Meet the COTY finalists: Alpine A110

You know that thing about working smarter rather than harder? Yep, that.

Alpine A 110 Jpg

CAN WE talk for a moment about how the right philosophy pays dividends at Wheels Car of the Year? Take the Alpine A110 as an example.

When this car was conceived, Alpine not only attempted to update the ethos of the 1960s original for today, in effect trying to imagine what the Michelotti-designed original would have looked like with the benefit of nigh-on 60 years of continual evolution, but the team in Dieppe rigidly stuck to the original’s formula of light weight and modest power.

one year on from its COTY victory

Leveraging that virtuous circle of light weight creates a sort of COTY magic bullet, especially when judged against key COTY criteria such as function, value, safety and efficiency. By weighing less, the Alpine is more agile, it uses less fuel, its price is reduced by specifying smaller brakes and slighter suspension components. In addition, you’re more likely to avoid an accident in a car with less mass to draw to a halt and which can manoeuvre crisply.

That much we knew going into COTY. The proving ground section at You Yangs then threw up some additional bonuses. The first was the ride quality of the Alpine. There’s enough bump compliance to make it a genuinely usable everyday proposition, and you don’t have to clamber over hugely wide sills like you would in a Lotus Elise.

The second factor that really adds to the Alpine’s utility is its interior quality. It’d be easy to forgive the A110 a few rough edges as it’s a fairly low-volume vehicle, but the build integrity and the infotainment system feel like big ticket items. Of course, much of that is down to the input of paymasters Renault, but it’s a genuinely well-judged exercise in delivering bespoke styling that integrates mass-market components and electronic architecture. Best of both worlds, in other words.

It surged into the top five without a word of dissent from any of the judges. The A110 has already mopped up a whole slew of awards around the world. Can it add Wheels COTY to its trophy cabinet? To find out, be sure to hit up on the night of Wednesday, January 30.


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