This 2015 ALPINE Celebration Concept is a mid-engine prototype that represents the first look at the brand’s move to a stand-alone marque in the RenaultSport fleet.
Initiated as a collaboration with Caterham a few years ago, the plan was to acquire a low-cost and proven sports-car chassis from the English. Custom bodywork and RenaultSport engines would provide authentic French zing for the machine – which would become a halo sportscar for the entire Renault/Dacia lineup — worldwide.
HD Le Mans Lap
Renault ran into major troubles synchronizing its big-company safety, reliability and production feasibility needs with the cottage-industry standards of Caterham. In addition, Caterham’s ownership and priorities provided a shifting sand base that kept moving under Renault’s feet.
So what to do? The goal of relaunching Alpine sports cars as a brand was a noble one, and worth salvaging. An affordable French-made supercar!? A dream come true for many.
Flash back to one year ago. Renault bought out Caterham’s portion of the project and continued development inhouse.
The results are seen here for the first time in the Celebration concept. A nice blend of Renault DeZir and Alpine A110-50 concept, there is also a dash of the mad Alpine M64 LeMans racer in the aesthetics of the new machine.
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Despite starting with the dream of a Lotus-fighter, Alpine appears to have evolved its mission. The car is larger and much more practical than any Exige or Elise — with proportions that say TT very clearly. But with mid-engine power?
A Cayman/TT target, then?
That is most likely for the production version of this model — which is near-complete and likely to launch within a year in Europe. A rollout at next year’s LeMans seems plausible — with only light changes to this concept.
Strip out some of the sillier orange painted elements, some of the carbon-fiber pieces, then add a finished cockpit… and you’ll have it!
So what will it be called? And how much power will it have?
The name is a mystery. A120, A160, A460 are all possible.
Based on current RenaultSport engines, a cap of around 300-horsepower is likely. Delivered via a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the upcoming Renault Alpine will be rear-drive with a likely robotized manual transmission.
Within a year of its production debut, the new Alpine is likely to debut some kind of race variant. Lighter, roll-caged and packing massive aero and grip upgrades, the track special will be another glowing ring for this halo model.
Will it work?
Well, mission creep appears to be a big problem with this Alpine — and many before, if we’re honest. From Lotus-fighter to Audi-fighter is a big leap. Will it be overly refined, heavy and slow? We hope not! But signs are not terrific for this Celebration becoming a true mini-supercar.
2015 ALPINE Celebration Concept
Alpine Celebration concept at Le Mans