Coupe of the Year 2019: Alpine A110
The Alpine A110 is the 2019 Auto Express Coupe of the Year, with the Porsche 718 Cayman and Toyota Supra commended
The Alpine brand has been around since the fifties, and its comeback with the new A110 has been a stunning return to form. Its retro-inspired looks caught our attention when it was revealed, but the real magic became apparent when we got behind the wheel.
A design ethos prioritising light weight (it tips the scales at just under 1,100kg in its purest form), modest power and driver engagement means it’s one of the best driver’s cars you can buy in 2019. The low kerbweight has huge benefits for the car’s ride and handling, but it also means the A110 is good to live with, thanks to decent economy, especially considering the stonking performance on offer.
Its 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbo engine produces 248bhp, which is a little less than its main rivals, yet because it’s so svelte, the A110’s performance is superb, with 0-62mph taking just 4.5 seconds. Its engine, mounted right behind the cabin, is characterful and fun to use, thanks to its addictive induction noise and fondness for revs. The standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is up to the task, too, with fast enough shifts.
The tiny cabin encloses the driver, and while the car’s focused nature means storage is limited, a decent driving position, responsive steering and stylish design touches mean that the Alpine feels like a very special car.
It’s incredibly agile and keen to be driven hard, so you can have plenty of fun on a B-road – and yet its passive damping is so well set up that it rarely comes unstuck over a rough bit of tarmac. The car is comfortable, but while some drawbacks in practicality mean you might not want to use it every day, it doesn’t feel too compromised, so you’ll still be able to cover big distances in one hit.
For the money, there’s nothing else quite like the Alpine A110. It’s more exotic than some supercars costing twice the price, with its mid-engined layout and striking exterior design, but it’s also more fun more of the time than nearly any other car on the road.
Alpine A110 Pure (£46,910)
All versions of the A110 get the brilliant, bespoke aluminium chassis that makes the car so special, along with the same 1.8-litre engine and DCT gearbox, so we’d stick with the cheaper Pure model that rides even better on its smaller wheels. Higher-spec Légende models get more toys, but aren’t any more fun.
Porsche 718 Cayman
If the Cayman still had a flat-six engine, it would easily be a category winner, but the flat-four isn’t as good, so it makes life harder for the Porsche. The car remains sublime in every other way, though, from ride and handling to practicality.
There’s another legendary name that has returned to the market this year, and that’s the Supra. This version features a strong straight-six engine from BMW, lively handling and bold looks. It’s great to drive and a worthy alternative to the Alpine or Porsche.
Auto Express New Car Awards 2019
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- 1IntroductionWhat are the best new cars to buy in the UK today? The 2019 New Car Awards have the answer...
- 2Car of the YearThe Auto Express Car of the Year for 2019 is the all-electric Tesla Model 3
- 3City Car of the YearThe Volkswagen up! is the 2019 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Kia Picanto and Skoda Citigo commended
- 4Supermini of the YearThe Ford Fiesta is the 2019 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the MINI 5-door and SEAT Ibiza commended
- 5Convertible of the YearThe MINI Convertible is the 2019 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the Audi A3 Cabriolet and Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet commended
- 6Compact Family Car of the YearThe Skoda Scala is the 2019 Auto Express Compact Family Car of the Year, with the Mazda 3 and Toyota Corolla commended
- 7Family Car of the YearThe Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport is the 2019 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Skoda Superb and Toyota Prius commended
- 8Compact Executive Car of the YearThe BMW 3 Series is the 2019 Auto Express Compact Executive Car of the Year, with the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Mercedes C-Class commended
- 9Executive Car of the YearThe BMW 5 Series is the 2019 Auto Express Executive Car of the Year, with the Mercedes E-Class and Volvo S90 commended
- 10Estate Car of the YearThe Skoda Octavia Estate is the 2019 Auto Express Estate Car of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series Touring and Volvo V60 commended
- 11Small SUV of the YearThe Citroen C3 Aircross is the 2019 Auto Express Small SUV of the Year, with the Dacia Duster and Volkswagen T-Cross commended
- 12Mid-size SUV of the YearThe Skoda Karoq is the 2019 Auto Express Mid-size SUV of the Year with the Peugeot 3008 and Toyota RAV4 commended
- 13Large SUV of the YearThe SEAT Tarraco is the 2019 Auto Express Large SUV of the Year, with the Peugeot 5008 and Skoda Kodiaq commended
- 14Small Premium SUV of the YearThe Range Rover Evoque is the 2019 Auto Express Small Premium SUV of the Year, with the Audi Q3 and Lexus UX commended
- 15Mid-size Premium SUV of the YearThe BMW X3 is the 2019 Auto Express Premium Mid-size SUV of the Year, with the Porsche Macan and Volvo XC60 commended