Currently reading: Alpine sports car back on
Renault still wants an affordable, latter-day Alpine A110

An affordable rear-drive sports car from Renault could be on the road within three years, Autocar has learned.

That’s assuming that the passion of the company’s new chief of design can be translated into a real, signed-off production model.

Newly installed vice-president of corporate design Laurens van den Acker says he not only thinks Renault should be making a compact, affordable sports car, but also that the chance to make it lies in Renault’s strategic alliances.

“Any car maker with a product range as broad as ours should have room for an affordable sports car,” van den Acker said. “The challenge to design a great driver’s car is very exciting. It won’t be easy to make a strong business case, but through Renault’s global alliances, I believe it will be possible.”

Renault insiders admit there have been several aborted projects to create a new ‘Renault Alpine’ sports car since the year 2000. The latest, a proposal that shared many of its design cues with the 2006 Nepta concept, was cancelled in 2007.

Our first preview of the latest Renault sports car is likely to arrive as part of van den Acker’s recently announced ‘life cycle’ of concept cars. One of the six expected show cars will be aimed at a notional Renault driver “taking time out to play”, he said.

A Renault insider told us, “The car we’re considering is a compact, affordable coupé — a closer match for the Alpine A110 ‘Berlinette’ than anything else.”

Most of the existing platform technology of both Renault and Nissan would impose a front-mounted engine on the car, but if Renault were to negotiate with new alliance partner Daimler for access to the next Smart Fortwo’s rear-engined platform, a more faithful successor for the four-cylinder A110 might be possible along the lines of the last Smart Roadster Coupé.

Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

Join the debate

Add a comment… 21 September 2010

Re: Alpine sports car back on

Sounds like they would like a little of the MX5 / Miata market

A good name deserves a good car

but it would be hard to match what Mazda have done over the past 20 years

superstevie 21 September 2010

Re: Alpine sports car back on

we have but with mixed results. I've owned 3 roadster in the past. The best one was my first. LHD with 61bhp, no power steering, no electric folding roof, no aircon, no sport seats,. Pretty basic. But it was so much more fun than the more powerful cars in my opinion. Why? It felt closer to the orginal concept, and it was a heck of a lot cheaper (10k new, but I bought it 6 months old at 7.5). It was such a shame they never did it in right hand drive in this spec.

supermanuel 21 September 2010

Re: Alpine sports car back on

Yes it would be good Stevie, but it's all supposition at the moment. If the head of catering at FIAT announced that he would quite like to build an intergalactic spaceship, would Autocar run with it under the title 'FIAT Enterprise Coming Soon!' ? It's quite likely that AutoExpress would but that's another matter.

A Renault roadster/coupe based on the SMART platform would be great. For that matter, a SMART roadster/coupe based on the SMART platform would be great.

Hang on, haven't we been there before?