We have known for quite some time that Renault has been preparing to revive the Alpine brand; however, with exception to the Alpine A110-50 Concept announced back in 2012, all we have been able to do so far is speculate. That all changes today, as our spy photographers managed to catch the Renault Alpine mule out for its first known testing session.
You may wonder why this Renault Alpine looks so much like a Lotus sports car. Well, that is the purpose of a mule, as this sexy British-built body is carefully hiding the Alpine’s French technology, especially the chassis that that rides beneath this widened Lotus shell.
The test group was caught at the Swedish company, Öhlins, alongside several other models from Renault Sport, including the Megane RS and Clio — A Lotus among this group is about as out of place as a Camaro on a Ford showroom.
We expect the new Renault Alpine to be unveiled sometime in 2015 and to hit the market at a price of about $50k.
Click past the jump for a better look at the spy shots
Renault has big plans for Alpine and apparently, it wants its new sub-brand to follow in the footsteps of another automaker: Porsche .
That much was said by Renault’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Design, Laurens van den Acker, who recently told Piston Heads of the company’s expectations for Alpine.
But before it can get to that level, it needs to have a sports car that can do what the 911 did for Porsche. Lofty goals, but one Renault hopes it can achieve.
"We need to create the 911 of Alpine," van den Acker said. "Then we can do the Panamera and Cayman."
For now, Alpine’s initial plans involve building an entry-level sports car that’s already in the pipeline. Set to be launched in 2016, the car is expected to carry some styling cues from the classic A110 from back in the 60s with an equally possible interpretation on the A110-50 Concept that was launched last year.
No details about the car have been confirmed but there’s word that it will carry a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces about 280 horsepower and mates to either a six-speed manual transmission or a dual-clutch EDC automatic. It’s expected to carry a price of about £50,000 ($76,000) per unit.
Click past the jump to read about the Renault Alpine A110-50 Concept
The Renault Alpine 110 sports car has been churning out quite a bit of buzz in the past few months.
Recently, Renault chief Carlos Tavares added some more details in the basket, saying that the car will be catered to the younger market with hopes of competing against the Alfa Romeo 4C .
Tavares also gave updates on how far along the car is, explaining that styling is about 70-percent done, a pretty surprising percentage, given that it hasn’t been that long since the announcement was made that Renault Alpine and Caterham were collaborating on the development of the sports car.
Design details involving the Alpine A110 appear to indicate that the car will have a few retro details added to it, including the distinctive round headlights of the original Alpine. It’ll also carry an "arrowhead nose" and some side scoops, giving it a retro modern look that we’re pretty excited to see.
There’s also growing speculation that the sports car will carry a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that will produce about 280 horsepower and mate to either a six-speed manual transmission or a dual-clutch EDC automatic.
Finally, the car is expected to hit dealerships sometime in 2016 with only 1,000, or so, models scheduled to be built at a price of about £50,000 ($76,000) per unit.
Click past the jump to read more about the new Renault Alpine A110-50 Concept
Mexico is becoming quite the haven for lightweight sports cars. Over the years, we’ve seen numerous brands coming from the country introduce their respective models. But to say that classic sports cars were foreign to Mexico is a little short-sighted. After all, one of the most famous sports cars of the 60’s and 70’s was the Renault Denalpin, which can trace its roots to Mexico.
All that said, there appears to be serious intention coming from some businessmen in Mexico to build a new sports car, called the SST-77.
The renderings of the SST-77 pretty much give away what Mexican businessman, Miguel Jimenez, wants to do with this sports car. It’s a re-imagined Alpine that was designed along the same veins of the original Alpine-110 with some pretty striking details, including the sweptback headlights, circular fog lights and those wide-open air intakes.
According to Autoblog Mexico, the SST-77 is being prepared to take the form of a lightweight sports car that will be made out of fiberglass, Kevlar and carbon fiber. On top of that, it will be built on a platform that will be created in Sahagun City, Mexico, which, incidentally is the same birthplace of the original Dinalpin. We’re not sure if there’s a rationale behind the decision to build the car in that location or it’s plainly coincidence.
Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how the SST-77 develops from here on out.
Click past the jump to read more about the original Renault Alpine-110, or as it was called in Mexico at the time, the Dinalpin
“It would be arrogant to say we could go head-to-head with Porsche and win,” Tavares told Autocar. “But I think Lotus and Alfa are realistic targets.”
Tavares also hinted that Renault, Alpine’s parent company, will give the latter the freedom to "express themselves", something that it wouldn’t be able to do as much if Alpine had to go through Renault regarding specifics about the future sports car.
Meanwhile, Laurens van den Acker, Renault’s chief of design, is hoping that the future sports car, which will be based on the A110 Concept, will be a springboard that will re-launch Alpine as a brand that will soon build and develop a range of other sports cars. Clearly, a lot is riding on the success of this model.
“We all love Alpine within the company, but this first car will be a measure for us of how much other people love it,” he said.
“If it is a success, then yes I can see space for us to expand."
