In-depth reviews

Alpine A110 review

The Alpine A110 captures the magic of the 1960s original; a lightweight, fun-to-drive, two-seater sports car

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Price
£47,750 to £60,400
  • Fantastic to drive
  • Surprisingly economical
  • Compliant ride
  • Poor practicality
  • Lacking safety kit
  • Expensive to buy

The Alpine A110 is a brilliant sports car that rivals everything from the Porsche 718 Cayman to the Audi TT. The French firm had a lot of pressure on its shoulders when it tried to recreate the magic of the 1960s original, but the result is a sublime driving experience and stunning looks. 

It feels like a special car out on the road and certainly delivers on the feelgood factor, although some may find the premium quality of its German rivals more appealing. That aside, there aren't many alternatives that are as lightweight, fun and immensely capable as the Alpine A110.

About the Alpine A110

The Alpine brand stretches back decades, and while a long hiatus in recent times means younger car enthusiasts might not fully understand its significance, the A110 is a hugely important car for parent company Renault

Not only does the latest car look quite similar to the classic A110, it embodies much of that car’s lightweight, driver-focused ethos. It’s built at Renault’s factory in Dieppe, France, alongside sporty versions of the Clio and Megane, rivalling everything from the Porsche 718 Cayman, to the Toyota Supra and Audi TT. None though quite capture the magic and sense of occasion offered by the French legend.

There’s only one body style, one engine (albeit in two different states of tune) and one gearbox. That means that whichever trim you go for, you’ll make do with a stylish two-door coupe body with a 1.8-litre turbo engine and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. They’re all rear-wheel drive, and all weigh less than 1,200kg, while power options include either the standard car's 248bhp, or the 296bhp output that comes with GT and S versions.

The standard A110 version features part-leather/microfibre bucket seats and 17-inch alloy wheels, while the GT includes includes bigger 18-inch alloys, six-way adjustable leather-trimmed comfort seats and gloss carbon fibre interior trim. The top-of-the-range S variant is more performance focused and adds a sports chassis with a reinforced anti-roll bar, bigger Brembo brakes, 18-inch matt black 'GT Race' alloy wheels and aluminium pedals.

Engines, performance and drive

The Alpine A110 is superb to drive, with engaging handling and loads of grip

When Alpine – and parent company Renault – set about reviving the legendary brand, its main focus was to make a lightweight and engaging sports car. We’ve now driven a number of examples, both in Europe and the UK, and we’re pleased to report that they’ve largely succeeded. The Alpine A110 is a thoroughly engaging car to drive.

Tipping the scales at just 1,098kg, it’s much lighter than rivals like the Porsche 718 Cayman and Audi TT RS. As there’s less weight to pull around, it can make do with less power, too – the dinky 1.8-litre turbo petrol engine pales alongside the Audi’s 395bhp 2.5-litre five-cylinder unit. The Alpine’s motor isn’t as characterful as its German rival, but it sounds great, and it’s more fun to rev than the muted flat-four in the latest Cayman. 

That low weight has huge benefits when it comes to handling. The double-wishbone suspension and strong Brembo brakes help with engagement, while the rear-mounted engine offers perfect balance. There’s even a flat underbody, which makes the car more stable at speed. 

While some may criticise the fact the Alpine isn’t available with a manual gearbox (all cars come with a seven-speed DCT transmission), the small sports car feels hugely sophisticated and very fast. 

There are three driving modes: Normal, Sport and Track, which alter the settings for the steering, exhaust, traction control and gearbox. You cannot change the settings for the suspension. But despite not offering adaptive dampers, the car flows beautifully over British roads. Grip is excellent, too. 

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The 1.8-litre four-cylinder unit is available with a standard 248bhp and 320Nm of torque, while the GT and S versions offer 296bhp and 340Nm over a broader rev band. Rivals offer more power, but make no mistake, this is still a mightily quick sports car.

Alpine claims the A110 with 248bhp should sprint from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds, and our tests recorded a (0-60mph) time of 4.6 seconds. The previous S version with 288bhp is a tenth quicker at 4.4 seconds, while the upgraded GT and S cut a further two tenths from this time.

