NOT THE CLIMBING BUT THE CAR, AND IT’S PRONOUNCED ‘L-PEEN’ FOR IT’S FRENCH YOU KNOW. THE PROUD MAKER OF NIMBLE SPORTS CARS IS BACK AFTER A TWENTY-YEAR ABSENCE. WE SAMPLE A PRIVATELY IMPORTED ALPINE A110 AND FIND IT MAGNIFIQUE
Weight really is the enemy of dynamics, and performance for that matter. That becomes clear every time you drive something lightweight and technically simple, like the Alpine A110 for instance. This new sportster is on an agility mission, with a focus on mass reduction to deliver nimble and pure handling.
Pure? There are no electronic handling aids required here with the weight low and centralised. It’s an ethos that made the original 1969 Alpine A110 Berlinette such a success, the rear-engined maestro good enough to win the 1973 World Rally Championship. The new one won’t be amassing any world titles but it will surely win over any keen driver. This mid-engined marvel was first conceived as a venture between Caterham and Renault, before financial troubles saw the French take over the project entirely.
It’s built in the original Alpine factory in Dieppe, home for the past few decades to Renault Sport. With driving pleasure at its core, the Alpine has a unique all-alloy chassis, the aluminium body being bonded, riveted and welded. The claimed weight is 1100kg, and this we weighed at 1106kg, with 57 per cent of that mass on the rear axle. It’s a small machine, not quite as diminutive as the original, but still low lying.