The revival of Alpine was announced three years ago, as a partnership between Renault and Caterham Cars. It was an idea that was viewed as being a pet project of Carlos Tavares, the then COO of Renault, although he soon dropped out of the picture to become head of rival PSA Peugeot Citroën. The link with Caterham did not last long and Renault bought the British firm’s share in 2014 as the relationship was not going well. Since then there has been little obvious activity, beyond a Le Mans programme with an LMP2 ORECA-Nissan 05, rebadged as the Alpine A460. In June last year a concept car called the Alpine Celebration was unveiled and this is now followed by a similar looking Alpine Vision, unveiled in Monaco, obviously as a nod to the marque’s history on the Monte Carlo Rally. The car will make its public debut at the forthcoming Geneva Motor Show and there is much excitement about the mid-engined two-seater coupé. Renault sources say that the production version of the car will be very close to the Vision, but may have another name. It will be built at the Renault Sport factory in Dieppe, the site of the original Alpine factory. At least another two models will follow, one of them being an SUV, as Renault launches the Alpine brand into the sport premium cars segment of the market, where it is expected to compete with the Alfa Romeo 4C, the Lotus Evora and the Porsche 718 Cayman. The production version of the new car will be finalised in the course of this year and will go on sale in the second quarter of 2017. The goal is for there to be technology transfer between the Renault F1 programme and Alpine.
“This is an exciting next step in our strategy to leverage talent and technology between road and track,” said Carlos Ghosn, the boss of Renault. “We look forward to reaching new customers.”
Renault’s chief competitive officer Thierry Bolloré said that the Alpine brand was ideal in becoming a technology leader in the Renault group, and will pioneer with lightweight materials and new aerodynamic solutions.
“We have talked a lot about tech transfers, and now we have a fantastic platform to make it happen,” says Renault Sport Racing boss Cyril Abiteboul, who heads the F1 team.
It is expected that the car will be powered by an all-new four-cylinder turbo, mated with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The Alpine brand has recently been given new management with Dutchman Michael van der Sande being put in charge.
“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 sportscar,” he says. “Our Alpine Vision show car is immediately recognisable as an Alpine yet resolutely modern. We look forward to revealing the production model later this year.”