In a triple test against a Porsche 718 Cayman S and Audi TT RS, its German rivals completed the same dash in 3.9 seconds and 3.5 seconds respectively.

The Alpine’s low kerbweight means it is strong in gear, however. This also helps agility through tight bends. Every model is electronically limited to 155mph.

MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

Lightweight engineering means the Alpine A110 is surprisingly affordable to run

By minimising weight wherever it can, Alpine has managed to make a sports car with incredible performance, which won’t cost the earth to run. Under new fuel efficiency and emissions testing, Alpine claims the A110 will officially do 35.1mpg (34.5mpg for the GT and S), and while we only managed 34.4mpg on our test, that’s much better than the latest Porsche 718 Cayman S (24.6mpg on test) or Audi TT RS (23mpg) could manage. That should equate to a big difference in annual fuel bills. CO2 figures are 152g/km (153g/km for the GT and S version).

However, the high list price means you’ll pay a premium in annual road tax over lesser hot hatchbacks and fast coupes – although the Porsche and Audi rivals are liable for the same extra cost.

Insurance groups

Insurance groups are high for the Alpine A110, but largely in line with rival models. It sits in the same group 44 as the Porsche Cayman S, which is one group higher than an Audi TT RS. That equates to an annual premium of around £665 for the average male driver in his forties with three penalty points.

Depreciation

Expert data points to the Alpine A110 achieving strong residual values, with an average of 64 per cent of its original list price retained over over a typical ownership period of three years and 36,000 miles. The fact so few are being built means longer-term values are even ahead of the Porsche 718 Cayman.

Interior, design and technology

Despite an emphasis on keeping weight to a minimum, the Alpine gets a nicely-trimmed cabin and lots of tech

As this is a small, lightweight sports car, the Alpine’s cabin is quite compact. However, it comes covered in quilted leather, and there’s plenty of tech on offer.

Every car gets a set of digital dials, which change in appearance according to which driving mode the car is in. The optional sports seats offer excellent support without being too firm, while the raised centre console gives a sporty ambience and a feeling of being cocooned in the cabin.

The higher-powered A110 S is pricey, but offers Brembo brakes, an active sport exhaust and bespoke 18-inch black alloy wheels. Inside, you get those brilliant bucket seats, a Focal stereo and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Sat-nav, Bluetooth and DAB are all included, with the 2021 facelifted model now including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The S version also includes interior flashes such as orange stitching throughout the cabin and aluminium pedals, but there is only one standard paint colour – Glacier White, so if you want to spec a different hue, you’ll have to pay for it.

For those that crave even more exclusivity, Alpine offers its Atelier personalisation programme where buyers can access new body colours and specific finishes for their car's alloy wheels and brake callipers.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The Alpine comes with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard. The display is responsive enough, although the menus in a Porsche 718 Cayman are more logical and the system is easier to operate on the move because there are more physical buttons. 

A two-speaker Focal stereo is standard for the GT and S versions, producing a surprisingly good sound given its lack of outright firepower, while a DAB radio and Bluetooth are both included. 

The neat-looking digital instrument cluster changes depending on which driving mode you’re in, with more or less information and driving data being displayed as required. The S version also adds Alpine Telemetrics, which enables the driver to access technical information such as fluid temperatures, acceleration measurement and lateral/longitudinal forces.

Practicality, comfort and boot space

Two-door coupes are hardly famed for their practicality, but the Alpine is worse than most

Ok, so it’s unlikely you’ll buy a two-door sports car with high hopes for practicality, but the Alpine suffers both in terms of cabin storage and boot space. There are two boots, but neither is particularly big – offering space for a laptop bag or a weekend’s shopping. Poor interior storage and a lack of cubbies lets the side down further, although Alpine does offer the optional Storage package, which comprises a cargo net behind the driver seat and a storage case.

Size

At 4,180mm long and 1,798mm wide, the Alpine is smaller than both the Porsche 718 Cayman and the Audi TT. Combined with good visibility, it feels easy to place and therefore very rewarding to drive, even on tight B-roads. The compliant ride means it’s easy to drive in town, too.

Leg room, head room & passenger space

The Alpine is a strict two-seater, so this section is largely irrelevant. However, it’s worth noting that the A110 is quite cramped inside, with the high centre console making things feel quite tight. Still, if you’re not the claustrophobic type, most adults should be able to get comfortable.

