Renault Alpine A110 High Resolution Interior AutoShow
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A quick look at the photos reveals the kind of modern, driver-oriented cabin every sports car should have.

The options list, as well as the initial Premiere Edition, include an Alpine-tuned Focal audio system, matte carbon-fiber accents, brushed aluminum pedals, quilted Sabelt seats, and "tricolore" (blue, white and red) badges). The numbered "Premiere Edition" plaque on the center console is unique to this limited-edition model.

Speaking of which, the bespoke Sabelt bucket seats weigh only 28.9 pounds each, which is half the weight of most bucket seats. Impressive!

THE COMPETITION

2017 Porsche 718 Cayman
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2014 Alfa Romeo 4C
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The cabin is yet another department where Alpine will have a difficult time competing with Porsche. While the 2016 update was far from spectacular as far as styling goes, the 718 Cayman (left) comes with many premium features that Alpine won’t offer in standard trim. For instance, the German sports car comes with a standard Porsche Communication Management system with cell phone connectivity, audio interfaces, and a 110-watt Sound Package Plus. All this on top of a sexy looking interior with sporty seats, a 918-inspired steering wheel, high-quality upholstery and soft surfaces, and many customization options. Customers will be able to add the Connect module with extensions for smartphones, such as the USB port, Apple CarPlay and Porsche Car Connect. Other goodies available on the options sheet include navigation module with voice control and a Connect Plus module for access to a wide array of online services.

2017 Porsche 718 Cayman High Resolution Interior
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The 718 Cayman comes with many premium features that Alpine won't offer in standard trim.

The 4C (right) might a closer proposition to the Alpine, but not because Alfa Romeo cut corners in the quality department, but simply because it wanted a car focus on performance rather than comfort. As such, it has a simpler cabin layout and a tiny screen in the driver-oriented center stack, with all the important data displayed on the digital instrument cluster. Alfa does offer a wide array of upholstery materials ranging from high-performance and robust nylon yarns to natural leathers, but the overall feeling is that of car designed to be driven under full throttle at he Nurburgring rather than cruise around town.

Drivetrain

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After many rumors that included at least two engine scenarios, it was finally confirmed that the A110 will use a bespoke, turbocharged, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine. The unit is rated at 252 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque and mates to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Alpine doesn’t offer a manual option yet, which is pretty disappointing, especially given that the Cayman can be had in a three-pedal configuration.

As far as performance goes, the A110 needs 4.5 seconds to hit 62 mph, which makes it nearly a half-second quicker than the base Cayman with the six-speed manual transmission and two-tenths quicker than the PDK version. The secret behind the impressive performance is the outstanding power-to-weight ratio, which comes in at 233 horsepower per tonne. The A110 tips the scales at an amazing 2,381 pounds, which makes it more than 660 pounds lighter than the Cayman.

2017 Renault Alpine A110 High Resolution Exterior
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The unit is rated at 252 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque and mates to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The sports car has three driving 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.

The suspension setup is interesting too, with the A110 features a double-wishbone configuration at all four corners. This is quite rare even for high-profile sports cars and a feature you can’t get with the Cayman, which has a McPherson strut suspension up front. Stopping power comes from Brembo brakes, while the wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport tires for optimum grip.

COMPETING PERFORMANCE

2014 Alfa Romeo 4C Drivetrain
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Alfa Romeo 4C engine.

The fact that Alpine chose the 718 Cayman as a benchmark is by no means surprising. The coupe has been the sports car to beat in this segment ever since it was launched back in 2006. Not only the quickest of the bunch, the Cayman is also the only mid-engined sports car in here that can be had with one of two engines. The base model features a turbocharged, 2.0-liter flat-four, while the higher-spec S version uses a larger, 2.5-liter unit. The entry-level model, and the one that’s best compared with the Alpine, comes with 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque on tap. When paired with the six-speed manual, the engine pushes the Cayman to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. The time decreases to 4.7 ticks with the PDK and to only 4.5 seconds when the Sport Chrono Package is added. Top speed is rated at an impressive 170 mph. Moving over to the Cayman S, out sits at a whopping 350 horsepower and 309 pound-feet, which returns a 0-to-60 mph sprint that can be as low as 4.2 seconds with PDK and Sport Chrono, and a top speed of 177 mph. The Cayman also delivers strong fuel economy, being rated at up to 30 mpg on the highway.

The Porsche may be quicker with the automatic, but the 4C wins the fuel economy battle.

