Alpine A 110. Some thoughts.

Nov 21, 2020,09:08 AM
 

The Alpine Renault A 110 is one of these cars which are part of the Automotive Legends, and not only for the French People. 


Born in 1962, and produced for 16 years, this sportscar à la française attended some famous Rallyes, such as the Monte Carlo, and was a winner. It was made in a bit more than 7000 pieces.

The recipe was simple: An ordinary motor, from Renault, and a light body, a bit like what Lotus did. 

The character of the car? Agile, direct, very funny to drive even if it requires some skills in extreme conditions. 

Here is a A 110 1300 I could test drive some years ago. An unforgettable experience, in the roads near Avignon. 





In 2017, Alpine Renaut resuscitated the A 110. Modernized, for sure, but the spirit, in the aesthetics and the mechanics, is still here, well respected. 


Since its unveiling, I wanted to test drive one, with some fear: Will I be disappointed? Like it is the case for watches, when you touch to an icon, when you want to revisit it, it is quite risky. 

I could test one, in September, this year. And I can already confess that I was thrilled, puzzled by this experience. 

Basically, there are three versions, one normal, the A 110 Pure, a tad more comfortable one, the Legende, and the sporty version, the A 110 S. 

The A 110 Pure weights 1098 Kilos and its 1.8 liter engine offers 252 HP for a torque of 320 Nm. 

The A 110 PURE:


The better equipped A 110 LEGENDE, weighing 1123 Kilos.



The Pure and the Legende in action ( the Legende is the Grey one ) 



The A 110 S has the same engine, same torque, but offers 40 extra HP ( 292 HP ) between 6000 and 6400 Revs, while the A 110 Pure offers the maximum of its power at 6 000 Revs.But the A 110 S weights 1114 Kilos. We are far from the 55 to 140 HP of the original A 110, even if the weight was between 565 and 790 Kilos.

The A 110 S: 


The maxi speed is 250 Kilometers per hour for the Pure, 260 for the S. The accelerations are very close, with 4, 5 secs from 0 to 100 Km /h versus 4, 4 secs for the S, and the 1 000 meters are done in 23, 2 seconds for the Pure, versus 22, 8 seconds for the S. 

In both cases, you have an automatic gearbox with sequential mode, you can use normally, sport or track. 

That's what they say on the paper. Now let's see what is the reality with the Legende, the version I tested, here in Grey: 









1/ THE FIRST CONTACT WITH THE CAR: 

Those who are used to modern cars will find the Alpine is a small and low car, which is what it is. The A 110 is 4, 18 meters big, 1, 78 meter large and 1, 25 meter high, which will not disorient the Volvo P 1800 owner I am, as the Volvo has almost the same dimensions, only 23 centimeter bigger. 

The proportions are very harmonious and the body is a model of sensuality, with its sweet curves. It is a reminder of the best cars from the 60's, early 70's, such as the original Alpine or the... Ferrari 246 Dino. Indeed, the A 110 always made me think of the Dino!   ( Credit picture on request ).


Inside, it is a pure pleasure for the senses, the perfume of a new car, the interior which makes you dive into the racing universe with its typical seats which you can set in depth, but not in inclination in the Pure ( the Alpine Service Center will do it for you ), the combination of instruments ( digital, alas ) of the dashboard, and the " palettes " on the steering wheel, without forgetting the aluminium pedals. 

The Interior: 

Here the Legende: 













The Pure and the S for the comparison: 

The Pure: 



The S:


The seats are not only very nice, but also comfortable. Good point. 

Bad point, there are some elements borrowed to some common Renault, like the Ferrari 246 Dino borrowed some parts to the... Fiat 500. 

The Dashboard: 

Now, start your engine... You just have to push on the button, on the central console. 

The first notes coming from the exhaust of the engine are promising, in terms of fun. 

2/ ON THE ROAD:  
 
Once off the parking, I had some kilometers in the traffic, just the time to gently heat the engine and to get used to the car, and here we go... 

The engine is incredible. It pushed endlessly, the gearbox is fast and reactive, and if you want to control it more accurately, you can always use the palettes, which is what I did. 

The sound is terrific, too. Raging when you accelerate, and when you decelerate, you have some very cool bangings. 

The chassis is very accurate as well as the direction. In the curves, it is a feast. The kingdom of this car is the curves, definitely. 

In the straight lines, you have a lot of pleasure, and you feel the speed. This car is a bomb, and goes very fast in no time at all. Impressive and funny. 

On the straight lines or in the curves, there is no trap with this car. You don't have to always be 1000% focused. 

The fuel consumption, I didn't measure it, but the average consumption on the computer was 8, 9 liters, so it looks really reasonable. Even if the fuel consumption is not the most important factor, when the tank is only 45 liters, you'd better not reach the 25 liters / 100 Kilometers... wink 

I tested the torque, which is satisfactory when you are at low speeds on the 6th ( you have 7 speeds on this car ), which is interesting if you use it as a daily driver. 

3/ CAN IT BE A DAILY DRIVER? 
 
