2019 Alpine SUV
Alpine’s second modern vehicle is aimed at the Porsche Macanby Ciprian Florea, on LISTEN 15:22
Shut down in 1995, Renault’s Alpine brand made a comeback 22 years later with a modern interpretation of its iconic A110 sports car. Developed on a bespoke platform and using a design that’s both modern and linked to the original car, the A110 is Renault’s long-awaited response to the Porsche Cayman and the Alfa Romeo 4C. But Alpine isn’t planning to stop here. Word has it that a convertible version of the A110 is also in the works, and the French firm also wants to jump on the SUV bandwagon. Why? Because everyone is doing it nowadays. But what’s this SUV going to be bring to the table?
I’m going to provide an answer to that question in the speculative review below, which includes not only the latest information and rumors but also a detailed rendering of the Alpine-badged hauler. A release date is not yet available, but given that we have yet to see any prototypes on the road, it’s safe to assume that it won’t happen sooner than late 2018. All told, this SUV won’t be available until the 2019 model year. That’s a long wait, but we already have a few juicy details about what’s coming.
Continue reading for the full story.
2019 Alpine SUV
Horsepower @ RPM:240
0-60 time:5 sec.
Top Speed:155 mph
A Bit of Alpine History
Alpine came to be 1955, when Jean Redele set shop in Dieppe, France.
While it was relatively famous in Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, Alpine didn’t get that much attention in its final decade, and it’s rather unknown to younger enthusiasts, especially in the United States. That’s why I think a bit of history is important to understand the heritage behind this brand.
Alpine came to be 1955, when Jean Redele set shop in Dieppe, France. The brand began making sports cars based on the Renault 4CV and quickly rose to fame by winning a number of racing events, including the Mille Miglia and Coupe des Alpes. The A108, a predecessor to the famed A110, was launched in 1958. This car was also produced in Brazil by American company Willys-Overland.
The A110, arguably the brand's most famous model, was introduced in 1961.
The A110, arguably the brand’s most famous model, was introduced in 1961. The two-door Berlinette also featured modified Renault underpinning but had a unique, sleek design. Built until 1977 with four-cylinder engines displacing 1.1- to 1.6-liters, the A110 was regarded as one of the best sports cars of its era. Its light weight of only 1,500 pounds, compact size, and exciting dynamics made it extremely popular against more expensive sports cars, a feat further enhancing by its successful racing career. In 1973 alone the A110 won six WRC events, including the Monte Carlo, but the French sports car scored numerous wins in other racing series’ too.
Although the A110 survived until 1977, Alpine introduced its replacement in 1971. Called the A310, it also borrowed some parts from Renault, but the exterior design was unique. At the same time, Alpine tuned various Renault cars. It’s also worth noting that the French brand also built prototype racing cars in the 1970s, eventually winning the 24 Hours of LeMans with the A442 in 1978.
While not as popular as the A110, the A310 received a lot of attention and became the first road-going Alpine to use a V-6.
While not as popular as the A110, the A310 received a lot of attention and became the first road-going Alpine to use a V-6. Offered in various versions until 1984, the A310 was replaced by the GTA. In 1991, an update turned the GTA into the A610 and brought a turbocharged V-6 engine under the hood. The A610 was the final car produced by Alpine. Although an A710 model was in the works, the project was cancelled due to high costs and the Alpine brand was retired altogether. The old Alpine factory became the manufacturing site for RenaultSport, which makes RS versions of the Clio and Megane.
First rumors of an Alpine comeback surfaced in 2007, but plans weren’t confirmed until 2009. The first images of the A110-50 concept car were launched in 2012. The same year, Caterham purchased half of Alpine in an attempt to create a joint-venture for a new line of sports cars, but the companies split only two years later. After many revisions to the original concept, the production A110 was finally unveiled in 2016.
The upcoming SUV will be the brand’s first utility vehicle, a big achievement for a company that has produced only sports cars thus far.
|2017 Alpine A110||Alpine SUV|
Although there are no official sketches of the upcoming SUV, we believe that it will share many design features with the A110.
Although there are no official sketches of the upcoming SUV, we believe that it will share many design features with the A110. After all, Alpine is trying to build on the solid reputation of the iconic A110, and a design language based on the modern sports car sounds like a great idea.
As a result, our designer created a front fascia that’s similar to the A110’s, using an almost identical headlamp and foglamp layout. However, he ditched the coupe’s sculpted nose in favor of the flatter, featureless styling that’s common on modern SUVs. Of course, the bumper is brand new, sporting redesigned side intakes, a taller center section, and an underbelly plate.
The rear end should have very little in common with the A110.
Onto the sides, we went with typical Renault-Nissan cues, combining muscular shoulders with sculpted side skirts and a simple glasshouse with blacked-out pillars for that desirable floating roof design. The rear end should have very little in common with the A110. Look for larger taillights that run into the rear fender corners, a tailgate that descends into the bumper for a low loading area, and a sturdy bumper.
The SUV will likely aim for higher performance compared to the usual Renault-Nissan line, so expect a dash of sportiness here, including a diffuser-like element, large exhaust pipes, and a roof spoiler. If this vehicle turns out to be as in our rendering, I think we got ourselves a unique looking SUV. And, definitely a breath of fresh air, at least as far as the front end goes.
Note: 2017 Alpine A110 interior shown here.
The SUV interior is also a mystery, but it's very likely that Alpine will draw some of the cues seen in the A110.