Moving over to the 4C, the Italian sports car gets it juice from a significantly smaller 1.7-liter four-cylinder engine fed by a turbocharger. The four-pot cranks out 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet, which makes the 4C less powerful than both the Cayman and what I expect the Alpine to be. However, the Alfa Romeo is by no means slow, being able to hit 60 mph from a standing start in 4.5 seconds due to its fantastic power-to-weight ratio. Top speed is also a respectable 160 mph, while fuel economy is estimated at an astonishing 24 mpg in city and 34 mpg on the highway. The Porsche may be quicker with the automatic, but the 4C wins the fuel economy battle by far. Needless to say, Alpine’s mission is difficult to say the least.

Porsche 718 Cayman Porsche 718 Cayman S Alfa Romeo 4c Renault Alpine
Engine 2.0-liter boxer-4 2.5-liter boxer-4 1.7-liter four-cylinder 1.8-liter, four-cylinder, turbocharged
Horsepower 300 HP @ 6,500 RPM 350 HP @ 6,500 RPM 237 HP @ 6,000 RPM 252 HP @ 6,000 RPM
Torque 280 LB-FT 309 LB-FT 258 LB-FT @ 2,200 – 4,250 RPM 236 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph 4.9 seconds 4.4 seconds 4.5 seconds 4.5 seconds
Top Speed 170 mph 177 mph 160 mph 155 mph
Fuel economy city/highway/combined 21/28/24 20/26/22 24/34/28 TBA
Curb weight 2,944 Lbs 2,988 Lbs 2,465 Lbs 2,381 Lbs

Prices

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Pricing information for the standard model is not yet available, but Alpine did say that the Premier Edition will start from €58,500 in France. This could mean that the base model will fetch less than €55,000 before options, which would put it on par with the Cayman. On the other hand, the initial rumors that claimed the A110 would start from around €35,000 proved to be far from the truth.

Unfortunately, the Alpine A110 won’t come to the U.S., as the French firm wants to focus on other markets for the time being.

COMPETING PRICES

In order to get a proper comparison, we’ll also look at French prices for Cayman and Alfa 4C. The German sports car comes in at €55,040 in base trim, while the more powerful S model fetches €67,790 before you add extra features. Alfa Romeo 4C isn’t exactly affordable either, retailing from €63,200. U.S. pricing starts from $53,900 for the 718 Cayman, $66,300 for the Cayman S, and $55,900 for the Alfa Romeo 4C.

On the other hand, if you’re willing to settle for less horsepower and slower 0-to-62 mph sprints, there are even more options to consider.

Porsche 718 Cayman €55,040
Porsche 718 Cayman S €67,790
Alfa Romeo 4C €63,200
Alpine A110 €55,000 (est.)
Alpine A110 Premier Edition €58,500

Note: French prices listed here.

Other Options to Consider

Audi TT

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2016 - 2018 Audi TT High Resolution Exterior
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The TT’s biggest advantage is that it’s significantly more affordable in base trim. However, the more powerful TTS is nearly as expensive as the competition. In 2015, Audi rolled out a brand-new TT to rival the current-generation Cayman. The German coupe is available with two gasoline-powered versions, both motivated by the proven 2.0-liter TFSI unit. The base variant has 230 horsepower, while the more powerful TTS comes with 310 horses on tap. The TT will get you to 62 mph in 5.3 seconds, while the 310-horsepower TTS needs only 4.6 ticks. Top speed is limited at 130 and 155 mph, respectively. Not bad for a front-engined coupe that looks rather mundane. Pricing for the TT starts from €32,950, while the TTS retails from €50,350. In the U.S., the TT starts from $43,500 and the TTS from $52,500.

Learn more about the Audi TT here.

Mazda MX-5

2016 Mazda MX-5 High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Mazda MX-5 High Resolution Exterior
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Although not a direct competitor to the Alpine, the Miata is arguably the most affordable sports car you can buy and a pretty good option if you can settle for less power and not having a proper coupe roof. You can, of course, go with the new MX-5 RF, which comes with more roof compared to the soft-top roadster, but it’s a targa-top model rather than a full-fledged coupe. You’ll also have to make a compromise as far as horsepower goes too. The 2.0-liter SkyActiv four-banger generates only 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet, which is pretty far off than what the Alpine is expected to get. Charging from 0 to 60 mph will take almost six seconds, while top speed is estimated at 129 mph. It’s nowhere near as spectacular as a Cayman or 4C, but the fuel economy is solid at 27 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. Also, the current Miata is quite the looker, in both roadster and RF guise. Finally, it’s the most affordable car here with a sticker set at $30,195 for the roadster and $31,555 for the RF.