Boot

Despite having two boots, there’s not much room to carry bags or luggage. The front boot measures 100 litres, but it’s quite shallow and will only really stow a briefcase or laptop bag. The 96-litre rear boot is much deeper, but you’ll still struggle to carry more than a soft gym bag or a weekend’s shopping back there.

Reliability and Safety

Backed by the Renault group, reliability should be good – but the Alpine misses out on some now commonplace autonomous safety tech

Alpine didn’t appear in our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, while parent brand Renault finished 20th out of 29 in the makers’ chart. Still, the A110 will be sold from eleven Alpine centres across the UK, so will get its own dedicated dealer network of sorts.

Safety kit includes switchable ESP, emergency brake assist, hill start assist, driver and passenger airbags and LED lights. It doesn’t get the latest autonomous safety aids from Renault’s regular passenger cars, such as automatic emergency braking, however. Euro NCAP hasn’t crash tested the A110, and isn’t likely to, given the niche nature of the vehicle.

Warranty

The Alpine A110 comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty. That is the same set-up you’ll get on a Renault Clio or Megane, with Alpine also offering buyers of the lightweight sports car opportunity to take out extended cover at extra cost.

Servicing

There are just eleven Alpine Centres within the UK, so servicing your A110 might prove a little bit trickier compared to a Porsche Cayman or Audi TT, as both these rivals have access to a much larger dealer network. However, Alpine does provide maintenence agreements to help spread the cost of any required servicing work.

For an alternative review of the Alpine A110, visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk...

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.8L Turbo Pure 2dr DCT
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £47,750

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.8L Turbo 292 Color Edition 2dr DCT
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £58,500

Fastest

  • Name
    1.8L Turbo 292 Color Edition 2dr DCT
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £58,500

More on A110

Show me:
New Alpine A110 Tour de Corse 75 limited edition is a tribute to rally
Alpine A110 Tour de Corse 75 - front action
Alpine A110
16 Jun 2022

New Alpine A110 Tour de Corse 75 limited edition is a tribute to rally

Alpine’s memorable performance at the 1975 Tour de Corse has spawned the A110 Tour de Corse
New Alpine A110 GT J. Rédélé special is a tribute to the firm’s founder
Alpine A110 GT J. Rédélé special - front/side
Alpine A110
30 May 2022

New Alpine A110 GT J. Rédélé special is a tribute to the firm’s founder

Alpine founder Jean Rédélé is honoured by a limited edition A110 GT in his name
New Alpine A110 South Beach pack celebrates Miami Grand Prix
Alpine A110 South Beach - pink and blue models static
Alpine A110
3 May 2022

New Alpine A110 South Beach pack celebrates Miami Grand Prix

Alpine honours Miami’s inaugural Formula One race with some neon-inspired A110s
New Alpine A110 S 2022 review
Alpine A110 S - front
Alpine A110
29 Mar 2022

New Alpine A110 S 2022 review

The more powerful Alpine A110 S model heads up the revised French sports car range
Top 10 best performance cars to buy 2022
Best performance cars - header image
Best cars & vans
21 Feb 2022

Top 10 best performance cars to buy 2022

We run through the top ten performance cars on sale in the UK right now
Top 10 best sports cars 2022
Best Sports cars - header
Best cars & vans
28 Jan 2022

Top 10 best sports cars 2022

From the Mazda MX-5 to the McLaren 720S , these are the 10 sports cars that we think are the best on sale
Top 10 best rear-wheel-drive cars 2022
Best rear-wheel-drive cars - header image
Best cars & vans
19 Jan 2022

Top 10 best rear-wheel-drive cars 2022

Rear-wheel drive is supposed to be the drivetrain layout that delivers the most fun. Here are 10 cars that do exactly that
New Alpine A110 facelift launched with two new 296bhp variants
Alpine A110 S - front
Alpine A110
24 Nov 2021

New Alpine A110 facelift launched with two new 296bhp variants

Alpine has released even more power from the new A110’s engine, cutting the 0-62mph time to 4.2 seconds
Coupe of the Year 2021: Alpine A110
Alpine A110 - header
Alpine A110
7 Jul 2021

