According to the original plan I should be only a couple of weeks away from Alpine A110 ownership. Frustratingly, my car has been postponed and now won’t arrive until late October. I become more and more impatient everyday, but this delay does at least mean I might be able to get out to the factory in Dieppe to see my car going down the line. In which case, waiting around for a couple of months longer will absolutely be worth it.
While I twitch and fidget impatiently, let me tell you about the specification I’ve gone for. The A110 is pretty much at the top of my budget so one of the key drivers was keeping costs down. That’s why I’m getting an entry-level model, the Pure, rather than the Legende or the recently announced A110S. That’s also why I’m ordering a new car from the factory rather than buying an ex-demo or a pre-owned car, most of which still carry a premium. The Pure starts at a whisker under £47,000, to which I’ve added only a handful of options.
For those that don’t already know, the Pure is billed as the driver focussed A110 whereas the Legende is a little more style conscious and comfort oriented. Actually, beneath the skin they’re exactly the same, so we’re only talking different colours, trim and equipment rather than individual power outputs or suspension setups. To my Pure I’ve added Thunder Grey paint at £780. It wasn’t that long ago that I had a little rant elsewhere about the unending torrent of new cars we see in monochrome paint colours these days. Now I’m part of the problem. Alpine doesn’t offer a particularly extensive colour palette and I wanted to avoid the now very familiar Alpine Blue, which more or less left me with dark blue, white, grey or black. Besides, to my eye the A110 looks at its best in Thunder Grey so in the end it wasn’t a difficult decision.
As standard the Pure sits on 17-inch wheels. No doubt there’d be a marginal ride and handling advantage on those smaller rims, but they look like trolley wheels and I wasn’t going to put up with that. I find the optional 18-inch Serac wheels a little too fussy, so I’m going with the forged Fuchs 18s instead. They’re a clean, simple, twin five-spoke design that suits the muted grey bodywork perfectly and being forged, they’re lighter than the Seracs as well. No brainer, really, although to have those wheels you do need to specify the uprated 320mm brakes as well. Again, that’s probably a no brainer, but the cost of the wheels and brakes comes to a punchy £2592.
In the cabin I’ve opted for the uprated Focal stereo, although not the top spec Focal Premium that comes with a subwoofer. That’s another £552 on the invoice. Finally, I’ve added parking sensors at a cost of £660 because I live in a city and I know I’d be gutted if I misjudged a tight parallel park one day and scraped a bumper. (I’m also aware that having mostly driven cars with parking sensors or cameras for the past decade, I’ve become utterly reliant on them. How depressing).
And that’s it. The Pure comes as standard with the brilliant Sabelt fixed-back bucket seats, so there’s no need to upgrade the chairs. They’re not only very light but also among the most comfortable and supportive buckets I’ve ever come across. In my experience, a full eight-hour day in their embrace is no problem whatsoever. I might yet splash out on a couple of the leather storage accessories that attach by velcro to the interior carpet, because as anybody who has poked around an A110 will know there’s almost nowhere to keep your wallet, keys, sunglasses and whatever else.
I’m making do without the Alpine Telemetrics system, which displays and stores data for trackday use, and I’m not having the sports exhaust either. That might yet prove to be a mistake. I would like one, but it costs £1380 and I had to call it somewhere. There are a few minor accessories, badges and the like that I’m leaving aside as well, for the same reason. It means the total price of my car comes to £51,229 which, after the discount I was able to negotiate via the press office, is £51,229.
By coincidence, I have just come to the end of a one-week loan with an A110 Pure. I’ve spent plenty of time in Alpines over the past couple of years but not over a number of consecutive days, so I’ve only just realised how comfortable the car is on the motorway and how undemanding it is around town. I’ve just about lost whatever impartiality I ever had towards the A110 by now, but I’m more convinced than ever that it fits my needs better than any other car on sale. Apart from the fact I can’t have one until bloody October.