This little car messed with my head in a way I didn’t expect it to. It needed some processing.
You might remember me driving the Alpine A110 last year from a few posts on our social media, or you might not. Either way, you’ve never seen a review on this car here and the reason for that delay is still confusing me to date.
So what happened? Well, in previous articles you might recall my small obsession with weight. I’m not talking about the opposite sex here, but cars and their weight. This car for instance is light, seriously light and that’s something very positive when it comes to a driving experience. The Alpine A110 comes in at 1098 kilograms. That’s very respectable number when you look at the level of equipment this Premiere Edition has. That low weight, combined with a mid-engine setup and double wishbones all round, make this car drive like very few new cars out there. Mind you, it’s a RWD car. The Alpine A110 was such a revelation that I didn’t know what to write about it. A similar thing happend when I drove an older Lotus Evora a few years back, also a lightweight car with a RWD setup.
I wanted to curse other manufacturers for lacking an effort here. Why on earth did everything else have to get so heavy? Was the armsrace for power and performance models more important than innovating on weight reduction? An innovation that would have been a far more durable concept entirely. Or was it simply easier to make everything more powerful and thereby hiding the lack in progression in lightweight construction techniques? All I know is that it gave the Alpine a unique position in the new car market. And don’t dare comparing this to an Alfa 4C, it’s far more comfortable. Next to it having the necessary creature comforts the 4C lacks.
A good few months have passed since I fell in love with this French 252 HP purity that only comes with a 7-speed automated transmission. I seriously had to ponder about my interpretation of the driving experience for a few weekends. That pondering shifted my attention away from all the inflated supercar violence that we’ve been treated too in the past years. That sector has overdone itself by creating cars that are only usable (read: sane) on the road 10% of the time. With manufacturers trumping each other in an armsrace, how can I see the Alpine A110 for what it is? Because judging it on the 0-100 time would mean missing the point this car is trying to make.
The Alpine is pure to drive and has a solid-built feel to it. It’s engaging at a large variation of speeds. It’s a true mindfuck because of the way it makes you smile. And all that at speeds that won’t rob you of your driving licence.
I knew I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t place this car. I knew other journalist had the same problem. Just look back at last year’s conclusive group tests, the Alpine caused quite a shock. That shock was even bigger when I realized that marketing cars like the Alpine A110 is actually hard. Hard because the world and market has been shaped by the
The Alpine A110 reset my opinion about what defines a good driving car and it took me a few months to get over it. Well done Renault, this revelation was worth the wait.