Coupe of the Year 2021: Alpine A110

The Alpine A110 is the 2021 Auto Express Coupe of the Year, with the BMW 4 Series and Porsche 718 Cayman commended
Best 60s cars: the 30 greatest cars of the 1960s
Best cars of the 60s - header
Best cars & vans
21 Jun 2021

Best 60s cars: the 30 greatest cars of the 1960s

The swinging sixties brought a vast array of unforgettable cars that would establish the path of the industry for decades to come. We pick our top 30 …
New £107,000 Alpine A110 S art car unveiled
Alpine A110 Art Car
Alpine A110 coupe
21 May 2021

New £107,000 Alpine A110 S art car unveiled

Alpine plans to produce four examples, but only three will be available for the public to buy
Special edition Alpine A110 Legende GT updated for 2021
Alpine A110
Alpine A110
12 May 2021

Special edition Alpine A110 Legende GT updated for 2021

Alpine has launched a new version of the limited-run A110 Legende GT, equipped with the A110S’s more powerful 288bhp 1.8-litre petrol engine
F1 road cars: performance cars from the 2021 Formula One teams tested
F1 road cars header
Features
26 Mar 2021

F1 road cars: performance cars from the 2021 Formula One teams tested

We put the performance products of seven Formula One teams through their paces on track
New Alpine A110 Legende GT 2021 review
Alpine A110 Legende GT - front
Alpine A110
12 Feb 2021

New Alpine A110 Legende GT 2021 review

The new Alpine A110 Legende GT adds a touch of luxury to our reigning Coupe of the Year
Alpine A110 - best performance cars
Alpine A110 - best performance cars
Alpine A110 coupe
8 Jan 2021

Alpine A110 - best performance cars

The lightweight Alpine A110 delivers a pure driving experience to go along with its quirky retro looks.
New MV Agusta Superveloce Alpine superbike takes A110 inspiration
Alpine A110
10 Dec 2020

New MV Agusta Superveloce Alpine superbike takes A110 inspiration

The MV Agusta Superveloce Alpine superbike produces 145bhp at 13,000rpm and is limited to just 110 units
Coupe of the Year 2020: Alpine A110
Alpine A110
13 Oct 2020

Coupe of the Year 2020: Alpine A110

The Alpine A110 is the 2020 Auto Express Coupe of the Year, with the Mercedes E-Class Coupe and Porsche 718 Cayman commended
BMW M2 CS vs Porsche 718 Cayman GTS vs Alpine A110 S
Performance cars
22 Aug 2020

BMW M2 CS vs Porsche 718 Cayman GTS vs Alpine A110 S

The new BMW M2 CS is the most hardcore M2 yet, but is it a match for the Porsche 718 Cayman GTS and Alpine A110 S?
'We all love sports cars, but not enough of us buy them'
Sports cars opinion
Opinion
21 May 2020

'We all love sports cars, but not enough of us buy them'

Renault could kill off the lovely Alpine A110 and that seems crazy, until you look at the reality of building and selling sports cars today.
New Alpine A110 Legende GT and Color Edition specials launched
Alpine A110
3 Mar 2020

New Alpine A110 Legende GT and Color Edition specials launched

The comfort-focused Alpine A110 Legende GT and the fashion-conscious A110 Color Edition are on sale now, with prices starting at £60,000
Alpine unveils off-road tailored A110 SportsX
Alpine A110 SportsX - front
Alpine A110
29 Jan 2020

Alpine unveils off-road tailored A110 SportsX

Lifted Alpine A110 SportsX adds rugged appeal to lightweight sports car
New Alpine A110 S 2020 review
Alpine A110 S - front
Alpine A110 coupe
17 Jan 2020

New Alpine A110 S 2020 review

We drive the new Alpine A110 S in the UK to see if the sharper version of our favourite coupe is even better
New 288bhp Alpine A110S: UK prices and specs revealed
Alpine A110S - front
Alpine A110
9 Aug 2019

New 288bhp Alpine A110S: UK prices and specs revealed

New Alpine A110S gets increased power and specific chassis set-up, with improved power to weight ratio