Tentatively scheduled for a 2015 launch, Alpine's first model will be a small retro-styled two-seater that will be heavily inspired by the A110 Berlinette that was built in the 1960s and the 1970s. Renault is following the path blazed by Volkswagen's New Beetle and BMW's 21st century MINI.
Although the Alpine and the Caterham will ride on the same platform, the two cars will look nothing alike when viewed from the outside.
"This is not a project that will create two cars that look the same, like the Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ," said van den Acker. "What we plan to create is two cars that will look completely different. People will not recognize them when they are parked together."
Stephen Norman, Renault's head of marketing, hinted in an interview with England's Autocar that the Alpine will "not be soft" but that it will not be as hardcore as the Peugeot 106 Rallye, a no-frills hot hatch that was offered in Europe throughout the 1990s. This indicates that the Alpine's cabin will likely be equipped with modern creature comforts such as an infotainment system and power windows.
Under the hood
Like the A110 of yore, the upcoming Alpine will be powered by a Renault-sourced four-cylinder engine mounted behind the rear seats. Likely sourced from the Clio RS parts bin, the mill will send at least 250 horsepower to the car's rear wheels via a manual transmission and a limited-slip differential.
Renault is planning on charging anywhere between €35,000 and €40,000 (roughly $44,000 to $50,000) for the little two-seater. It will not be mass-produced but it won't be a limited edition model, either.
"Ideally we'd like to build anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 cars annually in Alpine's original Dieppe, France, factory," said Jean-Pascal Dauce, the head of Renault's motorsports department.
Photo by Ronan Glon.