Geneva Motor Show – Legendary French sports car brand Alpine is rising from the dead its owner Renault has just pulled the covers off its new mid-engined, rear-wheel drive sports car, called the A110.

France’s answer to cars like the Alfa Romeo 4C and Porsche 718 Cayman is powered by a new RenaultSport-sourced 1.8-litre turbopetrol with outputs of 188kW and 320Nm, feeding the rear wheels through a Getrag 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Alpine is claiming a 0-100km/h dash of 4.5 seconds and a governed top speed of 250km/h.

Thanks to its all-aluminium platform and upper body, the two-seater sports car can rely on its light 1080kg kerb weight, rather than a massive engine, to achieve that kind of performance. The light weight will also contribute to nimble handling, as will the compact and low-slung dimensions (the A110 is just 4178mm long and 1252mm tall), ideal 44/56 front/rear weight distribution and overall rigidity.

The engine, exhaust, gearbox, steering, ESC and driver display characteristics can all be collectively controlled through three driver modes: Normal, Sport and Track.

Customer deliveries are set to start towards the end of this year, and Renault has already opened the order books, with prices in France starting from 58 500 euro (R805 000). South Africa does not appear on the list of eligible countries, at least not yet.

The design of the new sports car is clearly inspired by the A110 of 1962, which is regarded as one of the best rally cars of its generation. The A110’s production cycle extended all the way to 1978, by which time around 12 000 of them had been manufactured around the world.

Alpine was founded way back in 1955 by Jean Rédélé, a race car driver and Renault dealer whose dream was to create a compact sports car using as many mass-produced parts as possible.