Find out more about the Mazda MX-5 here and MX-5 RF here.

Conclusion

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On paper, the new Alpine seems like a fine effort and a car that could give the Porsche Cayman a run for its money. However, most pieces are still missing from the puzzle and we won’t know how it stacks up against the competition until some proper testing is arranged. I for one I’m very excited that Alpine is finally offering road cars again and I hope that the lineup will expand with at least a convertible and a higher performance model. All told, Renault has a lot of advertising to do, especially if it hopes to sell at least 3,000 of these vehicles per year.

  • Leave it
    • Rough competition from Porsche and Alfa Romeo
    • Not coming to the U.S. anytime soon

Update History

Updated 09/13/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Renault Alpine out for a new testing session, and this time wearing the production body. Expect an official debut for the 2017 Geneva Car Show, next March.

Updated 07/09/2015: A new report suggests that the production version Renault Alpine could use a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine with three different output levels: 246 HP,275 HP and 271 HP.

Updated 07/10/2015: According to Renault-Alpine boss Bernard Ollivier, the upcoming sports car’s launch has been delayed once again.

Spy Shots

September 13, 2016 - Renault Alpine caught testing with its production body

2017 Renault Alpine A110 Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Renault Alpine A110 Exterior Spyshots
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July 21, 2015 - Renault Alpine mule caught testing

2017 Renault Alpine A110 Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Renault Alpine A110 Exterior Spyshots
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Rendering

2017 Renault Alpine A110 Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Press Release

One year after the presentation of the Alpine Vision show car, Alpine revealed today at the Geneva Motor Show its production car: the new A110.

Combining the timeless Alpine principles of light weight, agility and performance, this mid-engined two-seater sports coupe is true to the spirit of its predecessors and in particular the A110 ‘Berlinette’. The new car will be built in the Alpine factory in Dieppe and deliveries will start late 2017 in Continental Europe. Deliveries in the UK and Japan will start in 2018.

Alpine is back to claim its position in the sports car segment, with only one promise: driving pleasure.

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A CAR DESIGNED FOR AGILITY

A compact and lightweight sports car

The A110’s aluminium platform and body are bonded, riveted and welded to provide an exceptionally rigid yet light structure.

The A110 is ultra-light at only 1080kg kerb weight (excluding options). Its compact size (4178mm long, 1798mm wide and 1252mm high), optimal weight distribution (44% front/ 56% rear) and low centre of gravity are all dedicated to agility – especially on the type of winding mountain road that made Alpine’s reputation back in the 1960s and ‘70s.

Alpine’s mass is also concentrated around the centre of the car, with the fuel tank behind the front axle and the engine in front of the rear axle, enabling the driver to feel at one with the car.

2017 Renault Alpine A110 High Resolution Exterior
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Excellent power-to-weight ratio

The A110 is equipped with a new 1.8-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged engine developed by the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Alpine’s engineers, together with Renault Sport, have customized this engine for Alpine, with specific air intake, turbocharger, exhaust system and engine tune. The engine has a maximum power output of 252hp and maximum torque of 320Nm. Combined with the low kerb weight of only 1080kg, the A110’s excellent power-to-weight ratio of 233hp:tonne enables the car to accelerate from 0 to 62mph in only 4.5 seconds.

The engine is mated to a Getrag 7-speed wet-clutch DCT gearbox, with gear ratios specifically developed for Alpine to ensure optimal performance at all times. Aided by intensive use of fluid dynamics simulation, the lightweight, single exit active sports exhaust system in the A110 has been developed for performance and sound quality.

The A110 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).

2017 Renault Alpine A110 High Resolution Exterior
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RACING-INPIRED AERODYNAMICS

A flat floor worthy of a race car, tried and tested in the wind tunnel.

In search of a combination of sleek lines and excellent performance, Alpine’s engineers turned to the world of race cars and supercars to optimize the aerodynamics of the A110. With a completely flat floor and functional diffuser under the rear bumper, the A110 combines low drag with significant downforce.

This allows the A110 to reach an electronically limited 155mph top speed, while retaining a smooth ‘Alpine’ profile - without the need for a rear spoiler.

Air inlets in the front bumper create a curtain along the front wheel wells, improving air flow around the front wheels and hence reducing drag.

