After one of the longest teases we've ever endured, Renault has fully unveiled the Alpine A110 at the Geneva Motor Show. We've known what it would look for a while now, but the French manufacturer was keeping its cards close to its chest when it came to the details everyone really wanted to know. Now, we finally have the whole picture.
At the core of the new A110 is a brand-new aluminum chassis, chosen to help cut weight. Alpine says the bonded, welded and riveted structure is just as stiff as the steel (or carbon in some cases) setups you'll find in rivals, and helps keep curb weight at a skinny 1080 kg (3280 lb) without any options. A great deal of effort has been put into concentrating weight around the middle of the car, with the fuel tank sitting behind the front axle and the engine in front of the rear axle.
Speaking of the engine, we now know the car will be powered by a new 1.8-liter turbo four-cylinder. Although it was developed for service in a wide range of Renault/Nissan Alliance cars, the team at Alpine has given it a unique air intake, turbocharger, exhaust and engine map. It's hooked up to a dual-clutch seven-speed gearbox developed by Getrag, with ratios tuned specifically to match the 185 kW (250 hp) engine's torque curve.
The sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) takes just 4.5 seconds, making the A110 quicker than a base Porsche Cayman and on a par with the Alfa Romeo 4C.
Style is important in any sports car, but it's especially important on a car like the Alpine. After all, it's not much use playing on your heritage if the modern car doesn't look anything like the original. It's even more important when the original is a legend.
Although it was built between 1961 and 1977, the A110 is best known for its time as a rally car in the early 1970s. The little French coupe actually won the inaugural 1973 season of the World Rally Championship, making Alpine the first World Rally Champion. The brand is now owned by Renault, which is hoping to cash in on its sporting heritage with the new, retro-inspired A110.
Thankfully the design team has done a great job, taking the classic shape and smoothing it out for modern tastes. The faux-rally quad-light design at the front is instantly recognizable, and the sloping rear deck does a great job of evoking the original with its wraparound windscreen.
That same focus on history isn't replicated inside, with infotainment handled by a square central touchscreen. The driver and passenger sit on Sabelt bucket seats which weigh just 13.1 kg (29 lb) each, but the cabin isn't designed to be overtly hardcore or uncomfortable. Alpine says it should be easy to get in/out of, and won't rattle your bones loose on long trips, which is more than can be said of the rattly, unhinged Alfa 4C.
Pricing for the Alpine A110 will start at €58,500 in France, and the car won't be coming to the USA in its initial run, with Renault focusing on the European, UK and Japanese markets instead.