Announced with great fanfare in 2012, Alpine’s return was slow to become a reality. Renault has certainly spared no effort to keep the spotlight on the news, by engaging the Dieppe brand in the European Le Mans Series and then in the WEC. Two categories in which it emerged victorious thanks to the expertise of Signatec and Nissan. But what the fans were waiting for was the return of a production vehicle. Initially developed with Caterham, the project was delayed due to the withdrawal of the British manufacturer. Renault has taken over the development of the vehicle on its own account and is now returning its copy to us.
And 22 years later….
In 1995, the last Alpine left the Dieppe plant. It was an A610, one of the worst fiascos in its history, because it no longer matches the brand’s original spirit. Since 1995, Alpine has disappeared without really disappearing, since it was gradually attached to Renault Sport to develop the sports models in the Renault range. First there was the radical Spider RS of 1996. Then closer to us, the different generations of Clio and Megane RS. But in any case, no vehicle carried the A logo anymore.
Under the impetus of Carlos Tavares, then number two at Renault and a true motor sport enthusiast, it was announced in 2012 that Alpine would return to competition and on the road. First planned to be a Franco-British product under an agreement signed with Caterham, we are now in 2017 with a 100% French product, manufactured in the historic Dieppe plant. The reasons for Caterham’s withdrawal from the project in 2014 will never be known. But we are happy today to see the new A110 appear.
The two generations of the A110 in the same photo
Because yes, the novelty takes up the name of the one that will certainly remain the most outstanding Alpine. The new A110 therefore reflects its philosophy, but obviously adapting it to today’s technological and safety requirements.
Judging by the comments heard at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show where it was presented, but also in the specialised press, this reinterpreted A110 seems to have won many votes. But that’s for the aesthetic side. We know that it is only on the road that she will truly be judged. And for the moment, no one has been able to drive it… Verdict in a few weeks, the first deliveries taking place at the end of 2017.
On paper anyway, Alpine has put the little things into the big picture: controlled weight, all-aluminium structure, small turbocharged engine in a central rear position, sufficient power, top-notch performance… it promises.
In any case, Alpine quickly got used to the new marketing methods, since last December, the brand opened reservations for a special launch edition, the “First Edition”. At that point, no one knew the name of the car, nor had they seen it. However, in 3 days, the 1955 copies were booked for a cheque for €2,000. This says a lot about the lust generated by the A110. By the way, why 1955 copies? 1955 is the year Alpine was born…
It’s hard to find a competition for the new A110. The Lotus Elise and Alfa-Romeo 4C are lighter, but more uncluttered. And the Porsche 718 Cayman is heavier and more compact. Perhaps the Alpine is the right compromise?