Renault’s new Alpine Berlinette sports car will take a step closer to production at some point in the next few weeks, when the French manufacturer officially announces who it will be partnering with on the car, what the mechanical make-up will be, and where it will be built.
Renault’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communication Steve Norman told Autocar that confirmation of the Alpine will come “very soon”. He declined to comment on how much it would cost, when it would be launched, exactly what the mechanical layout would be, or where it would be built.
He did say that the template for the car would be the rear-engined A110 of 1961. A rear-engined platform has already been all but ruled out by Renault high-ups, but Norman expanded on the similarity with the A110 by explaining that the new Alpine “will do to the current Audi TT and Porsche Boxster what the A110 did to its contemporaries throughout the 1960s and ‘70s”.
The A110 became a very successful rally car, despite being down on sheer power and performance compared to its rivals. And Norman’s implication is that lightness, agility, simplicity and value will be the new Alpine’s key weapons. “This will car won’t only look like what you’d expect a French sports car to look like; its character will be also defined by the French sporting tradition,” he went on.
Norman also dropped the biggest hint he could that the Alpine would be rear-driven: “I honestly don’t think there’s anything in the car’s design or configuration that will deceive or disappoint anyone,” he said.
Rumours at Paris suggest that the Alpine announcement could be made as early as tomorrow (Friday 28th), when a joint Renault/Nissan/Daimler press conference is scheduled. If not by then, however, our sources suggest that, within weeks, the speculation about one of most anticipated new sports cars of recent years can finally be put to bed.