Van der Sande said the design of the Alpine wasn’t retro, and was “very modern, very contemporary”. Design chief Antony Villain added that he hoped the design would be recognised as a classic in the future. He also said he was pleased there was now a French car in the segment to give greater elegance, and the Alpine had a very small footprint next to its rivals.
Very few details of the car have been confirmed by Alpine at this stage. It has been revealed that the engine will be a turbocharged four-cylinder unit of an unspecified capacity. However, Autocar understands the engine will be a 1.8-litre unit developed from the turbocharged 1.6-litre engine used in the Clio RS.
The engine’s outputs are also undisclosed at this stage, but sources have indicated the Alpine will have around 250bhp as standard and up to 300bhp in a higher-performance version that will use more aggressive turbocharging.
It is understood to be hooked up to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission driving the rear wheels, something backed up by the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters in the interior of the concept car. There was no comment on whether or not the Alpine would be offered with a manual gearbox from van der Sande, although he said there are no plans for an electric version at present.
Alpine has confirmed a 0-62mph time of less than 4.5sec. A kerb weight of around 1100kg is also expected, with lightness considered to be of greater importance than outright power. Indeed, Ollivier told Autocar last year: “The ratio of light weight versus power is not negotiable; it’s the DNA.”
The design references the classic Alpine A110 and other past Alpines with details such as central circular lights at the front with a cross graphic in them.
The cabin is very high-tech, and an Audi TT-style digital dashboard is one of its notable features. There’s a rich mix of materials, including leather, aluminium and carbonfibre, as well as plenty of nods to motorsport, with twin bucket seats, harness belts and aluminium fastening buckles.
The interior is understood to be very driver-focused, with a low-slung driving position and limited switchgear. Other features of the production car previewed by the Vision concept include a Sport mode, which will most likely sharpen the drive further.
The interior is deliberately a much more modern affair, and based around the driver, with particular attention paid to the steering wheel, seats and TFT display.
The bespoke chassis is mid-rear engined, is lightweight, made from a mixture of materials, and has been designed and engineered by Renault Sport.
The car has no rear spoiler, and the all the main aerodynamic work is underneath the car, where it has a flat floor and a rear diffuser. The Vision is not about aero, however, with the emphasis mainly on simplicity and driving pleasure.
Autocar understands a kerb weight target of 1000kg was originally given to the project, although this was abandoned because it would have required the use of expensive carbonfibre bodywork.
Renault’s chief competitive officer Thierry Bolloré said the Alpine brand was ideal in becoming a technology leader in the Renault group, and would pioneer with lightweight materials and aerodynamic solutions.