The Renault Alpine A110 might be the greatest sports car you've never heard of. But the storied French car company aims to rekindle the love Europeans of a certain age have for Renault's classic sports coupe by relaunching it in 2017.
Renault just released a prototype, the Alpine Vision, and pledged that the production car scheduled to hit the road next year will hew closely to its appearance. The revamped road model will be powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine driving the car through the rear wheels to reach 60 mph in less than 4.5 seconds.
Renault is on a tear trying to reestablish its performance credentials, with a series of concept cars like the Alpine A110-50 of 2012, the Playstation-inspired Alpine Vision Gran Turismo and last summer's Alpine Celebration. The new Alpine supports Renault's return as a traditional Formula 1 entrant this season.
The A110 debuted at the Paris Motor Show in 1962, two years ahead of the Porsche 911. Like the Porsche, the Alpine used a rear-mounted, air cooled engine with swing axle independent rear suspension. Even in race trim, the A110 topped out at only 185 hp, but that was plenty for those days, and the car enjoyed great success in rally racing, which established its legend.
A revived Alpine gives Renault a model to compete with the likes of the Porsche Cayman and Alfa Romeo 4C in the premium sports coupe segment.
“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.”
We can reliably interpret that to mean the company will unveil the production-ready Alpine at the Paris Motor Show in October. Until then, check out this nifty preview video of the Alpine Vision: