Renault’s Alpine sports car brand is to make a comeback, with its first production model unveiled before the end of 2016.
Group Renault chairman Carlos Ghosn has announced the long-predicted return of the Alpine name, which was originally planned to be a joint venture with UK sports car manufacturer Caterham. The joint programme was agreed in 2012 but ended when Renault bought out Caterham’s stake in 2014.
At a ceremony in Monte Carlo, chosen to recall the Monte Carlo Rally successes of the original Alpine A110 in the early 1960s, Ghosn revealed a concept that will debut at the Geneva Motor Show on 1st March.
The Alpine Vision is a mid-engined two-seater sports car and gives a strong hint as to the production model. Renault says that a dedicated team will spend the next 12 months building “an outstanding car, very close to today’s show car in terms of design, weight, handling, agility and attention to detail.”
Technical details of the concept are currently sparse, Renault only stating that it is powered by a new four-cylinder turbocharged engine built by Renault Sport, and which combined with the low weight of the car will ensure a sub four-second 0-62mph time for the production car.
Renault adds that motorsport will be an essential part of the brand’s programme – a Signatech-Alpine Racing Team has won two European endurance championships and the LMP2 class in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) – in 2016 the team will enter two Alpine LMP2 cars in the WEC, including the Le Mans 24hrs.
“Motorsports and sports cars are deeply rooted in the DNA of Groupe Renault,” Ghosn says.
“Earlier this month we announced our return to Formula One with a Renault team, and today we are announcing Alpine. This is an exciting next step in our strategy to leverage talent and technology between road and track, and we look forward to reaching new customers in the sport premium cars segment.”
The Alpine will be built in Dieppe, France, and be sold initially in Europe.