We're getting very, very close to the first mass-market, mid-engine French sports car in decades! Excluding the Bugatti Veyron and a few race specials, the Clio V6 has been the closest thing to a locally-made track car in ages.
Why is this? And how will Renault's relaunch of the ALPINE brand enhance the firm's strategic goals, profitability and sales of the Kadjar in China?
All that remains a bit fuzzy.
But the actual car is now in stark focus -- and looks spectacular! Beautiful rebirth of the original Alpine proportions, flowing rear end, and quad-lit nose right off the Rallye Monte Carlo stage. The detail execution of the chopped Kamm tail, bottle-nose front and sleek profile are all quite erotic.
This Geneva showcar is literally the exact production model set for a reveal by the end of this year, with first sales aimed at March 2017 in Europe and elsewhere. What may change between this white concept and the production model? Mirrors, some LED lighting details and the semigloss showcar paint. Besides that, this divine concept will actually hit the roads -- and hopefully tracks -- for the Alpine brand's revival 50 years from its previous glory days.
The goal of a halo sportscar for Renault makes sense. It is great eye candy in showrooms, an aspirational supercar for Megane Trophy models, and should deliver fatter receipts than supermini city cars.
What are its core specs? Mid-engine, two seater, powered by a turbo four making nearly 300HP. Sent to the back wheels through a paddle-shift transmission, the Alpine Vision still has a few question marks.
Three Unknown P's
Price, power and performance -- in balance -- are critical to this car's positioning and eventual success at its brand relaunch mission. With around a 6.5-second sprint to 60-mph from about 250 ponies, eventual hot versions should kiss 5.0-seconds dead and shout out upwards of 300 ponies.
Of course, as power and price increase... so does price. This car will hope to slide between the VW Scirocco, Peugeot RCZ and Audi TT for its cool, chic city coupe appeal. This indicates a $35k price is possible at the bottom of the barrel. Hot versions are ballparking the Porsche Boxster and Cayman S -- but for a big price discount. A $45k total would be a tough sell among Lotus Elise/Exige shoppers ---- but will offer modern tech, refinement and highway comfort that non-Evora Lotii can't deliver.
All in all, as a design and brand showpiece -- this Alpine Vision tickles us in just the right spots. Priced low, it will be a deeply tempting alternative to the Golf R or Focus RS -- among those who value the pure thrills of the racecar layout versus the idiot-proof AWD pull of hot hatchbacks.
In closing, what will make this car a hero? A low price, mostly, for such high performance! We hope Renault does not get too ambitious on the price books. Anything above 40k Euro will be a tough sell.
2016 Renault ALPINE Vision Concept
- Alpine Vision brings exciting new choice to sport premium cars market
- Future production model to be revealed before the end of the year
- Alpine leverages strengths of Groupe Renault, Renault Sport, Formula One
Monte Carlo, Monaco - At the home of the world-famous Monte Carlo Rally and on the Col de Turini, site of some of racing’s most memorable moments, Groupe Renault today announced plans for a new Alpine sports car, and unveiled the Alpine Vision show car.
“Motorsports and sports cars are deeply rooted in the DNA of Groupe Renault,” Groupe Renault Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn said. “Earlier this month we announced our return to Formula One with a Renault team, and today we are announcing Alpine. This is an exciting next step in our strategy to leverage talent and technology between road and track, and we look forward to reaching new customers in the sport premium cars segment.”
The show car Alpine Vision combines sensual design with outstanding agility, true to the great Alpine A110 Berlinette loved and admired by enthusiasts around the world. Alpine Vision is powered by a new 4 cylinder turbocharged engine, built by experts at Renault Sport, and its low weight will allow the car to achieve 0 to 100 km/h in less than 4.5 seconds - the target for the future production model.
Alpine will be managed by a small team of passionate experts within Groupe Renault, with one sole mission – to meet and exceed the expectations of the demanding sport premium customer. Michael van der Sande will lead as Alpine managing director, and Antony Villain will head Alpine design.
Alpine will draw on the extensive resources of Groupe Renault, and Renault Sport.
“All of us at Alpine are proud to have been entrusted with the task of bringing back Alpine to sports car lovers around the world”, said Michael van der Sande, Alpine managing director. “Our job is to faithfully re-interpret famous Alpines of the past and project Alpine into the future with a beautifully designed, agile, high-performance sports car. Our Alpine Vision show car is immediately recognizable as an Alpine yet resolutely modern. We look forward to revealing the production model later this year.”
Over the next 12 months, the Alpine team will focus on building an outstanding car, very close to today’s show car in terms of design, weight, handling, agility and attention to detail. Priorities will also include building out the team and the network, and finally, to pursue racing. The current Signatech-Alpine Racing Team has already won two European endurance championships, and won the LMP2 class in the World Endurance Championship last year in Shanghai; and this year, the team will enter two Alpine LMP2 cars in the World Endurance Championship, including Le Mans.
Made in Dieppe, France, the new Alpine will go on sale in 2017 initially in Europe, followed by other markets worldwide.
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