It is tempting to say yes, as having pleasure everyday when driving such a car is a certainty. BUT:

- I didn't test it on wet roads, after a good rain, so it is something to be checked. On the snow, as it is a rear wheel drive, it can be problematic. 

- It is a strict two places, with two small hoods on the rear and front sides... You have to find the appropriate luggage if you want to go on holidays with that car. 

- Parking the car is not easy as you don't have a lot of visibility on the back. You have the radar for that, and the camera, both in option, but a mandatory option. 

BUT it certainly is a choice of life, which pleases me a lot. 

4/ NOTATION: 

- Aesthetics: 9 / 10: Inside and outside, it is remarkable. 

- Mechanics: 9 / 10: The engine and the gearbox are excellent. I only wish we had the choice between a manual and an automatic gearbox. But at least this gearbox is very reactive. 

- Performances: 9 / 10

- Sound: 7, 5 / 10. I would have liked a more present sound of the engine. Even more with such a melody! 

- Visibility: 5 / 10, especially the rear view which is very limited. 

- Comfort: 8 / 10, surprisingly comfortable for such a car. 

- Price: 6 / 10: If the " base" is correctly priced, the price of the " mandatory " options will jump straight to the stratosphere ( count 8 000 Euros more ). But if you compare it to its real competitors, the Alfa 4C and the Porsche Cayman, the A 110 is still interesting. 

In sum, a car which convinced me, at the point that I made my mind. Most probably on the Pure or the Legende, as the S is interesting only if you go on race tracks to really test 100% of its possibilities. 

I will let you know my verdict, soon. 

Best,

Nicolas


More posts: CaymanDinoFerrariFiatLotusP 1800PorscheVolvo

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Comments: view entire thread

 

Great review, thanks. For me the style is lovely from the side and back until you see it from

 
 By: Hulk : November 21st, 2020-09:52
Front. I just can't get over the lights, I understand its a homage to the original but for me it's a killer no. Cheers S

Very nice comprehensive review!

 
 By: patrick_y : November 21st, 2020-10:29
The interior is very richly finished. It's definitely a very appealing car for the mid-Engined lover. But I wonder how it compares to the Porsche Cayman and the Alfa Romeo 4C. And sadly this car is not sold in the USA. Great photos of the interior! The in... 

If I may share my personal feelings. I think Alfa 4C

 
 By: Gelato Monster : November 21st, 2020-19:14
Is the most gorgeous between Alpine, Cayman and M2. It is voluptuous perfectly in every section and angle. Next I would choose A110. It has more unique silhouettes than Cayman and M2. I feel Caymans more loveliness yet too conservative. In terms of Fun an... 

the spider is my daily driver when temperatures are above 8 degrees - so in general yes I would say

 
 By: penfriend : November 24th, 2020-07:21
minor things: the really small luggage space for weekend trips with the wife; no servo-steering which can be an issue with parallel parking for some people; no chance to drive up or down on ramps (i.e. parking garages) without hitting its nose. But once y... 

Sounds so nice...

 
 By: patrick_y : November 24th, 2020-09:41
Sounds like your Alfa Romeo 4C is a purebred sports car. I really like cars with no power steering. I like the weight of the steering, it doesn't bother me at all! My first car had very heavy steering (it was powered but just heavy). And one of the great ... 

to be honest - this car is so fantastic

 
 By: penfriend : November 24th, 2020-12:08
that I purchased two of it (first a coupe and later the spider); the coupe is the ultimate race edition, weighs with 890kg even 130 kg less than the spider and I use it on track and for high speed autobahn driving ...  

Wow, hats off! Splendid idea!

 
 By: amanico : November 24th, 2020-12:26

Wow! That's quite an endorsement!

 
 By: patrick_y : November 25th, 2020-11:28
Alfa Romeo should do an interview on you!

+++1!

 
 By: amanico : November 26th, 2020-23:00

I love my interior!

 
 By: penfriend : November 21st, 2020-12:07
...  

that would be nice indeed!!!

 
 By: penfriend : November 22nd, 2020-06:48

I'm a sucker for cinnamon brown interiors...

 
 By: patrick_y : November 21st, 2020-16:11
Goodness I like simple non distracting interiors... What a beautiful car your 4C is!

the 4C was available with red leather but I felt it was too much

 
 By: penfriend : November 22nd, 2020-06:49
so I went for tobacco brown which is probably nicer also in a few years

And here you did well.

 
 By: amanico : November 22nd, 2020-08:13

I like the red interior as well...

 
 By: patrick_y : November 22nd, 2020-11:09
The red interior goes well with the black exterior. But that cinnamon brown looks fantastic! Either red or brown would work extremely well!

+1.

 
 By: amanico : November 23rd, 2020-00:46

thank you :-)

 
 By: penfriend : November 22nd, 2020-06:48

Great review Nicolas.

 
 By: Mary Anny : November 21st, 2020-11:20
For me (you?) the pure in Bleu Alpine. In the supercropped image a tonnerre mat gris one I spotted in Barcelona a few days ago. Keep us updated... Simone ...  

