Alpine Planning Sports Car Family And SUV
Newly reestablished automobile brand Alpine (not to be confused with Alpina) hasn’t launched a new product in more than two decades, but the French are already pondering an entire family of sports cars, as well as an SUV. That’s the word from Renault executive vice president Bruno Ancelin, who hinted that the Alpine badge could be used to enable Renault to compete with premium manufacturers such as Audi and Porsche. Now that’s a mighty big plan for a firm as small as Alpine!
Although Ancelin refused to elaborate on the matter, he did say Alpine will turn to alliance members Nissan and Daimler for know-how. As for establishing a full lineup of sports cars, the project is still in its infancy, as Alpine has yet to determine its priorities in the market and which new products would make sense financially. What’s truly relevant right now from Ancelin’s statement is that Alpine’s first sports car, due in 2016 for the 2017 model year, will be called the AS1, which stands for Alpine Sport 1.
"We are working on the first car, and out of the first car we are working on the line-up. So model number one, which we call the AS1 – Alpine Sport 1– we need to see further and [then we’ll] look to the complementary models we will have in the line-up," he told Auto Express.
Continue reading to learn more about the future Renault Alpine models.
Why it matters
Ancelin is aware that Alpine can’t survive as a brand with just one model in its lineup and that’s precisely why he is pushing for a larger family that would include not just sports cars, but an SUV as well. He also wants hybrid drivetrains, as that would be the only way for Alpine to become "sustainable in some markets.“ Much of this technology and the bulk of models wearing the Alpine badge will likely come from Renault, but that’s far from being an issue. Renault desperately needs a proper sports car alongside its hot-hatches, and launching a series of premium cars to compete against German offerings is by no means a bad idea. Actually, I’m hoping Renault will eventually turn Alpine into a specialized arm that will add a dash of luxury to the company’s existing lineup on top of building full-fledged sports cars.
Not much is known about the Alpine AS1 following the Renault-Caterham split in 2014. What I do know is that the French brand is planning to build a vehicle that pays homage to the Alpine A110, which was introduced in 1961 and lasted through 1977, achieving several racing milestones during its career.
I expect the AS1 to feature a fuel-efficient powerplant that sends around 250 to 300 horsepower to the wheels. A number of race-bred internals and carbon-fiber parts are likely to make it a lightweight and agile racer for the street. The AS1 was previewed by a concept car in 2012, but it’s still unclear whether the French will use the same styling cues for the production model.