Photos Alpine A110S: La Escudería / Video: Kukfilms
Mand they like special things. Those that you have to ask what they are because, at first glance, they don't look like anything you've ever seen before. They are undoubtedly enveloped by an aura of originality, and are the expression in its purest form of creativity and human genius. Unfortunately, series production tends to put this uniqueness, to call it somehow, in the background.
I easily fall in love with self-propelled objects like the ones I show you below. "I've never seen one like this", "Above all, what is its history?" It's all made up, but There is something about these that smells classic, beyond their age; they are perceived more as a purely artisan and artistic work rather than as industrial design. Someone has done those things to somehow make their mark on history, not necessarily to do business. "I was there", You know.
Today sports cars are available to anyone. If you have the money, and from a Volkswagen Golf GTI to a Ferrari 812, you can buy them and be sure that you will not make a fool of yourself when driving them. They have transformed them into something so highly effective that you have the possibility of acquiring them even if you do not have a special hobby and all you want is to be recognized for having the fattest car. You can be an inept driving, they forgive you everything. Blessed electronics.
The need for recognition
Buying more than capable cars is still a status symbol. Also, the expression of the personality of its owner. The difference is that today you only give money in exchange: The machine does not demand that you pamper it, take care of it, listen to it, dance with it. It will endure what you throw at it, as if it were indestructible; at least during the warranty period. And this gives us such beautiful stamps as those of Lamborghinis owners who do not hesitate to turn them on and then press until the cold cut. Creepy, right? Let them try to do that with an old Italian, see what happens ...
But What happens when no one knows what you are wearing? When people, attentive observers and always eager to judge, don't know how to calibrate you by the car you drive? When, even though they like what they see, can you choose whether or not to reveal your secret to them? In that case you have probably bought a car out of a simple passion for motorsports, which establishes you as a true fan, immune to fashions. You felt the call of the wild and followed it regardless of the consequences. What you bought is special to you and other hunters of authenticity.
Alpine A110S: The Important Thing
This type of material usually has to be forgiven for certain things; you know, art is not without compromises, with rare exceptions. Look at the seat of that Harley, or the absolutely unnecessary complication of the mechanics of the Lancia. However, the Alpine A110 it is one of those paradoxes in which there are hardly any drawbacks. It's like a Porsche Cayman but it's único in the sense in which we said at the beginning. How can it be?
I do not know much about modern cars, so I will not stop at options or technological gadgets (for more and better I link you to our friends of 8000 laps). Let's go to what interests: four-cylinder turbo central engine, with 1800cc and around 300CV of power. Short battle. 1.100 kilograms of weight. A dream chassis. A delicious bodywork in which the lines flow and in which there is no trace of the terrifying baroque style that prevails in current designs. In the Alpine A110S it smells classic, indeed.
The recipe is simple, that of a lifetime: A car to have a good time, with a quality above the French average and a foolproof effectiveness. Frankly, let's go this ahead: I don't think there is anything more cash on the public roads right now. It is not that you enjoy as you would in a Miata, it is that you are simply the fastest. You may or may not use this prerogative, but you are. The Dieppe engineers have done a fantastic job that does justice to and far exceeds the approach of the berlinetta Alpine original.
Speaking of the classic, Seems true enough? Actually, the new Alpine It is bigger in every way. Fortunately, it doesn't weigh too much, which is what counts. And it does not follow that philosophy of total spartaneity by which, as in the real Lotus, everything that is not essential is superfluous. Inside It is comfortable and, without going overboard, it has all the imaginable comforts. And the suspension is versatile, knowing how to adapt to driving circumstances.
Are we leaving or what? How does it feel to drive it?
Okay, let's stop chattering. Clack, open machine. It's easy to get in, that's a point. I settle on the baquets. With my plastic key in my pocket, I press the Start button on the center console. Brummmmm, It is not intimidating, and it is well insulated. Unlike other sports related, it does not pretend to be what it is not. It's a supercharged four-cylinder; It sounds like a fat GTI, just like a V12 Colombo sounds like a V12 Colombo. And period.
There is no gear stick and it is normal. We will never be able to change as fast and as well as machines, and in this Alpine everything revolves around effectiveness, of speed. Let us be aware that this authenticity, together with originality and beauty, make up its character. I put the mode in Sport, yes, so that it lets me change with the paddles. I press D and go out ...
There is something that does not fit me. This thing should be letting me change and, although it is not as invasive as in normal mode, it insists on correcting the gear when it deems it convenient. I have a friend who has one, so I call him: «You have to play here and here ...». Nothing, it has a solution but I can't do it and I don't have time to waste. So I put it in Track mode, which disconnects a lot of the driving aids. I know what you are thinking: "This is going to end badly" :O
I have always thought that the manipulation of any object requires prior learning. During this training one becomes familiar with it, looking for its functionalities and its limits. It is a trial and error, always within the respect that everything, whether natural or processed, should demand. We can't go around doing whatever we want, as if the world were ours. First we have to know. And that's what I do with me Alpine A110S configured in the purest possible mode, dispensing with filters to know how it really is.
