For a start, there’s the way it looks. Unlike most retro revivals, the reinvention of the A110 is a design masterclass, seamlessly integrating the berlinette’s iconic features in an ultra-modern shape that’s unlike anything else on sale.
The quad lamps, curvy rear screen, side scallops and roofline are there but, far from a pastiche, Alpine’s designers have created something unique, beautiful and, above all, desirable.
Beneath that sumptuous skin, the A110 is a technological tour de force featuring a mid-mounted, 1.8-litre turbo ‘four’ with a dual-clutch seven-speed ’box, controlled via wheel-mounted paddles.
Incredibly, the Alpine tips the scales at just 1103kg thanks to extensive use of aluminium throughout the body and chassis, hollow anti-roll bars, and a host of other weight-saving such as the slender yet beautifully sculpted bucket seats that dominate the purposeful interior.
The Alpine A110 weighs 1103kg
As a result, every one of its 248 horses is felt when you plant the throttle: 60mph comes in just 4.7 secs, while the top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.
But the spec sheet is only half the story: where the Alpine truly excels isn’t in straight-line speed, but in its ability to cross the country at pace and in comfort.
The secret lies in the combination of featherlight weight, 44:56 front-to-rear balance and a low centre of gravity, resulting in superb grip and cornering ability without resorting to the firm spring and damper rates of its heavier rivals – making the ride softer and more compliant and the handling more progressive at the limit.
Even in ‘Sport’ and ‘Track’ modes the ride comfort belies its abilities, and when you’re not emulating Jean-Luc Thérier, ‘Normal’ mode serves up relaxed and well-timed fully automatic gearchanges.
We struggled to find a bad angle for the A110...
Reviving a historic name; creating an all-new car; and entering a competitive sector against the Porsche Cayman: all pointed to potential disaster.
But against the odds, Renault has played a blinder.