Effectively not this automobile precisely, however its predecessor, the unique Renault Alpine A110 from the 1960s famed for its rallying success, which has at all times been one in all my dream automobiles. Dangerous timing and sheer physics (it’s tiny) has meant I’ve by no means obtained spherical to it, so this new model is the following neatest thing.
Renault isn’t pulling any punches with this new A110. It’s unashamedly aiming on the likes of the Porsche Cayman which is no one’s concept of a straightforward goal.
Whereas Renault may not fairly have the identical degree of badge kudos because the Porsche, this new Alpine definitely has the seems to be. It takes quite a lot of styling hints from the unique and it’s additionally very small, even in contrast with trendy sports activities automobiles.
There’s additionally the difficulty of the A110’s engine too. Sure, instances have moved on and we’re all now used to down-sized powerplants, besides a 1.Eight-litre turbo-petrol does appear to be slightly short-changed for a sports activities automobile, even with 248bhp.
The proof of the pudding nevertheless comes within the Alpine’s measurement and its extraordinarily low weight – simply 1.1 tonnes. The result’s that it could possibly get from zero to 60mph in simply four.5 seconds and onto a 155mph high pace together with 138g/km emissions and 46mpg common gas economic system.
To place that into perspective, to realize the identical degree of efficiency the Porsche Cayman S has a 2.5-litre engine with 350bhp, a lot larger emissions and a not-inconsiderable 47 stone extra weight – the equal of three rugby gamers sitting within the passenger seat.
Lotus founder Colin Chapman famously boasted about ‘including lightness’ to his automobiles to realize higher efficiency and this Alpine is the proper instance of that virtuous circle.
Put merely, the extra weight you possibly can take away from a automobile, then the much less energy you’ll want to obtain an equal efficiency degree plus you possibly can match smaller brakes, in themselves lighter than typical and so it goes on.
The absence of these three rugby gamers are instantly apparent whenever you climb into the Alpine. It’s not fairly to the identical spartan degree as a Lotus Elise, however it isn’t far off.
Practicality-wise, there’s a tiny slot to your cell phone and the ignition key card plus a small shelf beneath, which is awkward to entry. There’s no cupholders, no door pockets and no glovebox, so you’ll want to pack properly. Our automobile additionally had sporty mounted bucket seats to additional save weight.
Total, the construct high quality and supplies are good, however there are nonetheless some components such because the stereo quantity controls and the previous type key card (reasonably than its newest model for some purpose), that are clearly from the old-generation Renault elements bin.
These ideas don’t disappear altogether whenever you press the starter button and set off, however they definitely begin to dissipate. The 1.Eight-litre engine fires up with little drama and issues stay that manner at suburban speeds.
Flip onto twistier and sooner roads although and the Alpine’s true nature begins to look.
Flick down a few gears through the mounted gearchange paddles (which we’d want in the event that they have been mounted on the steering wheel itself) and flex your proper foot in anger and the Alpine’s responses are fast with the automobile leaping up the street.
Out of the blue the automobile feels alive in your arms, with the steering delicate to each enter and a sense of being completely at one with the automobile. Much more, that 1.Eight-litre engine seems to be an absolute screamer at larger revs, proving positively addictive to push the needle larger up the dial. It’s unquestionably at its greatest, when pushed exhausting.
The Sport mode, activated through a button on the steering wheel itself, simply heightens all of this additional nonetheless. What’s apparent is that on the appropriate street, the A110 is an utter pleasure to drive and to drive shortly.
You would possibly assume that you’ll want to be Lewis Hamilton to note that lack of weight we talked about earlier, however the actuality is that it’s so important that the automobile shouts that message to the motive force with each ingredient of its driving expertise – it’s no mistake that it’s a sense not totally not like that discovered within the present Mazda MX5 that has an identical light-weight ethos.
Right here, you’re not merely only a driver steering the automobile within the course you need it to go regardless of how briskly you’re going, as you would possibly do in rivals.
As a substitute, it virtually turns into a symbiotic relationship because the automobile is so responsive and intuitive to your thought processes, significantly when urgent on. Sure, it tends to comply with the camber of the street and the trip is on the sportier facet of agency, however we’re keen to forgive that.
All that mentioned, it’s not excellent although. It will be well mannered to say that the Alpine’s rearward imaginative and prescient is like trying by way of a letterbox, it’s truly far worse than that.
The 2 boots, entrance and rear are laughably small and whenever you’re not within the temper for driving exhausting, it definitely received’t be as stress-free to drive each day as a Boxster or Cayman.
Then once more, you’re unlikely to fall in love with both of these two like you’ll this Alpine.
The £51,805 price ticket isn’t the simplest to abdomen both, however then all the preliminary Premiere Version fashions bought out and it’s straightforward to see why potential Cayman consumers would possibly need one thing slightly completely different, particularly for weekends.
The hero worship would possibly be capable to begin another time.
Mannequin: Alpine A110
Engine: Turbo-petrol – 1.Eight-litre
Energy: zero to 60mph in four.5 seconds, 155mph high pace
Common gas economic system: 46mpg
CO2 emissions: 138g/km
Rivals: Audi TT, BMW Z4, Porsche Cayman