FRENCH car fiends have reason to celebrate, with the Alpine A110, Renault’s alloy-bodied, mid-engined sportscar, finally confirmed for our shores with a local arrival forecast for the second half of 2018.
The precise launch date and pricing has yet to be locked in, but Renault has verified the A110 will initially go on sale in a limited-edition specification with 18-inch forged alloy wheels, fixed-back Sabelt sports seats, a Brembo brake package with two-piece rotors, active exhaust, alloy pedals, carbon interior trim and high-end audio system.
Following the initial launch model will be “a range of other variants”, though Alpine is keeping mum on the details of those cars for now.
All A110s will make use of Renault’s new 1.8-litre turbo petrol four-pot, mounted transversely behind the seats and taking its 185kW and 320Nm outputs to the rear wheels via a seven-speed twin clutch automatic. Those outputs are lower than the 205kW/390Nm Megane RS, which uses the same engine in a different state of tune, but the Alpine A110 cuts a slimmer figure to keep performance on the frisky side of the spectrum.
Weighing just 1080kg when empty thanks to an aluminium monocoque construction, the A110 sprints to 100km/h in a swift 4.5 seconds on its way to an electronically-limited 250km/h top speed. Alpine claims a weight distribution of 44:56 front-to-rear, which, in combination with its double-wishbone front and rear suspension, bodes well for cornering capability.
Price? Renault Australia isn’t saying just yet, but has indicated that it expects the final retail pricetag to fall somewhere between $90,000 and $110,000 – which would put it in competition with the $97,990 Lotus Elise Sprint 220 and the $89,000 Alfa Romeo 4C.
Both of those rivals align closely on technical terms too, through their lightweight constructions (alloy for Lotus, carbon-fibre for Alfa) and mid-engine layout that puts a boosted low-capacity engine between the rear wheels and passenger compartment.
The Lotus employs a supercharged 1.8-litre four with 162kW and 250Nm (but is a featherweight at 904kg), while the 4C utilises a turbo 1.7 making 177kW and 350Nm. Like the A110, the 4C is dual-clutch only while the Elise Sport makes use of a conventional manual.
Interested parties can reserve their spot in the queue, and Renault Australia’s dealership network will retail the A110 alongside the French brand’s conventional passenger cars. Not all dealers will sell and service the Alpine, however, with specific dealers set to be confirmed closer to the A110’s local arrival.