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by Tim Beissmann

Renault’s marketing boss says the French brand’s upcoming Alpine sports car to be developed in collaboration with Caterham will be 'no more hardcore than a Mazda MX-5' when it launches before the end of 2015.

Renault global marketing and communications senior vice president Stephen Norman told UK publication Autocar the new Alpine model’s mix of one part Renault, one part classic Alpine and one part Caterham meant it would favour the more polished, conservative design of the former two rather than the stripped-out form of the latter.

“It won’t be more hardcore than a Mazda MX-5,” Norman said.

“What we do will not be soft, but not hardcore like a Peugeot 106 Rallye. You can’t betray the DNA of Alpine. That’s a third of what the car will be.”

Norman insisted the new-from-the-ground-up Alpine – which is rumoured to rival the likes of the Audi TT and Porsche Boxster – must be light, look unique, and have “a touch of French dash”.

“It’s not a car for dandies, though. We know who the buyer is: he’s either French or a Francophile. And the car has technical innovation as part of its DNA.”

Renault and Caterham confirmed they were joining forces in November 2012 to create a range of affordable sports cars at Renault’s plant in Dieppe, France. The partnership will see the re-emergence of Alpine nameplate, which rose to fame during the 1970s on the back of numerous motorsport wins, including the 1973 World Rally Championship and the 1978 Le Mans 24-hour.

The Alpine name reappeared in May 2012 when the French brand unveiled the Alpine A110-50 concept (pictured) as a tribute to the legendary Alpine Berlinette sports car and to show the potential of Renault styling chief Laurens van der Acker’s new design language.




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