Overcome the initial turbo lag and the Alpine leaps towards the horizon at an astonishing rate, while phenomenal grip means that bends are dispatched with uncanny ease.
This is a blisteringly fast and competent 2+2, and it’s a great injustice that so few found takers in period.
Marque snobbery? Humbug! Pay for a Porsche badge if you will, but you’ll be missing out on a superb sports car and transcontinental express.
After the refinement of the GTA, Crispin Forster’s A110 is a loud and brutal hooligan.
Alongside its ’80s stablemate it really is tiny, but boy does it punch above its weight. Hard acceleration is accompanied by a guttural growl from the Gordini ‘four’, and you discover what all the fuss is about when you reach the first corner.
Floor the throttle and the A110 roars around bends at a stunning pace, the steering amazingly communicative as the scenery flashes by in a surreal blur of this-shouldn’t-be-possible adrenalin-fuelled excitement.
It really is staggering, yet feels utterly benign – on a twisty mountain pass, I can imagine few cars being more inspiring. Plus, if you’re not in the mood for B-road lairiness, just park it and drink in the exquisite shape and faultless detailing.
From the delicate air scoops with chromed strakes atop the rear wings to the gorgeously purposeful dash, there’s nothing about the A110 that fails to impress.
Yet for all the magic, I’m not sure that I’d want to drive any great distance in the A110.
The firm ride and gruff soundtrack are probably best sampled in small doses, and I think that it would be hard not to treat every road as a rally stage – much to the detriment of your licence.
Which brings me onto the A310. It’s not as polished as the GTA Turbo, and it lacks the raw appeal of the A110, yet to my mind that makes it the perfect compromise.
With greater mass hanging behind the back axle line than in its petite sister, the A310 is more pendulous in its handling, but the steering is superb, the performance exhilarating and, although the Douvrin V6 is hardly the world’s most sonorous powerplant, the overall driving experience is supremely addictive.
The A310 is deceptively quick – it goes like stink, in fact – yet it’s wonderfully cosseting.
The spongy seats are far softer than those of the GTA, and the narrower, oh-so-’70s cabin more inviting.