"Rear-wheel drive, watch out." It's the first thing I think about. Progressivity, no clinging to the wheel like a gym hunk. Aside from my car, I configure my butt and the rest of my body to capture as much information as possible. Every time I go more loose and does not do anything strange. It's easy to befriend this little guy. Urban traffic OK, no problem. Highway OK, no problem too. Although below 160 one gets bored. The push of the biturbo, once I have the confidence to unleash it, is simply brutal.
You weave each of the seven gears one after the other, with no sense of weakness in terms of torque or power. The meter (not needle) of the tachometer goes up like a rocket constantly. I arrive home. During the next days I do different excursions with him Alpine A110 Also in Track mode and it is infallible, it does not fail at anything. She is a real mother. Also, I'm not a great driver, but it makes me feel that way. I guess you have to do something grossly wrong to scare you, and I didn't succeed. Sooner or later it will happen, he thought; but it didn't happen.
Let's go to fire; I say to record
The day of the video arrives and I feel in a position to do anything. At this stage I know that not its electronic aids, if not its chassis, will take care of me. And that, in my opinion, is saying a lot. Some of the best cars in history do not grant this privilege. Second order port and narrow carriageway. Paellas, turns of all kinds. I trust him, and I have to go moderately fast. Let's go there.
Before the cameras you always tend to go a little faster than you would like. So I literally end up throwing the car around corners. My God, this is not moving, neither from behind nor in front. I go with little help, I am mistreating him and he continues without failing. Even with gravel in between. I carry on with a feeling of total invincibility. How can it be? Is amazing!
We tried to cross it. Sharp curve, shoe in second, bestial push and does not slide. But how have they done it! We repeat, several times. With gravel it hurts very slightly, no more. We finally got it to slide a bit on an ugly corner that didn't make any sense to record. So we quit. He does not like anything, but nothing, that you try to get him out of his way. Especially the front end, which immediately grabs the ground again as if reprimanding you for your bad behavior, as if telling you «I am to make times, not the kaffir». The semislicks, of course, help you firm up your position.
The change is fast, very fast. Digest any reduction, even the one you know you've missed, without blinking. Braking and downshifting is so easy, I wish it was always like this, I feel like a pilot. The brake bite is superb, and they never tire. Up, down, up, down, over and over and they never squeal, not even on those demanding braking you think of 'I do not arrive, I do not arrive…'. The suspension, firm in these conditions, keeps the tires glued to the asphalt at all times. There is no swing whatsoever, it goes like a board. Regarding the direction, it is very precise: Commanded by a solid and communicative team, the Alpine always goes where you say, without exception.
It still sounds like a chubby GTI, but it's nice to hear it spinning up. Which, as we have said before, also does in the blink of an eye. The engine is nervous, it is waiting to jump. It is normally carried above 4,000 RPM; it is where it goes more comfortable, although it admits of course a walk use. After mid-range, the melody becomes sharper, prettier, which invites you to go up. Regarding the backfire, the righteous. We better leave it to him to drive other cars, this one does not need any.
Alpine A110 Last of a line?
Personally, I think we are in a historic moment: The gasoline runs out. Surely you have noticed the number of four-wheel refrigerators that are being sold. Necessary electrical appliances that, with the support of the states, will contribute, whether with an alternative fuel or another, to try to make this a cleaner world. No more grease, the smell of fuel and oil, the sound that can only come from the mixture of fire and metal. In the European Union it will possibly do so in 2035.
Maybe I am wrong. But if I'm right Cars like this Alpine A110S will be at the top of the food chain. The most perfected result of what for many of us is almost a religion: Motorsports based on internal combustion technology. After almost 150 years everything is going to change. Cars will never be the same again, so I think that anyone who wants to enjoy and keep the quintessence of their hobby should consider buying cars like this now. Without partial or complete electrification, the latest cry in a sadly old-fashioned alchemy.
We are at the same moment as when aviation lost part of its romanticism: that is, when turbines replaced the so-called explosion engines. Seeing Antoine de Saint-Exupery's mail plane, or a Spitfire, a Stuka or a Texan does not produce the same feeling as a freighter or a modern F17. And they don't make you feel the same (although they obviously make you feel something). In the case of motorsport, we risk losing not part of it, if not all of its romance. They may not get sportier the old-fashioned way anymore. One button is enough for a sample: The A110 will soon be discontinued to make way for its electric successor.
80.000 euros, although they start at 60. A Yaris GR is worth 40. It is also a car for connoisseurs but it lacks class. A Cayman is more expensive, but there are so many. A BMW M2 is a great car, but it does not have the air of a berlinetta and is certainly more boastful. The Alpine A110S is a French car: Maybe there is some compromise, hopefully not ungrateful. In return, you buy a beautiful, dynamically perfect machine that enshrines you as a hobbyist and is and will be revered by the people you truly care about, your fellow fans. An expression of you, not your money, which will also guarantee the curiosity (how many have you seen?), And not the envy, of your peers. If it's your type, and you can afford it, what are you waiting for? I wish this humble journalist could indulge himself.