We have heard all kind of rumors about the relaunch of the Renault Alpine brand, including the possibility to develop a new sports car in cooperation with Caterham. Today, in an interview with AutoCar, Renault marketing boss Stephen Norman confirmed that a new Alpine sports car will indeed appear on the market inside of three years.
He described the new sports car as "not soft", but at the same time "not more hardcore than a Mazda MX-5 ." However, the new Alpine sports car will have the DNA of a French car and will be aimed at buyers who are “either French or Francophile."
The new Alpine will take aim at models like the Porsche Boxster and high-performance versions of the Audi TT . This means the model should deliver at least 250 horsepower and will be priced at less than £50,000 (about $80k at the current exchange rates). Expect the Alpine to arrive by late 2015.
Okay, so as we all know, the automotive rumormill has a habit of bouncing back and forth before finally resting on the truth. Back in August, we heard a rumor that the Alpine would be built in a joint venture between Renault -Nissan and Caterham . Then just days later, we started exploring the possibility of the Alpine and Infiniti Emerg-E being a Renault-Nissan and Lotus project, given the Emerg-E was already built on the Lotus Evora platform and it would be simpler to build both the Emerg-e and Alpine on the same platform.
Well, it looks as if the Lotus and Nissan talk is done with, as Caterham appears to have swooped in and all but completed a deal with Renault Nissan. Sky News is reporting that Caterham boss, Tony Fernandes, is just about to put ink to paper on a $400 million production deal that will join Caterham and Renault -Nissan at the hip on the Alpine project. The deal would involve a 50-50 split in cost and profits between Renault-Nissan and Caterham.
There is no mention as to whether this will also affect the Emerg-E’s production plans, but chances are that the Emerg-E will remain a Lotus and Renault-Nissan project, since both companies are already so deeply entrenched in the deal.
This also effectively eliminates the chances that the Emerg-E and Renault Alpine will share any significant DNA. It is very doubtful if Lotus would be willing to lend its platform to Caterham for a project that it back-doored from the already struggling sports car builder.
We’ll keep a close eye on this situation because it could boil over into something a little more, as the two rivals compete to snag up a little extra business. The deal is expected to be reviewed on Monday and approved in just a few weeks.
When the Emerg-E popped onto the scene during the Geneva Auto Show, us automotive folk were amazed at the technology and potential behind this car. We were also amazed to see a rather familiar platform looking back at us, as the Emerg-E is built on the same platform as the Lotus Evora .
Lotus is no stranger to lending out its platforms and bodies for various performance applications (see: Hennessey Venom GT ), but it has never gotten into the actual building phase of these cars. Infiniti has yet to confirm that the Emerg-E for production, but its sister company, Renault, has already announced that the Alpine will go into production, in one form or another.
Since Renault has also made it clear that the Alpine will not be much like its concept and the Emerg-E is already based on a Lotus concept, why not save a little scratch and build both models on the same platform? There is really no reason not to and there is absolutely no way that Lotus would refuse this deal, as it sorely needs a little extra money these days.
Sure, the production level may be low and the income may be limited, but it would at least help put Lotus back into the sports car conversation. In addition to getting its foot back into the sports car door, with the Evora and Emerg-E being range-extended electric vehicles, this could carve Lotus a real nice and potentially profitable niche.
We’ll have to wait and see what comes of this, but the connection is already there, it just needs a little push in the right direction.
There are some whispers spreading around on the good ol’ Net that Renault and Caterham may be teaming up to facilitate the return of the Alpine name. The ball has already started rolling with the introduction of the Renault Alpine A110-50 Concept , but a French report is stating that this team effort will benefit the lineups of both manufacturers.
Renault’s goal is to create a light and agile Alpine which will be easier with the help of a smaller company, while Caterham is looking to build a new range-topping sports car that will be made possible with the knowledge provided by a larger, more experienced manufacturer. It’s the classic, "You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours" scenario. What we’ll get out of it is a light rear-engined Alpine priced somewhere between $44,000 to $50,000 which is expected to be unveiled sometime in 2015 .
"We’ve had talks with potential partners," said Carlos Tavares, Renault’s Chief Operating Officer in a previous interview. "We’ll decide whether or not to revive Alpine before the end of this year, but I think there’s a good chance that a new Alpine will see the light of day."
Before you discount this video, keep in mind that it’s not just simply a short video uploaded to YouTube where both cars were spotted together on the street. It is actually an all-out production conducted by Renault to help promote support for the rebirth of the Alpine brand by demonstrating just how far the French company has come since the Berlinette’s inception back in the ‘60’s.
Even though we have great difficulty in believing that these two Alpine’s were really driving along these mountain roads as the video suggests, it’s a great sight to see with two completely different sports cars, developed and constructed by the same company both of whom were and are extremely futuristic in their respective designs.
Additionally, it’s nice to see that Renault actually created a concept which can be driven, rather than one which will remain stationary for its entire life, only ever shifting position whilst being transported around the world to different automotive shows.