Renault‘s first Alpine sports car will arrive before the end of 2015 the company says, as much as two years ahead of the initial schedule, and promising a driving experience roughly in line with a Mazda Miata. The project – a joint effort between Renault and Caterham announced back in November – will not “betray the DNA of Alpine” Renault marketing chief Stephen Norman told Autocar, saying that the car “must be light and look different, and have a touch of French dash.”
Think serious driver’s car yet without too much compromise or discomfort, however. “It won’t be more hardcore than a Mazda MX-5 [Miata]” Norman said. “What we do will not be soft, but not hardcore like a Peugeot 106 Rallye.” Under the hood will be a roughly 250bhp Renault engine.
Alpine interest surged back in 2012, when Renault revealed the A110-50 concept, a fiftieth-anniversary rethink of the original A110 that proved its merit on an aurally-pleasing lap of the French Alps. The new Renault/Caterham Alpine may not be quite so extreme, however; Norman says it will be priced at under £50,000 ($81,000) and be positioned as a Porsche Boxster or Audi TT rival.
“It’s not a car for dandies, though” Norman says. “We know who the buyer is: he’s either French or a Francophile. And the car has technical innovation as part of its DNA.”
The first Alpine model is unlikely to have the garage to itself for long. “Renault and Caterham will combine their skills to build models in large and small volumes” the two companies said back when the project was revealed.