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The Top Gear car review:Alpine A110
On the inside
Layout, finish and space
First things first. The A110 is small. Under 4.2 metres long and 1.8 metres wide, it’s a strict two-seater and not that practical. Like a Cayman, it has boots front and back, but the 100-litre front is shallow (you might get a couple of airline carry-on bags side-by-side in there), and the 96-litre rear, accessed through a lid the size of a flip-top bin, isn’t going to carry golf sticks (personally I think that’s a good thing).
It’s not small inside though, because the managing director, Michael van der Sande is six foot six, so he made sure. Design-wise the cabin gets close to being as appealing as the Cayman’s or TT’s. The design is lovely, what lets it down – and then only slightly – is the quality and materials. They’re not bad, but the door card below the lovely blue panel is black and scratchy, the steering wheel is slightly bulbous (and isn’t the boss slightly offset?) and the infotainment graphics ought to be more vivid. This does mean the 58,500 euro asking price for the Premiere Edition models looks awfully steep (further pricing is yet to be announced).
But as a car to drive, the A110’s interior sets the tone very nicely indeed. The optional fixed Sabelt seats not only look superb, but are superbly shaped and yet weigh only 13kg each – half the weight of the Recaro seats fitted in Renault’s hot hatches. You sit low, and rear visibility through the narrow slot isn’t great, but because the car is small, the driving position good, the controls well weighted and accurate, you have confidence on narrow roads. It’s a gap-slipper par excellence.
The centre console bridge features a pouch for your phone as well as the gearchange buttons and USB socket, there’s storage on the level underneath (it’s not that easy to access down the side of the seat, mind you), plus a brace plate for the passenger. There is Renault switchgear, but so different is the layout and design that you’re only peripherally aware of it.