Grey's great!

 
 By: Mary Anny : November 21st, 2020-15:09

Ah yes please!!!!

 
 By: Sebi : November 23rd, 2020-00:53

White

 
 By: Gelato Monster : November 28th, 2020-07:44

white, red are my favorite match for carbon roof 😉

 
 By: Gelato Monster : November 30th, 2020-18:58
Next would be Mexico Blue I never like metallic colour with carbon roof

Oh! Clever! Good one!

 
 By: patrick_y : November 22nd, 2020-11:12

Our Seb is in great shape. ;)

 
 By: amanico : November 22nd, 2020-14:26

Grey would be a great color, especially if you wanted to use the car as a daily driver...

 
 By: patrick_y : November 22nd, 2020-11:09
A brighter color would be great if it were a weekend car.

For sure! ;)

 
 By: amanico : November 21st, 2020-14:43

A very inspired review.

 
 By: emcquillan : November 21st, 2020-13:21
We don’t get to see these in Canada unfortunately. I like the honest review, especially the view and mandatory options. Looks like a very fun to drive not so common sports car. It reminds me a little bit of a lighter and probably less forgiving R8 - espec... 

Your Cayman comparison is definitely more accurate

 
 By: emcquillan : November 22nd, 2020-01:27
I did say lighter (Alpine) and less forgiving. I meant mainly aesthetically predominately on the interior and middle weight distribution. I imagine the Alpine is a more lively drive.

Thanks for the review!

 
 By: Arronax : November 21st, 2020-15:24
I sat in a pure model but yet have to go for a test drive. As a daily driver a minor complaint seems to be the lack of storage in the cabin, which I guess takes some creativity and getting used to. Looking forward to your decision!

A top review as usual. You are hunting details !

 
 By: Alfihar : November 21st, 2020-22:55
A great car tested at Magny Cours... Cool, shape and efficient on track. A small diet to lose weight would improve it, provided that care is taken to maintain a good distribution of masses. an adjustable suspension would not be too much either in order to...  

I can go for lighter rims. I would gain 12 Kilos, and for other brakes ( 5 kilos ), and an adjustable suspension ( 2 Kilos ), which makes 20 kilos off the non suspended weight. Which is A LOT!

 
 By: amanico : November 22nd, 2020-00:06
Wouldn't it be too much??? Aaah, and while we are at it, a small diet, I would loose 5 kilos, easily. No, I agree with everything but the watches... Thanks, mon ami. Another review on my choice will come. Nico

To the point review👍🏻❗️🙈

 
 By: MCG (Markus) : November 22nd, 2020-10:54
And - if the practicability, mainly the luggage space, would be better, it would be mine already ❗️❗️ But nevertheless, it doesn‘t go off the list. ... 🙈😆

Can you elaborate on that?

 
 By: MCG (Markus) : November 23rd, 2020-08:15
„ But you have enough place to go with some serious luggage“

I made the test at the Alpine AD. I brought with me 4 travel luggage. 2 on the back, 2 on the front trunk. And there is still some small place. Now, inside the cockpit this is another story.

 
 By: amanico : November 23rd, 2020-08:49
You have to order a storage space that is located between the two sits, and two other small ones you can put beside each seat, between the seat and the door.

I need to try this too...

 
 By: MCG (Markus) : November 23rd, 2020-09:12

Minigolf? 🤣

 
 By: MCG (Markus) : November 23rd, 2020-11:25

Even Mini! :)))

 
 By: amanico : November 23rd, 2020-13:49

Good luck with the hunt, I hope you find an A110 that suits you!

 
 By: Fastwong : November 23rd, 2020-08:54
The pics look great! Sadly we don't get the A110 stateside but I love the design and engineering ethos of the car. IMHO this is an amazing time to buy a new sports car. With traditional sports cars having stepped into 500+hp super car territory, it has cr... 

As I said, I had my share of doubts before trying it. But trying it is adopting it. A pleasure car, a bit in the vein of the Caterham. Something which surprises you, which amazes you.

 
 By: amanico : November 23rd, 2020-09:01
Yes, you are right, they seem to remember how to make thrilling cars. Alas, I fear these are the last years of that kind of car. The tax for the Alpine is around 1400 euros, this year. Next year, it will be around 2500 Euros. For the Cayman? 20, 000 Euros... 

That makes the Alpine tax a deal 😉

 
 By: Fastwong : November 23rd, 2020-10:20
We will see how government's will choose to treat petrol cars in the future but certainly this is the last generation of ice affordable sports cars. Ferrari has extended the 458 to a 3rd refresh of the platform, Porsche is extending the Cayman and Macan t... 

What I fear...

 
 By: amanico : November 23rd, 2020-13:48

Wish it was available here

 
 By: David Walter : November 24th, 2020-09:18
Thanks for the post, it looks great. It brings back fond memories of my R8 Gordini, 1300 I had in 1971. I think the Gordini engine was also used in the Alpine.