The Alpine A110 Legende has more comfortable seats, and different wheels, but the recipe for its blend of convincing, lightweight fun in Singapore is still the same
Splitting hairs is fine, as long as the animal itself remains largely the same. That’s what Alpine is doing with the A110 Legende.
This Legende model – not to be confused with the limited-edition A 110 S-based Legende GT – is a simply a very slightly more comfy version of the A 110 Pure base model.
It has a comfier interior with more leather, new adjustable seats, and new design 18-inch wheels.
So on paper there’s very little difference to the A110 Pure, and the behind-the-wheel impression is near identical, that is to say, it’s a ball to drive.
The 1.8-litre turbo engine is zingy, torquey, and lacks for very little, largely due to the car’s sub-1.2-ton kerbweight. Even with the manually-adjustable seats it weighs 1,123kg, compared to the Pure’s 1,094kg.
The A110 experience is all about balance. The 252hp seems perfectly matched to the car’s mass and handling, it accelerates plenty fast but not scary fast, it bites in towards the apex quickly but not abruptly, and it wiggles under braking to let you know what’s happening with the weight, but doesn’t tank slap like a trout out of water.
I’ll not repeat what the team has said about the A110 and A110S, but it suffices to say that this is one of the best driver’s cars on the market, period. There’s even another benefit: Take it slow, and the engine is actually quite efficient for a sports car, no hybrid system needed.
In driver ergonomics, it’s almost perfect and fits the driver like a glove – the Pure was also a glove, but a one-sized glove. The Sabelt sport seats have six-levels of adjustment at least, unlike the weight-saving buckets on the Pure, which have a fixed backrest angle, in contrast.
In practical ergonomics though, the A110 has some work to do: The infotainment system is confusing, and difficult to use. There’s a slot for the all-important smartphone fore of the shifter buttons, but the only other place to store knick-knacks is underneath the central lower console.
That would be fine, except the seat’s ridge block your hands from accessing it easily, and if you stack things higher than an inch they’ll fly off under the seat after hard cornering (of which there will be a lot). Also, the central aircon vent is fixed – we understand the weight-weenie ethos, but surely the engineers never tested the car in a tropical country like ours.
Alpine’s engineers even included your own habits as part of the weight loss programme.
So don’t expect to carry anything sizeable either, unless you plan to ditch a passenger. The frunk is 100-litres but shallow, and similar to the boot (96-litres) which is deeper but really not much bigger. There is a storage box near your shoulders though, and it can store a water bottle or three.
But you don’t care about all that, really. No you didn’t sign up for the Legend Of How Many Golf Bags I Can Carry, you signed up for the Legend Of A Very Balanced, Driver-Focused, Lightweight Machine – and this is it.
|Engine||1,798cc, inline 4, turbocharged|
|Power||252hp at 6000rpm|
|Torque||320Nm at 2000rpm|
|Fuel Efficiency||6.1 L/100km|
|VES Band||C1 / +S$15,000|
|Price||S$258,800 without COE|