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Renault Alpine sports car could lead new line-up

Nothing like it: No images of the upcoming Alpine have been released yet, but Renault has confirmed it will look different to the A110-50 concept shown here from 2012.

Alpine will test waters for new range, according to Renault design head

2 Sep 2014

AS THE Alpine sports car enters the final stages of development, Renault’s design boss has gone on the record saying that if the production model arriving in 2016 sells well, it could lead to a new line-up of models.

In an interview with British publication Autocar, Renault's vice president of design Laurens van den Acker said the hope of an Alpine range headed by the new sports car would depend on a strong business case.

“As with many things we need to have a good business first,” Mr van den Acker said.

“We all love Alpines but we all want to make money as well. Let’s get the first car right and then I hope I can start doing Alpines for the rest of my life.”

It makes the Alpine sports car a guinea pig of sorts and a failure in the market will almost certainly end what has been an emotional effort to revive the famous racing brand.

Renault’s relationship with Alpine began in the 1950s when it used the French brand's engines to power its lightweight vehicles with considerable success.

The rear engined Alpine A110, known as the Berlinette and built between 1961 and 1977 was the brand’s most iconic model. By the mid 1970s Renault had bought Alpine and continued to make cars under the badge until 1995.

In 2012 Renault unveiled its A110-50 concept at the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix and set the wheels in motion for the comeback of an Alpine sports car.

Renault had formed a join venture with Caterham to build the Alpine but the car-makers went their separate ways in June this year vowing to push on alone.

Mr van den Acker said the design work is now at an advanced stage, but was reluctant to give away too many details.

“Carlos Ghosn [Renault-Nissan CEO] has seen the car and he’s happy,” said Mr van den Acker.

“I’ve been a bit cagey to talk too much about it. Sports cars are an endangered species – there are always 10 reasons not to do it.”

Mules of the Alpine sport car are expected to be seen testing on roads soon, but Renaultsport CEO Patrice Ratti told Autocar that it won’t look like the A110-50 concept.

The car-maker is keeping quiet on the powertrain of the Alpine. The A110-50 was powered by a 295kW/422Nm 3.5-litre V6, but the upcoming sportscar may get something less powerful, judging by Mr Ratti's comments.

“[The car] will be more about driving pleasure than pure power,” he said.

Being able to draw on technology from the Renault-Nissan alliance there are plenty of potential candidates that could power the Alpine including the 201kW/360Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four found in the Megane RS 275.

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