Our intrepid snappers recently caught what we believe to be a 2016 Renault Alpine test mule doing its best impression of a 2012-2015 Lotus Exige S. While we can’t draw many conclusions about the Alpine’s final shape from this heavily camouflaged prototype, we can say with utmost certainty that the bulbous rear bumper is definitely not a stock Exige item. That and the vents in the lower portion of the blacked-out rear window indicate the Alpine could have a rear-engine layout like its ancestors.

What engine will be back there is somewhat of a mystery, but we have previously speculated that it will be the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder from the 2014 Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy.. It’s compact enough to fit behind the rear axle and light enough to not negatively impact weight distribution. It produces 271 horsepower in its hot-hatch application, but it’s mooted to produce around 300 horsepower for the Alpine. Either that or a newly developed 1.8-liter with up to 296 horsepower.

Renault unveiled a concept version of the new Alpine, called the 2015 Renault Alpine Celebration Concept at the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, but we also recently put together a rendering of what we think the final product will look like. The 1961-1973 Alpine A110 built between 1961 and 1977 is a clear influence, but it’s not overtly retro. Like the A110, it will have integrated fog lamps in the front bumper, compact dimensions and a sporty fastback profile that flows seamlessly into the rear.

Also like the A110, low mass is likely to be a priority. Expect a sub-2,400-pound weight, which should help provide exceptional agility and acceleration. This is one we’re really looking forward too.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

As promising as the new Alpine looks, it’s unlikely to be sold in North America, since Renault hasn’t sold a new car on our shores since the ’80s. But stranger things have happened. We certainly hope it makes it over (perhaps sold through Nissan dealers?) because a lightweight car with a rear-engine layout sounds very enticing. Only time will tell, so in the meantime, check out our full review of the 2016 Renault Alpine.

2016 Renault Alpine - spy shots

2017 Renault Alpine Mule Caught Testing: Spy Shots Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Renault Alpine Mule Caught Testing: Spy Shots Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Renault Alpine Mule Caught Testing: Spy Shots Exterior Spyshots
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You can check our speculative review of the model here.

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