After years of deliberation, delays and even a failed partnership with Caterham, Renault has finally managed to resurrect its Alpine sports brand that is previewing a new production sports car with the Vision Concept.
Revealed on Tuesday at an event in Monte Carlo ahead of a formal world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show next month, the mid-engine, two-seater model is a thinly disguised concept with a production version to roll out by the end of this year and go on sale initially in Europe in 2017, before becoming available in other markets around the globe.
The final name has not yet been confirmed, but Alpine has registered the AS1 and AS110 monikers.
The French firm is keeping most of the Vision’s technical specs shrouded in secrecy at this stage, but it has confirmed that it will be powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder mill placed behind the driver. The four-pot is rumored to be a development of the Clio RS’ 1.6-liter turbo, possibly with a larger displacement to offer a lot more power than the latter’s 197hp and 177 lb-ft of torque, possibly paired to a dual clutch transmission with steering wheel paddles driving the rear wheels.
Alpine said that the car’s low weight, understood to be around the 1,000kg or 2,200 lbs mark, will help the future production model achieve 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) in less than 4.5 seconds, which matches the Alfa Romeo 4C’s time, beats the Porsche Cayman GTS w/Sport Chrono by 0.1 seconds and is only 0.1 sec behind the Porsche Cayman GT4.
The Vision Concept’s exterior design is heavily influenced by the 2015 Alpine Celebration concept, itself echoing the design of the iconic Alpines from the 1960s and 1970, especially the A110 Berlinette, while its interior has a very futuristic vibe to it with a fully digital instrument panel.
Renault’s plans for the reborn Alpine brand, which delivered its last production car, the A610, back in 1995, won’t stop with the production iteration of the Vision, as the French will expand its range with additional models in the near future.
“All of us at Alpine are proud to have been entrusted with the task of bringing back Alpine to sports car lovers around the world”, said Michael van der Sande, Alpine Managing Director. “Our job is to faithfully re-interpret famous Alpines of the past and project Alpine into the future with a beautifully designed, agile, high-performance sports car. Our Alpine Vision show car is immediately recognizable as an Alpine yet resolutely modern. We look forward to revealing the production model later this year.”