Alpine’s new A110 isn’t really wanting for attention, especially in the types of circles that include its potential customers, so this particular piece of news could be music to a certain kind of driver looking for a certain kind of new car.
The French marque Alpine, most recently re-revived by Renault, will be rolling out their mid-engine Cayman-hunter starting later this year, with more markets (such as right-hand drive ones) coming in 2018. And, as CarAdvice reports, that should include ours as well.
According to them, Renault Australia have submitted documents for the required local regulatory review and approval in the same vein that they’ve done for the second-generation Zoe fully electric hatch. These submissions were dated August 1st, indicating that the A110 could be close to receiving a green light despite it being rather quiet on the front with regard to the local introduction of both these cars.
It will certainly be an interesting addition to the line-up - the new Alpine especially, likely to be the most expensive car to feature in any Renault showroom in recent years. Sure, it wears a different badge but the relationship between these two French automakers have long been intertwined, and we’re sure neither feel it necessary to establish too much distance, an approach different from that, say, is taken by Hyundai and their new premium sub-brand Genesis, which are gradually setting up dedicated showrooms. Though, this might change once Alpine has a more varied line-up of models, and rumour has it that it’s planning a performance SUV to follow up the A110.
What do we know about this first car? So far, quite a lot, actually, except for the finer points on how it drives. But according to those lucky correspondents that have been granted some time as a passenger in a near-production unit, the impressions are very positive indeed.
The car itself is very light, being made from an all-aluminium shell bespoke to it, and tipping the scales at just around 1,000kg. Its wheels attach to this main structure via some trick independent suspension and in between the axles sits a 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol motor that’s been developed by Renault Sport to produce 186kW and 320Nm.
In plainer terms, it’s enough sheer shove to coax the lithe sports car to 100km/h from rest in 4.5 seconds, though its top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h. Only one transmission option is made available, at least at launch, a 7-speed dual-clutch from Renault’s EDC family, transmitting power to the rear wheels.
Inside, the compact body guarantees it won’t be winning any awards for practicality or cabin airiness, but it also ensures the driver remain in the most conducive environment possible for actual driving. That said, there’s a digital instrument cluster, a central touchscreen infotainment unit, and plenty of leather and Alcantara, so it’s not exactly a spartan Lotus either.
There are, in fact, so many more parallels between this A110 and the Alfa Romeo 4C, with both occupying roughly the same space on the road, have an equal emphasis on light weight and agility, feature a dual-clutch transmission, and even share a mid-engine layout with a transverse turbo-petrol four-pot engine of near-identical displacement.
But, as was touched upon in the previous paragraph, the Alpine does offer a fair bit more by way of creature comforts over the sparsely equipped Italian. While the Alfa can match the new Porsche Cayman for sheer thrills and pace, it’s the new French car that can give it a run as a viable daily-drivable sports car.