► Alpine Vision Concept revealed
► Design ‘80% of the production car’
► Powered by mid-mounted 4-cyl turbo
Renault’s resurrected Alpine sports car brand takes another step closer to production reality today with this, the Alpine Vision Concept.
Another Alpine concept?
Yes, but this one – which was revealed in Monaco – is the closest yet to the final production car. Alpine design director Antony Villain says the Vision Concept ‘reflects 80% of the style of our forthcoming road car.’
If that’s the case, we reckon the end product’s going to be a real looker – the concept’s petite, A110 Berlinette-influenced lines have gone down well in the CAR office.
It’s very similar to 2015’s Alpine Celebration concept (the blue car shown alongside below) but with subtly different proportions and a few other key differences; the dual exhaust outlets have morphed into a single central exit and the light units and wheels have been changed for items that looks rather more production-feasible.
What do we know so far?
It’ll be mid-engined (a break with tradition – every Alpine road car so far has been rear-engined), with a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine and a paddleshift transmission.
Exactly which engine and which transmission from the Renault family hasn’t been revealed yet but the gearbox is almost certain to be a dual-clutch unit, as per the current Renaultsport Clio. The engine is rumoured to be an evolution of the same car’s 1.6-litre powerplant, potentially a version with a larger capacity and offering more than the Clio's 197bhp and 177lb ft.
Renault hasn’t quoted any output figures but says the new Alpine will value weight saving and agility above horsepower. Nevertheless, the concept's quoted 0-62mph time of less than 4.5sec indicates some decent punch.
Hopefully there's actually a boot in the front, unlike Renault's Twingo; it might even be comparatively practical as a result.
What will the production version be called?
No official word yet, but Renault has applied for trademarks for the names AS1 and AS110. We’ll keep you posted.
Alpine’s new sports car – a recap
The Alpine brand has lain dormant since the mid-1990s, when production of the charming but slow-selling GTA/A610 ended. Plans had been afoot to revive the brand for some years but the project was eventually made possible by the announcement of a co-development joint venture with Caterham in 2012, a deal which subsequently fizzled out in 2014.
Nevertheless, Renault has pushed ahead with the project, which will reach the market only a few months behind its original schedule. Although earlier spyshots showed Alpine test mules using cut n’ shut Exige bodywork, Lotus isn’t involved in the project.
The Alpine brand will be partially independent from Renault, with the Group’s vice president for global marketing Michael van der Sande becoming managing director of Alpine as of 1 March 2016.
When will we see the production Alpine sports car?
It’ll be revealed in full before the end of 2016 and will go on sale in the second quarter of 2017, in Europe initially and subsequently across five continents in total.