The first new-generation Alpine sports car due in 2016 will be to the reborn French performance brand what the 911 is to Porsche, according to its designer.
The man responsible for developing Alpine’s 21st century design language, Renault corporate design senior vice president Laurens van den Acker, said he has looked to the past for inspiration for its cars of the future.
“Because it’s the first one we were inspired mostly by the A110 because that’s the ultimate Alpine, that’s the one that comes to mind when people think about Alpine,” van den Acker told CarAdvice at the Geneva motor show.
“For our first car it’s very important to establish the roots and the foundation on which we’re going to create the rest of the brand, that’s why I’ve been saying it’s like what 911 is to Porsche, the first car needs to be what the A110 was to Alpine. You’ll recognise it.”
Alpine’s first new two-seater will likely share styling cues with van den Acker’s Renault Alpine A110-50 – the concept released in 2012 to celebrate 50 years of the legendary Alpine Berlinette.
The design chief insists the compact sports car – one half of the collaboration between Renault and Caterham – would be “very different” to the version that will be offered by the British track car specialist.
“Both brands deserve their expression and it’s not even a compromise. Both brands should be very happy.”
He shrugged off reports the Alpine program is running behind schedule, confirming the car is “progressing very well” and the design “as good as finished” almost two years out from its launch.
“I can’t wait for 2016. Normally you want to be young, but I want to be two years older just so it would come out.”
Alpine is likely to show a design concept – probably next year – before unveiling the final production model closer to its launch, according to van den Acker.
Asked whether Australia would have the chance to get behind the wheel of the Alpine, which is confirmed for right-hand-drive production, he affirmed: “Yeah, if you ask for it”.
The French brand’s performance division, Renault Sport, is heavily involved with the engineering of the new sports car, which was spied lapping the Nurburgring in July disguised by the roughly cut body panels of an old Lotus Elise.
Renault Sport CEO Patrice Ratti told CarAdvice his division’s involvement in the project ran deep, but said Renault Sport would not offer its own version of the car.
“Alpine is Alpine. Renault Sport is the sporty version of Renault. It will be a separate brand,” Ratti said.