The return of the return of Alpine, CAR+ March 2016

Published: 26 February 2016

► Alpine Vision show car, Alpine is back!
► Set to go on sale in the second quarter of 2017
► Renault quote sub-4.5sec 0-62mph sprint 

After more delays than The Edge’s pedalboard, Renault’s reborn Alpine sports car is finally upon us. Almost. This is the Alpine Vision show car, yet another in a long line of warm-up concepts for the Alpine brand’s protracted rebirth, but the retro-styled, two-seater, really rather pretty machine you’re looking at is near-as-dammit the real deal.

It’s essentially a preview of the production Alpine, which gets its proper reveal by the end of this year and goes on sale in the second quarter of 2017. Ending Alpine’s back catalogue of exclusively rear-engined road cars, it’s driven by a mid-mounted turbocharged four-cylinder and paddleshift transmission.

Renault won’t talk power figures, saying its new creation values weight-saving and agility above bhp, but does quote a sub-4.5sec 0-62mph time, so it can’t be short of poke. Company insiders suggest the new car is similar in ethos to Alfa’s 4C, (although with more manageable on-road manners, let’s hope), with Porsche’s Cayman an unspoken, un-ignorable market neighbour. With that in mind, expect the Alpine’s price tag to hover around the £40-50k mark.

Alpine Vision Concept revealed: Renault’s sports legend lives

Those lines, riffing on the classic A110 Berlinette rally star of the ’60s – no bad thing – haven’t strayed far from 2015’s Alpine Celebration concept, demoed at Le Mans and Goodwood. Good news is they won’t budge much further for the production car, either; according to Alpine’s design director Antony Villain, the Vision ‘reflects 80% of the style of our forthcoming road car,’ and company insiders hint that his estimate’s actually rather cautious.

Built at Renaultsport’s Dieppe HQ, it’ll go on sale initially in Europe and subsequently across five continents. As for what it will be called, nothing was confirmed as we went to press but Renault has applied for trademarks for the names AS1 and AS110. Regardless, a new sports coupe with a chassis by Renaultsport and infused with a little retro charm can only make the world a better place. Not everyone wants to buy a Cayman.

Alpine timeline

2012 - Alpine’s back! Joint venture with Caterham announced, new sports car in 2016

2013 - Or is it? Carlos Tavares, Renault’s second-in-command and driving force behind the Alpine project, quits the company

2014 - Caterham’s out: the dream team’s not working, and Renault buys back Caterham’s 50% stake by mutual agreement

2015 - Alpine’s back! Renault pushes on with the project, reveals Alpine Celebration concept at Le Mans, road car still on for 2017

Read more from the March 2016 issue of CAR magazine

Expect to find an Alpine on the roads in the second quarter of 2017

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer