We’re in Marseille, France. Not much is more French than
the car we’re driving today. Unfortunately not this old one,
but its spiritual successor. It has the same name: the Alpine A110.
This too is an A110. The cool thing about the new one is that they
managed to copy the design of the old car, without making it look like a retro model. The headlights, the extra lights…
This one has it too, but it looks modern. This is obviously a classic car.
It’s an old car. The engine sits behind the rear axle. It has 75 hp. However, they thought it too risky
to put the engine behind the rear axle. The new one has it in front of
the rear axle, behind the front seats. The main difference is that you had
some space in the back here, but not there. That’s the main difference.
I’ll tell you about the rest while driving. Let’s go. First, a bit of history. I can imagine that
the younger viewers don’t know what Alpine is or where it comes from.
Renault markets it, but it’s an independent brand. That brand has a long history. In 1955, Jean Rédélé lived in Diep, France. He had a Renault dealership
and loved to drive fast in his spare time. He started developing cars that
would be able to do that best. This meant small, lightweight cars. He did, and successfully so. The cars were
successful in rally and racing in the ’70s. They won the Monte Carlo Rally two times
and the World Rally Championship. Alpines were cool cars.
The name derives from his love
for driving on mountain roads. Alps. That’s why he called his brand Alpine. The cars grew after the ’70s.
The engines were heavier too. They were made of plastic to keep them light,
but Alpine slowly went downhill. It became quiet in the mid ’90s. It never went
bankrupt, but no more cars were built. It was done. Until two years ago,
when Renault showed a new concept car. That was this car, the Alpine A110.
It was called differently back then. It was named after the A110
of the mid ’70s that was so successful. A fanatic Frenchman told me to stop.
Have we been bad? No, he wanted to show us he has a photo of him
with the son of the founder of Alpine, Jean Rédélé. With an A310. He was a fan and wanted to take
a picture of the car, and another one. Then he left. We could continue working. This is what
Alpine unleashes in France. It’s a thing here. Alpine expects to sell a lot of cars in France
and to sell cars in the rest of Europe later on. That was the intermezzo. Let’s continue. The Alpine A110 is the first car
of the new Alpine brand. They had clear targets when building this car. The car had to be small, lightweight,
and do 0-100 kph (62 mph) within 4.5 seconds. Those are ambitious goals. They succeeded. The car weighs
1,080 kg (2,381 lb), including liquids. It’s not the dry weight, but including liquids. The car we’re driving now, the Premier Edition with
extra goodies, weighs about 1,100 kg (2,425 lb). That’s still a lightweight car.
The accessories make it heavier. It’s a lot smaller than its rivals, the Porsche Cayman,
BMW 2 Series coupe, and Audi TT. These cars are bigger than this Alpine,
but these cars inspired Alpine. They also looked at other small driver’s cars,
such as Lotus and Alfa Romeo 4C. They wanted a bit of everything.
This results in a package with smart things. They built a very smart car. Like I said, it’s below 1,100 kg (2,425 lb).
They managed this with weird things. Very little heavy materials were used,
only aluminum and carbon. Even the sound system has been
developed together with Focal. The speakers include linen,
which is very lightweight. A speaker weighs 1 kg instead of 7 kg.
They saved a lot of weight everywhere. Speaking of the sound system and the interior,
these seats are fixed sport seats. You can adjust them a little with an allen wrench,
but only forward and backward if you chose this. The seats weigh 13.1 kg (28.9 lb). An average sports seat in this segment weighs
25 kg (55 lb), so much weight has been saved. They saved weight in all kinds of freaky ways. Saving weight means that this frunk lid
is too light to close it using gravity. You have to close it yourself. The car doesn’t have much room, so it’s Tetris meets
origami for advanced players to make everything fit. I have to twist my bag
and put the first aid kit on top. This is very lightweight too. It barely fits. Our cameraman’s laptop
fits behind the front seats. It didn’t fit anywhere else. We couldn’t close
the frunk lid if the laptop stayed in his bag. That’s complicated. Because the car is lightweight,
it doesn’t need a very powerful engine. This car’s engine is newly developed. It’s the 1.8
turbo we’ll see in the Renault Espace and Mégane RS. In this car it has 249 hp
and 320 Nm (236 lb ft) torque. The 4.5 second target sprint is possible. The top speed is 250 kph (155 mph) isn’t bad either. How does it translate to the road?
