The Alpine A110 was positioned to hit the auto market with a BOOM. Arriving and challenging three of the best drivers cars in the industry: the Porsche Cayman, the Lotus Evora, and the Alfa Romeo 4c. It has a 1.8-liter turbo 4 cylinder producing 252 horsepower, and 236 ft lbs of torque. The power is in a mid-engine format, with a dual-clutch transmission sending power to the rear wheels. The 0-60 time is claimed at 4.5 seconds (which puts it on par with a 2016 Mustang GT) and the car weighs a bantamweight 2,381 pounds.
Do all of the aforementioned stats sound great? Well then prepare for some bad news, the car will not be sold in the United States. Bernard Ollivier told Leftlane news, “At the moment we are not planning on selling the A110 in the U.S… Re-launching the brand is a big project. Right now we're focusing on markets like Europe and Japan”. Alpine never sold cars in the states consistently. Bringing the entire brand to the states would be a tall order for any car manufacturer. This is disheartening news. The alpine was stunning, to look at, and had potential as a fantastic sports car. Judging from promotional material, it made the right sounds, and did the right things. Alpine just doesn’t see it fit to bring it to the States.
Now the interesting part of all of this is that it might not be hard to bring the car here to the states. Alpine is a subdivision of Renault, which owns Nissan. This car could be exactly what either Nissan or their luxury division Infiniti needs. On Nissans part, make it a new 180SX. People have been begging for Nissan to create a new lightweight small sports car. Right now Nissan offers one sportscar, the 370z, and a world class car, the GT-R. However there's no fresh blood in their sports entries. Both are running on platforms that are over 9 years old. The Alpine as a 180SX could be a defibrillator to inject life into Nissan’s lineup. The only issue with reviving the 180SX name here is price. The 180sx is usually inexpensive. It’s highly unlikely that Alpine would make it as a Nissan for under 36 thousand dollars a car. If Nissan could navigate that, the A110 could be an amazing start to Nissan’s new sports car line-up.
As an Infiniti, the A110 becomes something Infiniti has never had; a 2 seater sports coupe. BMW has the Z, Porsche the Cayman, Alfa Romeo the 4c, and Infiniti has nothing. It sort of fits into Infiniti’s current plans well. Has no manual transmission, an upscale interior, a turbocharged engine, and is RWD. The car could stand alone in the lineup as the sole fun offering. The car would directly oppose the Cayman which is seen as the leader in its class. One of the biggest hold-ups in new cars is the amount of R&D needed to bring it from concept to showrooms. For Infiniti, all of that is done. The car just needs some rebranding and commercials and it’s ready to go. The price issue that Nissan has would not be present with an Infiniti car, however they could undercut both the Cayman and 4c.
In both instances, people don’t want to have to go to Porsche (don’t like German cars), or Alfa Romeo (don’t like the styling, not enough utility, don’t trust Italian). They want something different. A lot of the coupe market especially in the luxury side is built on either brand loyalty, or being different. The A110 would appeal to being different.
The Alpine A110 is a car that has tons of heritage from the original a110, it shares a name and those funky lights. But just like the original A110, it won’t be seen on the streets here in the US. You’re now left with four options. Option A,B, and C can help you fill the void left by the A110. Go buy a Cayman S, 4C, or Lotus Evora. Show the number crunchers that people do want these kinds of cars. No, buying them used doesn’t count, go buy one new, give people rides, let young kids see that it’s awesome. Option D is a bit different. Go buy a plane ticket for a vacation to Europe or Japan where the A110 will be sold. While on your glorious vacation test drive an A110 and live out your dream.