Mid-engined A120 coupé will be joined by convertible and more powerful versions
28 November 2016

Renault is planning to launch an expanded range of Alpine sports models once its first two-seat coupé, strongly tipped to be called A120, has begun a new era for the marque early next year.

The Alpine A110 has been revealed at the Geneva motor show

The transverse mid-engined A120 is likely to cost around £50,000 and is expected to be followed by a convertible and a more performance-focused coupé variant, both of which are already well advanced. Alpine bosses are keen to offer a range of cars as soon as possible but say later models must share the original architecture.

The coupé will be revealed at the beginning of next year at a dedicated launch event, according to Alpine managing director Michael van der Sande, who arrived at the French firm from Aston Martin earlier this year.

The first production cars will be delivered to customers next summer.

The A120 is powered by a high-performance version of a Renault-Nissan Alliance four-cylinder engine not yet in production but believed to be imminent. It is likely to be a turbocharged 1.8-litre unit shared with Renault Sport, with close to 300bhp and driving through a revised version of the Renault Clio RS’s six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The 0-62mph time will be below 4.5sec insiders say.

At around 4.2 metres long, the A120 has styling similar to that of the concept shown in Monaco at the beginning of the year when group boss Carlos Ghosn gave the project its green light. Begun as a co-operative deal with Caterham that subsequently collapsed, the Alpine project has had several false starts while Renault established a valid business case.

Van der Sande said the A120, like all future Alpines, will trade on its low weight and agility. He revealed little about the car’s construction but did say “there won’t be a lot of plastics”, despite the Dieppe manufacturing plant specialising in plastic-clad, steel-chassis models in the past. That would suggest aluminium for the outer skin.

Weight isn’t specified but is said to be “low”. Alpine will hope to do better than the A120’s most obvious competitor, the Alfa Romeo 4C, which is said to tip the scales at under 1000kg.

The new coupé will be more expensive than any other performance-orientated Renault, with prices tipped to be around £50,000 to £55,000. It will be sold by 60 hand-picked dealers across

Europe. Initial sales volume is expected to be “single thousands”, with 5000 to 7000 annually being a good estimate. Van der Sande said the further iterations will help to build profitability.

Open-top and higher-performance versions are therefore logical, but there won’t be Renault-bodied Alpines, even though they exist in Alpine’s history. That territory is now the preserve of Renault Sport, said van der Sande.

Although the new A120 will trade heavily on its relationship with the ultra-low classic A110, van der Sande said the new model will be comfortable and reasonably spacious, with entry and egress carefully designed to suit today’s larger drivers. More information, including construction details, will be available “within a couple of months”, he added.

Our Verdict

Alfa Romeo 4C
Alfa 4C is built to encapsulate all of the Alfa Romeo brand values

The 4C is Alfa's first true driver's car for decades, and it shows how brilliantly a small turbo four can go and sound in a lightweight package

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Comments
4

28 November 2016
well some readers my remember and a few may have even driven the originals (Gawd your old like me then lol) I actually had the infinite pleasure of belting one which was fully prepared for rallying and won the Greek championship way back in the early 80's. A beauty to look at and a beast of a performer. In better hands than mine the owner took it to the championship without a hitch and it was wonderful to look at listen to and drive.
Not sure they have got ye olde look mixed with modern quite right - unlike the new Toyota Supra which is spot on - but time will tell. Price looks good though but I wonder how many add ons from the list of extras you need to make it THE car you want? Toyota will have em all as standard

what's life without imagination

28 November 2016
Good start to the morning but a starting price of £50,000+? That's well into Audi TTRS Boxster territory, after all at the end of the day its a 2 wheel drive Renault 4 pot

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

28 November 2016
Shame Caterham couldn't make this work. Easy to imagine their version of this car - stripped out and offered only with a manual gear shift - doing well.

28 November 2016
I was really excited about this car until I noticed it wasn't a Manual.

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