What Can We Expect From The Alpine A120 And Its Hotter Variants?
A convertible model and a performance-oriented version are expected to follow in the coupe’s footstepsby Kirby Garlitos, on
Renault’s long drawn out plan to bring back the Alpine brand is now taking shape with the arrival of the mid-engined Alpine A120 sports car. The sports coupe is expected to make its debut at the start of 2017 ahead of the planned release sometime in the third quarter of the year. But new details have emerged about the Alpine A120 as there now appears to be plans to expand the brand’s lineup with different variants of the A120.
Word from Autocar reveals that a convertible is expected to follow the coupe in due time and a high performance variant is also in the pipeline. Details surrounding these additional variants are still being kept under wraps, but it is understood that both models are already in “advanced” development so information about them could be coming sooner than later.
For now, all eyes are on the A120 as it gears up for its long-awaited unveiling, which in itself has been years in-the-making as a result of several false starts that plagued the project. But now that it’s getting close to finally becoming a real thing, the expectation is that the A120 will be using a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that will develop close to 300 horsepower, giving it a higher output than both the 240-horsepower Alfa Romeo 4C and right about the same figure as the Porsche 718 Cayman. All of the power generated by the A120’s turbo four will likely course through a revised version of the Renault Clio RS’s six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, allowing it to sprint from 0 to 62 mph in just under 4.5 seconds.
Once sales for the A120 commences next year, the sports coupe is tipped to get a starting price of about £50,000 to £55,000, or the equivalent of about $53,000 to $58,000 based on current exchange rates. Alpine managing director Michael van der Sande also hinted that production for the car could range from 5,000 to 7,000 units on an annual basis with models being sold in a handful of dealerships across Europe. Don’t expect the A120 to hit U.S. shores anytime soon.
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Some interesting possibilities with a performance version of the Alpine A120
For the most part, we already know what to expect from the Alpine A120. At the very least, we know that Renault has been developing the car for a long time and that it’s had numerous delays in the past, including the failed involvement of Caterham that ultimately amounted to nothing. What was unclear was how Renault was planning to evolve the Alpine brand after the release of the A120. Well, it looks like may have found an answer with this report stating that the A120 won’t be the only variant that Renault has plans for.
The convertible version is an interesting offshoot, if not at all predictable considering that it makes sense to have a soft-top version to compete against the Porsche 718 Boxster and the Alfa Romero 4C Spider. At the very least, we can expect an output similar to that of its coupe counterpart, which would put the convertible version in the conversation against the the 718 Boxster.
The high-performance variant is a little trickier to predict at this point because Renault can really go in a number of directions with it. For one, it could follow the path of Porsche and develop a competitor to the Cayman S. The power gains would be there if the company opted to dial up the A120’s 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine to around 350 horsepower. The issue with that method though is at around 350 horsepower, it won’t be significant enough to really make a noticeable difference between the two variants. Another option would be tapping into Renault Sport’s motor racing know-how and put in a tuned version of the Megane R.S. 275 Cup S’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which could be bumped up north of 350 horses. The last and most exciting scenario I can think of is Renault going in the direction of Nissan and using the latter’s NISMO-prepped 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine, otherwise known as the engine that powers Godzilla himself, the Nissan GT-R.
The last option is admittedly unlikely given how Renault would have to reconfigure the sports car’s physical characteristics to accommodate a much bigger engine. Then again, wouldn’t that be something, right?
Read our full review on the upcoming Renault Alpine here.