As we write this, the Alpine A110 remains the only car to be awarded a 10/10 rating in our reviews. Ti co-founder Dan Prosser used to own one, in fact. You may have heard him talk about it…
Société des Automobiles Alpine was founded in 1955, but the original A110 of 1961 truly put the French marque on the map. The rear-engined sports car was hugely successful in motorsport, winning the World Rally Championship in 1973. Later A310 and GTA models were leftfield alternatives to another rear-engined sports car: the Porsche 911. However, they didn’t sell in sufficient numbers to sustain the Alpine brand, which was quietly killed off by parent company Renault in 1996.
Alpine’s comeback came in 2017, with the reborn A110. The compact and perfectly formed coupe was developed by Ti contributor David Twohig, and is, well… the leftfield alternative to a Porsche Cayman. It’s also a fabulous, life-affirming thing to drive, with superb steering, a supple ride and an absence of inertia that stems from Twohig’s fierce obsession with saving weight.
The resurgent Alpine has effectively replaced Renault Sport and, appropriately enough, its next car will be a hot hatchback. The electric A290 is based on the forthcoming Renault 5, with more power, a wider track and torque vectoring to simulate a mechanical diff. If it can somehow combine the magic of a Megane RS and an A110, Alpine could be on course for another Ti top score. We shall see.