With a Cd value of only 0.32, the A110’s drag is among the lowest in the sports car segment.

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A MODERN DESIGN, TRUE TO ITS HERITAGE

The A110 is highly modern yet immediately recognisable as an Alpine. It combines modern design language, materials and technologies with the efficiency of size, shape and profile that marked the original A110 Berlinette.

At the front, four independent full LED daytime running lights and the bonnet’s central ‘spine’ clearly show Alpine’s DNA.

The side profile shows the design’s efficiency – bodywork wrapped tightly around the technical parts to minimise footprint and maximize performance.

At the rear, ‘X’ shaped LED tail lights with dynamic turn indicators give the car a highly modern look, while the sloping, wrap-around rear screen reminds us of Alpine’s past models.

Inside the A110 minimalist, lightweight design merges with a welcoming, comfortable driving position. Top quality materials – smooth natural-grain leather, structural aluminium, carbon fibre – ensure a rewarding driver and passenger experience.

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PERFORMANCE AND COMFORT – EVERY DAY

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.

Access and egress are designed to be easy, even in everyday use. Driver and passenger space will accommodate all shapes and sizes.

In short, the A110 is as at home in everyday driving as it is on the track.

THE BEST COMPONENTS FROM THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS

In developing the A110, Alpine’s engineers and designers identified the best suppliers to ensure the best performance, fit & finish. Some examples:

Brembo developed the A110’s all-aluminium brake calipers. The rear brake system, specific to Alpine, features an integrated parking brake actuator, a world first, saving 2.5kg.
Otto Fuchs provided the 18-inch lightweight forged aluminium wheels on the A110, saving additional weight and offering a beautiful ‘open’ look
Sabelt developed one-piece bucket seats that weigh just 13.1kgs each, with no compromise on comfort.

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A110 PREMIERE EDITION SPECIFICATIONS

The Alpine A110 Première Edition is a numbered, limited edition production run of 1,955 cars. 1,955 refers to the year that Jean Rédélé launched Alpine.

The Première Edition is richly equipped including:

Alpine Blue, Noir Profond (black) or Blanc Solaire (white) paint
18-inch Otto Fuchs forged aluminium wheels, with matt black diamond turned finish specific to Première Edition
Three driver modes with ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Track’ settings
Performance braking system with dual-material brake discs with aluminium hub and rear calipers incorporating integrated parking brake
Lightweight active sports exhaust
Alpine-tuned Focal audio system
Matte carbon fibre interior accents
Brushed aluminium pedals
Quilted smooth natural-grain leather Sabelt one-piece sports seats
’Tricolore’ blue, white and red badging inside and outside
…and a numbered ‘Première Edition’ plaque on the centre console.

In 2018, after the production run of Première Edition is completed, several A110 trim levels will be available, supplemented by a wide range of personalisation options.

A110 PREMIERE EDITION PRICING

Alpine has set its tentative recommended retail price for the Première Edition at

58,500 Euros TTC (VAT included) in France
64,000 Swiss Francs (VAT included) in Switzerland.

Final prices will be confirmed at the start of formal orders in mid-2017.

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A110 PREMIERE EDITION AVAILABILITY

Alpine opened reservations for its A110 Première Edition in December 2016 through the dedicated Alpine mobile App. All available left hand drive Première Edition cars were reserved in 5 days.

A small number of right hand drive cars remains for the United Kingdom market (deliveries will start in 2018), and reservations for the Japanese market will commence in the coming weeks.

The Alpine App remains open for reservations of the A110 production model that will be produced in 2018 after the deliveries of the A110 Première Edition are completed.

DESIGNED IN FRANCE, MADE IN FRANCE

The A110 has been designed and engineered in France, in Groupe Renault’s Technocentre in Guyancourt and in Renault Sport’s engineering centre in Les Ulis.

All A110s will be manufactured in the Alpine factory in Dieppe – its historical and spiritual home.

The Dieppe factory was built in 1969 by Jean Rédélé, and it was here that all generations of Alpines were built since then. Since Alpine production halted in the 1990s, The Dieppe factory has been building Renault Sport and other niche models from Groupe Renault such as the Clio V6, the Espace and currently the Clio R.S. Additionally, the Dieppe factory assembles many of Renault’s customer racing cars such as the Formula Renault 2.0.

Dieppe’s experienced specialist staff have all the expertise needed to build an excellent sports car. The factory is completing a multi-million Euro investment including a highly automated new body assembly facility dedicated to the A110’s all-aluminium platform and body.

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