Which of these Gendarmerie Alpines is the coolest? | Top Gear
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Which of these Gendarmerie Alpines is the coolest?

The Alpine A110 is joining the French police fleet, but how does it compare to its predecessors?

Published: 11 Jan 2022

Back in October it was announced that the Alpine A110 would be joining the Gendarmerie’s rapid intervention team to patrol the roads of France. But did you know this isn’t the first time the Gendarmes have had A110s at their disposal?

You see, Alpine’s ties with the police actually go back more than 50 years. “When the Gendarmerie was tasked with patrolling France’s motorways, the importance of rapid-intervention operations soon became apparent,” explains Richard Filmotte, squadron leader of Gendarmerie Nationale. “At the same time, the creation of a bespoke squad equipped with fast vehicles provided our organisation with a more modern, high-tech image that was reinforced when we started running Alpine A110s in 1967.”

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In other words if crims could make a quick getaway, the police needed to keep up.

The A110 eventually gave way to the A310 in 1973, which then served for a further 14 years. Since then, the Gendarmerie has relied on the Renault 18 Turbo, Renault 21 2.0-litre Turbo, Megane IDE and Megane RS over various stints for all its high-speed pursuit needs.

A total of 26 A110s will be entering the fleet wearing a dark Abysse Blue livery to reflect the Gendarmerie’s traditional colours. After leaving the factory they'll be sent over to specialist firm Durisotti, which will kit them out with blues and twos, scary decals and the like.

So are the lucky officers handed the keys there and then? Er, no. The crews “are subjected to a thorough medical examination and their driving skills are evaluated around a circuit". The chosen few are then put through their paces at the Le Mans-Bugatti track so that they “feel at one with their vehicle” when driving at speed. Can’t argue with that.

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However, Filmotte insists that responding to incidents quickly - rather than chasing baddies - is the main benefit for law enforcement. “Anticipation is essential,” he says, “and the car they use must be a tool that permits them to do just that.”

So where does the A110 rank alongside its predecessors on the coolness scale? Have a flick through the gallery above, and then check out the best police cars from around the world.

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