The SUV interior is also a mystery, but it’s very likely that Alpine will draw some of the cues seen in the A110. It’s also safe to assume that it will have quite a few premium features. With the A110 aimed at the likes of the Porsche Cayman, the SUV will also tackle the more upscale side of the market, likely alongside the Porsche Macan and BMW X3. But in order to do that, it will need to greet its customers with an appealing interior layout, soft-touch plastics and cloth in the base model, and leather and Alcantara in the more expensive trims.
The A110’s infotainment system is one thing I’d update for the SUV, mostly to introduce a larger screen. Of course, the tiny instrument cluster of the coupe should grow significantly larger in the hauler. Likewise, look for a wider center console with a revised button layout. Some carbon-fiber would be nice to see as well, but most likely these inlay will optional. Still, based on the craftsmanship seen in the A110, this crossover should be a nice place to spend time in and customers used to Mercedes-Benz and BMW quality should be pleased with the quality and the features.
Note: 2017 Alpine A110 engine shown here.
The SUV could get the A110's turbocharged, four-cylinder engine.
It’s hard to predict what drivetrain will motivate the first Alpine SUV, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find the A110’s four-cylinder engine under the hood. The turbocharged, 1.8-liter unit is rated at 252 horsepower and 236 pound-feet in the sports car, and if Alpine maintain this configuration, the SUV will be able to compete with the more expensive versions of its competitors. On the other hand, it would benefit the French firm to go with two output ratings: an entry-level model with around 180 horsepower and a more performance-oriented version with at least 240 horses.
Alpine could also use the same seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission in the A110 — but with certain revisions — but the SUV could also get a manual transmission in Europe.
As far as performance goes, it pretty much depends on the power-to-weight ratio. The A110, for instance, tips the scales at only 2,381 pounds, more than 660 pounds lighter than the Porsche Cayman. If the Alpine SUV will benefit from a similar reduction compared to the Macan, a 0-to-62 mph sprint of under five seconds is doable with more than 240 horsepower.
Just like the A110, the SUV should get three driving modes.
Just like the A110, the SUV should get three driving modes. However, the configuration won’t be the same, with the Track mode to be removed in the less powerful version. Expect the base model to feature Eco, Normal, and Sport modes, while the range-topping model will have Normal, Sport, and Track layouts. Either way, the engine and gearbox settings, steering, ESC, exhaust note and driver display will be adapted to suit the driving conditions in each of these modes.
Should the crossover get a suspension setup similar to the A110, it will feature a double-wishbone configuration at all four corners. Stopping power could come from similar Brembo brakes. But don’t expect these feature to be identical. The chassis and suspension will require serious modifications for an SUV, not to mention that customers will expect some kind of off-road capability from a raised vehicle. But knowing Alpine, the crossover should get into a sporty setup once the proper driving mode is selected.
With pricing for the Alpine A110 set at more than €50,000, the crossover is likely to break this mark too. Granted, it seems a bit too expensive for a French vehicle, but not so overwhelming given that the Porsche Macan retails from €56,264. On the other hand, the BMX X3 starts €47,250 and Alpine should consider a less expensive sticker given that it doesn’t have the brand cachet of the German marques.
With the A110 aimed at the Cayman, it’s easy to see how Alpine will probably want its first SUV to compete against the Macan. Introduced in 2014, the Macan is Porsche’s latest nameplate and slots below the popular Cayenne in the lineup. It has a sporty design with many Cayman-borrowed cues, and its interior is packed with premium features even in its least expensive trim. Much like any Porsche out there, the Macan benefits from a wide range of options, including very expensive items by Porsche Exclusive. The engine lineup is diverse and begins with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 249 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. It seems like this is the model Alpine might be gunning for. However, Porsche offers more powerful versions using a twin-turbo, 3.0-liter V-6. This engine pumps 335 horsepower in the Macan S and 355 horses in the Macan GTS. Further up in the range we can find the Macan Turbo with 395 horsepower and the Turbo Performance Package with 434 horses, both motivated by a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6. Diesel engines are also offered in Europe, but I doubt that Alpine is looking to add oil burners anytime soon. Pricing for the Macan starts from €56,264 in Germany.
Read our full review of the Porsche Macan.
Brand-new for the 2018 model year, the third-generation X3 feels more massive than ever, but at the same time, it benefits from the sporty styling cues that adorn almost very Bimmer out there. The new exterior design is joined by a more modern interior with updated materials and new technology, as well as a range of upgraded engines. The base model now comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that cranks out 181 horsepower and 214 pound-feet, while the xDrive30i version uses a more powerful variant of the same unit rated at 249 horses and 258 pound-feet of twist. A new M40i variant sits at the top of the range with a 3.0-liter inline-six that generates 355 horsepower and 369 pound-feet. Unlike the Alpine, this crossover also comes with diesel engines, with output ranging between 187 and 261 horses and 295 and 457 pound-feet of torque. Pricing starts from €47,250 in Germany, a significant hike over the previous generation
Read our full review of the BMW X3.
As a purist and fan of old Alpine sports cars, I don’t really like the idea of seeing the company’s badge on an SUV. On the other hand, as an enthusiast that’s happy about Alpine returning to the market, I can see why the French firm wants to join the crossover niche. Much like the Cayenne saved Porsche in the early 2000s by providing funds for new sports cars, this crossover will probably enable Alpine to keep its sports car heritage alive and launch new products. What’s more, there’s a good chance that this Alpine SUV will provide more thrills that at least some of its competitors. That’s enough to keep me excited.
Read our full review on the Alpine A110.
Read our full review on the Renault Alpine A110.
Read our full speculative review on the Renault Alpine Convertible.