An early version of the joint-venture car from Renault has been spied undergoing performance testing in Germany

The first early test mule for the new Alpine sports car has hit the Nürburging.

The new rear-drive two-seater coupé, which is due on sale in 2016 alongside its co-developed Caterham sibling, is set to be a bespoke design from the ground-up, despite this early mule being based around a Lotus body.

The team testing the mule at the Nürburgring was high-performance suspensions specialist Ohlins, known for its work on Renaultsport models. Although Renault wouldn’t officially confirm this mule is indeed one for the Alpine, insider sources have confirmed that this is the case.

Underpinning the Alpine is set to be a steel spaceframe chassis that also features weight-saving aluminium and composite components. The suspension is all-independent, and the engine is tipped to be a turbocharged 2.0-litre unit with around 280bhp, although a tuned version of the Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo’s 1.6-litre engine is also under consideration.

Caterham's car will use the same chassis and running gear as the Alpine but is understood to be powered by a Toyota engine. Total weight of each car is tipped to be around 1000kg. Both cars are being dynamically benchmarked against the Porsche Cayman, although their dynamic make-up will also pit them against the Alfa Romeo 4C. 

The styling of the new Alpine is close to being signed off. The shape will combine cues from the much-loved Alpine A110 with proportions and elements that emphasise its modernity. The name of the car has not yet been decided. 

Renault design chief Laurens van den Acker has said the Caterham version will get a completely different look, the co-developed sports cars not being “a Toyota-Subaru with almost identical cars like the GT86 and BRZ coupés.

“That wouldn’t work for them or for us,” he told Autocar last month. “The two cars need to be clearly different. It needs to be not just a sports car, but also a car for aesthetes.”

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10

18 July 2013

Was hoping this was to be a new Lotus test mule. Shame.

18 July 2013

When every man and his dog has bought the Elise chassis for a vehicle project. Surely got to one of the most wide spread chassis around

18 July 2013

takumiuk wrote:

When every man and his dog has bought the Elise chassis for a vehicle project. Surely got to one of the most wide spread chassis around

Autocar wrote:

despite this early mule being based around a Lotus body.

 


18 July 2013

Given all the farce in F1 about who owned the rights to the Team Lotus name and Tony Fernandes deciding to use the Caterham name instead, someone at Ohlins definitely has a sense of humour with that choice of mule...

18 July 2013

Lotus is not doing very well at the moment and now new competition is coming.

ofir

18 July 2013

Ofir wrote:

Lotus is not doing very well at the moment and now new competition is coming.

There has always been competition, Lotus will bounce back

18 July 2013

Wow. This car really looks good Smile

 

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19 July 2013

I seriously wonder who is going to buy all these new Lotus derivatives. No one is buying the £30,000 Elise, so why will they buy something which looks very similar but costs a whole lot more from the likes of Alpine, Caterham and Alfa Romeo?

  Or is the lack of demand for the Elise purely down to the current status of the Lotus brand and its lack of dealers?

I hope that I'm wrong, because all of these newcomers are genuinely exciting cars that deserve some success...

19 July 2013

LP in Brighton wrote:

I seriously wonder who is going to buy all these new Lotus derivatives. No one is buying the £30,000 Elise, so why will they buy something which looks very similar but costs a whole lot more from the likes of Alpine, Caterham and Alfa Romeo?

As it says in the article (and someone has already pointed out in the comments), the mule here has a Lotus body. Nothing more.

19 July 2013

The 4c is supposedly sold out till sometime in 2014 and in LE guise thats £50k! Ok it has differences with the Lotus, carbon fibre tub accounting for a lot of its cost but it is the same concept.

Alpine/Caterham will be very pleased with the Alfa's sales reception even if Lotus won't be. Have to feel for Lotus really.

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