After teasing sports car fans with concepts and production previews, Renault has revealed the production version of its new specialist arm, Alpine, with official images of the production-ready version of its A110 sportscar.
Originally intended to be co-developed with low-volume British enthusiast brand Caterham, the Alpine project became entirely Renault’s own after Caterham backed out of the project amid rumours that the UK operation was dissatisfied with the direction the coupe was taking.
Alpine has issued two images of the lightweight two-seater coupe, but has yet to confirm exact mechanical details.
As the photographs showcase the final design has remained faithful to the Alpine Vision Concept released last year, and it is expected the car will be offered with a similar powertrain layout. It is understood the car will be powered by an uprated version of the 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder from the Clio RS (possibly with an increase in capacity to 1.8-litres) that produces 185kW in standard guise and up to 225kW in a top-spec model.
It will drive the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, have a mid-engined layout and weigh as little as 1000kg, creating a lightweight, and potentially cheaper, rival to the Porsche Cayman.
Renault Australia has repeatedly expressed interest in establishing the Alpine brand locally on the strength of the popularity of its Renault Sport models, but has yet to officially announce details of the brand's arrival.
Justin Hocevar, Renault Australia managing director, told Drive last year the chances of bringing the revived sports car brand down under were very good.
"Nothing is set in stone but I would say our business case would be a very strong one," Hocevar said early last year.
He said Australia's strong appetite for Renault Sport cars, being one of the brand's biggest markets globally, strengthens the case for offering Alpine here.
"As a market, broadly speaking, it is a strong sports car market," he added. "We have credibility from the Renault Sport brand point-of-view. This is obviously a very different and unique brand and would only ever be pitched as such, but I think the consumer understands the crossover of DNA and so forth."
The original Alpine-Renault A110 is a fabled sportscar whose reputation for dynamic excellence was built on some the most challenging stages of the inaugural World Rally Championship back in 1973.
It is this blue ribbon lineage that Renault is seeking to tap as it attempts to resurrect the once highly regarded Alpine brand with its first new model in over a quarter of a century.
Although it is yet to be publicly unveiled, Alpine has already announced a limited volume A110 Premiere model. The celebratory model, to be produced in limited run of 1955 units, references the year Alpine was founded by Frenchman Jean Redele, prior to being bought by Renault at the height of its World Rally Championship success in 1973.
All 1955 examples of the A110 Premiere have since been snapped up by enthusiasts via a deposit through a unique app created by Alpine. Each one is set to feature a plaque within the centre console with its production number, and comes in a choice of three paint finishes: traditional Bleu Alpine (blue), Blanc Solitaire (white) and Noir Profound (black).
The A110's 2017 debut marks the 25 years since Alpine's last road-going model, the V6-powered A610, ceased production in 1992.
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