The return of the Renault Alpine

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(December 16, 2017) When Renault’s Alpine A110 goes on sale in 11 European markets, Japan and Australia with further markets to be added later — though probably not the U.S. — it will be led out by the Premier Edition, a run of 1,955 special cars that were allocated via a mobile app. These sold out in five days, and the app will soon open for ordering the regular production model.

What will the buyer of the Premier Edition get? A lot, actually, in that the Premier Edition is an A110 with all the options. The only choice the buyer has to make is which of three colors (Alpine Blue, Noir Profond, and Blanc Solaire) to order.

Each of the cars sits on lightweight 18-inch Otto Fuchs forged aluminum wheels, is fitted with an active sport exhaust, Focal audio system, carbon fiber interior accents, brushed aluminum pedals, lightweight leather-trimmed Sabelt sport seats, a numbered plaque on the center console and Tricolor badges on the rear pillars.

Mechanically, the Premier Edition is the same as the regular production Alpine, which means it sports a double-wishbone suspension unit at each corner, aluminum chassis and body, and a rear-mounted turbocharged 1.8-liter inline four.

The long-travel suspension uses dual A-arms instead of struts so that suspension kinematics are more linear, a necessity in a vehicle with 56% of its weight on the rear wheels. Struts would move into positive camber when the vehicle rolls into a corner, reducing the grip of the P235/40-R18 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 rear tires. The front wheels wear P205/40-R18 tires.

The Alpine features Brembo brakes front and rear, with 12.6-inch discs clamped by four-piston fixed aluminum calipers up front, and 12.6-inch discs with integrated parking brake clamped by single-piston floating calipers in the rear. ABS, traction control and stability control are standard, and the driver can select Normal, Sport and Track modes.

The amount of slip allowed before the stability control intervenes is increased with each step, and the driver has the option of disabling it entirely no matter which drive mode is chosen. In addition, throttle response, steering assistance, gearshift speed and exhaust sound level also are affected.

Renault’s 1.8-liter turbocharged four is modified by Alpine engineers to produce 248 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, and 236 lb.-ft. of torque from 2,000 rpm. It is mated to a wet clutch Getrag dual-clutch gearbox with seven forward speeds. Using the built-in launch control, Renault says the A110 is capable of accelerating from 0-62 mph in 4.5 seconds, and has an electronically limited top speed of 156 mph. The regular production version may be ever so slightly quicker as the Premier Edition weighs 2432 pounds, while a base car tips the scales closer to 2,400 pounds.

Renault claims interior head room is generous enough to let the driver and/or passenger wear a helmet comfortably. And the 3.5 cubic foot front storage area is just large enough to hold two airline carry-on bags side-by-side, while the 3.4cubic foot rear cargo area was designed to accommodate two full-face helmets and a single overnight bag.

The Virtual Driver