WITH a fabled history stretching back to 1955 Alpine has returned to the UK car scene with a blast.
The A110 is a cracker of a sports car with near perfect balance and enough power to make it an alternative to the likes of an Audi TT or Porsche Cayman.
That's heady company but the A110 is good enough to make its mark as a great coupe and it's a breath of fresh air among two seaters.
Styled as a modern take on the original Alpine Berlinettes of the 1960s and 70s, the A110 is powered by a 1.8-litre turbo engine boosted to 248bhp and mated to a seven-speed semi-automatic DCT gearbox.
It's good for 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds, is limited to a maximum of 155mph and officially it is rated at 46mpg with emissions of 138g/km.
Given the way the car is likely to be driven that is an optimistic fuel return and we managed to average 32 to the gallon on a good drive in the A110 through the Cotswolds.
The car we tried was a Premiere Edition model and one of a limited run of 1,955 Alpine has produced to mark its return after an absence of more than 20 years.
As such it comes fully loaded with the likes of Sabelt bucket sports seats, carbon trim inside, an active exhaust system for some sporty fun, aluminium pedals and Tricolore badges on the rear pillars to mark its French heritage. There's also a numbered plaque to denote its exclusivity.
On the road the A110 Premiere Edition is priced at £51,805 and all 1,955 - a nod to the year Alpine was formed - were snapped up within five days of being announced, such is the interest in the brand.
Mainstream Pure and Legend models are now in production and are priced from £46,905 and £50,805 respectively with the Legend specced out to be more GT oriented and the Pure cars a little more basic.
Specification apart, all have the same powertrain and out on the road the Alpine A110 is scintillating.
Mid-engined and rear wheel drive its handling characteristics are absolutely pure and it has a nice, light feel as it goes through its paces.
The Premiere Edition tips the scales at just over 1.1 tonnes and that is down to a lightweight aluminium construction.
A flat underbody and a working rear diffuser add to the car's aerodynamics and there's grip aplenty.
There's no gear lever, just three buttons for drive, neutral and reverse and with paddle shifters plus three drive modes - one specifically for track use - the A110 responds beautifully whatever is asked of it.
The cockpit is trimmed out in impressive fashion. There's a Focal hi-fi, a centrally mounted seven-inch display screen and steering wheel mounted buttons for the cruise control and speed limiter.
Sat nav is standard and so is emergency braking while the electronic stability controls can be disengaged if required.
Several displays are available including power and torque curves as well as a G-force meter and can be viewed either from the main screen or on the instrument panel.
On the practical side, although immensely comfortable, boot space is limited to 100 litres under the bonnet and a further 96 litres at the back so think overnight bags rather than cases.
Alpine has been part of Renault since 1973 and the A110 is built at the same Dieppe factory as created by its founder Jean Redele back in 1969.
Over the years the brand has notched up some notable motorsport achievements winning the Monte Carlo rally in 1971 and 1973 - when it also won the World Rally Championship - and outright victory at Le Mans in 1978.
Production stopped in 1995 and Alpine lay dormant until 2012 when Renault announced it was to revive the brand leading to the reveal of the new A110 at the Geneva Motor Show in 2017.