Do you feel like driving a fast car? I can tell you Alpine made
serious work of the suspension. I don’t know how they did it,
but this car handles great. The suspension doesn’t have much crazy things,
such as variable shock absorbers. It’s a fixed setup. It does have
double wishbones, front and back. That’s rather exclusive for a car in this price range. It’s more common in expensive sports cars.
This car isn’t in the Formula 1 car budget range. Still, it’s there. Even though it has a standard shock setup,
which is the same in all drive modes, the roadholding is nice. It’s not super hard,
rattling your teeth on bumpy roads. It does always keep contact with the road. Another system that helps with
tight cornering is torque vectoring. When you turn in and brake hard, it brakes
harder on the inside rear wheel for better steering. These are small things to make driving more fun. There’s a small downside. The brakes go hot
on mountain roads. You could smell them. They didn’t fade, so the brakes didn’t stop working. I can imagine that this could be
a problem when driving on a track. I’m not saying it will be, but it could be a problem. It’s a nice handling car. The chassis is well balanced. It keeps its feet on the ground, but it doesn’t feel
like an uncomfortable sports car on a bumpy road. It feels solid with a good finish. The interiors of lightweight sports cars
often feel flimsy and rattle quickly. I abused this car today, but it stays okay.
No strange noises. The new Alpine is very well built. There are 3 drive modes.
These don’t do anything with the suspension. They do something with the throttle response and
the way in which the automatic transmission shifts. The transmission has the same
housing as the Clio RS, but that’s it. The internals are completely different.
The 7 gears were developed for the Alpine. The gears are short, so you’re shifting a lot. I still have to get used to it. I take a corner
in 2nd gear while it’s fine in 3rd gear. It’s very nice once you’re used to it. The drive modes give you more or less
liberty with the rear of the car. It’s a rear-wheel driven car. You’re allowed to do something,
but very little in Normal and Sport mode. In Track mode you’re allowed
a drift angle of 30 degrees. That’s not strange. We know this from other cars. They take over violently when you exceed the limit. This car doesn’t. This car does take over,
but you don’t feel it. It adjusts slightly. Less torque here,
a bit of braking there. It makes you feel like you’re solving it yourself. When the tail is in line again,
you can go on to the next corner. That’s very well done. This allowed me to have lots of fun in this car today. Can I find something to complain about? There are some minor things. I can only think of one:
the view through the rear window. You’re looking through a mailbox.
You don’t see much. That’s the only thing. I like the insane way
in which they approached this car. I want to say one more thing. It has no rear spoiler. Many cars in this segment have a spoiler
or one that pops up at a certain speed because there’s not enough downforce.
They solved it with this car using a diffuser. It didn’t need a spoiler, which saves weight,
making the car lighter. It does have small slits over
the rear wheel arches for some downforce. The whole car has been well thought out. It’s finished. I hope this will be
the success for Alpine they hope it will be. The first series of cars, the Premier Edition
we’re driving now, were sold out within 5 days. That would be 2,000 cars. They will produce these cars
at the end of this year until mid 2018. It’s possible to order a Renault Alpine.
The Premier Edition costs 66,500 euros. There will be 2 more editions,
the Pure and the Légende. The Pure is the hardcore version. You’ll get
these fixed bucket seats of 13 kg (29 lb). It’ll be cheaper than the Premier Edition.
Prices aren’t available yet, but it’ll be cheaper. The Légende includes adjustable seats
and other things for more comfort. It’ll be more expensive. Of course you can tick boxes
with the Pure to make it the way you want it to be. Production of these cars will start mid 2018. If you haven’t ordered one already,
you have to wait before you can drive an Alpine. That’s tough luck, because it’s a really fun car. Subtitles – Maru’s Text Support