We’ve been told for a while now that Renault has been planning a relaunch of the famed Alpine marque – but what we don’t know is when. It’s already been three years since the French automaker first teased the world with the A110-50 concept. We’ve seen prototypes run at Le Mans with Alpine branding. And the Alpine Vision Gran Turismo concept revealed in January did little to dull anticipation, ridiculous as it may be. But, thanks to Auto Express and Renault executive vice president Bruno Ancelin, we may finally have our answer.
According to Auto Express, Alpine will see the light next year with the introduction of what Ancelin describes as a “low-weight and sporty car” appropriately named the AS1, or Alpine Sport 1. After that though, the direction the brand will take is still up in the air. What is certain is that the AS1 will not remain alone for too long; Ancelin indicated the need for a range of models, including a hybrid and possibly SUV.
Before you get dismayed by the idea of an ungainly crossover made in the vein of featherweight, nimble, compact French rally legends, Ancelin would like you to know that Renault is pooling all its resources – including those of partners Nissan and Daimler – into ensuring that the new Alpine is a formidable competitor to the likes of Audi and Porsche.
That’s good to hear, because resurrecting Alpine has proven to be more challenging than Renault probably would have liked. Not long after the A110-50 reveal, it was announced that Alpine’s production vehicles would come from a joint venture between Renault and Caterham. That dream fizzled out last year when tensions boiled over and Renault acquired Caterham’s 50 percent stake, assuming full control of the project.
Source: Auto Express