Alpine A110 review
It’s the Alpine A110. And in case you haven’t heard yet, it’s something very different. On the surface it’s perfectly simple, a compact two-seat coupe in the mold of the Porsche Cayman and Audi TT. But beneath the A110 lies perhaps the world’s best example of the virtuous circle approach to automotive engineering.
Why is this then?
It is light. really light. Lightweight Lotus, but with the comfort you need to be an enjoyable driver every day. what light? Approximately 1,100 kg depending on the version chosen from the three. They are 300 kg, almost 25% less than the Porsche or the Audi. The upcoming Lotus Emira has some really tough competition.
So how did Alpine get to this featherweight figure? First by designing the A110 from scratch with little leftover, and second by sweating the small stuff. It is therefore a sports car with an aluminum body, aluminum frame and aluminum suspension that is equipped with a modest 1.8-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine.
Depending on whether you opt for the base A110 or the sportier A110S and A110GT, it makes 248hp or 296hp. The base car weighs in at 236 pound-feet, the GT and S now weigh in at 250 pound-feet, with a 0-62 mph time on all fours low. Click on those pretty blue words for our full head-to-head test, or head over to the Driving tab for more information.
What else should I know first?
The engine is mounted behind the seats and drives the rear wheels through a seven-speed Getrag dual-clutch gearbox, perhaps the only thing about the car that isn’t the lightest possible option.
“We tried to follow Colin Chapman’s principle, which is still valid, so if we have little mass we can have moderate power, so we don’t need super wide tires or big heavy brakes and so on,” he says. the Alpine chassis. technical director, Thierry Annequin. “We went after every gram in every component and every system to achieve this weight.”
Wherever you look, you will see this attention to detail. Take the rear wheel – there is no secondary brake caliper for the electric parking brake (EPB), it is now integrated into the primary brake. This saves 2.5 kg. And having Brembo integrate its software into the Bosch ECU instead of installing a separate control unit and wiring saved another pound. And the brackets that hold the EPB cables and hoses are also made of aluminium. “It’s unusual,” says Annequin, “but save seven grams here, 12 grams there and it adds up.”
The Sabelt seat weighs just 13.1kg, half the weight of the Recaro seat in the current Mégane RS; integrating the ball joint into the upper control arm instead of putting it in a separate housing saves 300g per corner and so on. The message from Alpine, which is building its first car since the last A610 rolled through the gates of Dieppe 22 years ago, is that lightness matters. Jean Redele, the man who founded Alpine in 1955 and named it after the kind of driving he wanted its cars to excel at, would be proud.
What are the latest updates?
For 2022, Alpine has revised the A110 range in anticipation of the arrival of this new Lotus in its 2,100 annual sales.
There are some new paint colors like the pretty cool orange, you can have an Aero kit that adds real downforce (weird, it adds weight to an Alpine) and the fancier GT model gets the S power output which means two versions now with a heady 296bhp. You can get stickier Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires on the A110S, a black roof, and inside every A110, the touchscreen has a revised interface with foolproof Apple CarPlay and Android Phone Mirroring Auto (finally).
Our choice of the range.
What’s the verdict?
The Alpine A110 does things differently. Whether that makes it better or worse than a Porsche Cayman depends on your priorities and perspective. But fundamentally, it’s a great car, a true exponent of lightness that makes you question the claims of almost every company that claims to build lightweight cars. Even Lotus.
Tackling rough roads with unflappable poise and agility, it’s a fearless sports car that proves it can buck the trend toward bigger wheels, bigger brakes, more power and more weight, while still having something capable and exciting. Not much crosses the country with so little effort and so little energy expended. That’s why we’ll stick with the sub-£50,000 A110, rather than be tempted by the more powerful £60,000 A110 S or GT. The standard car is all you need.
Has Alpine changed the car enough in 2022 with the arrival of the Lotus Emira? You could say that very little modification is needed, and Alpine doesn’t really have the budget to do it. The revised mix of touchscreen phones is welcome and the streamlined lineup makes more sense, but Lotus will offer things Alpine can never: a V6, a manual gearbox, cabin space and possibly a soft top.
That doesn’t take away from the charm of the A110: you only have to buy what this car offers, not what it sacrifices. Do you want a sports car? This little French hero is one of the best ever created.
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Source : topgear.com