Renault's sports car brand, Alpine, is set for a major shake-up in the coming years, with the announcement overnight it will ditch conventional internal-combustion power in the coming years.
Confirmed during parent company Groupe Renault's 'Renaulution' business plan announcement on Thursday night, Alpine will repositioned to become Renault's sole performance brand, replacing the existing Alpine road-car division, Renault Sport Cars (makers of the cult-favourite Renault Megane RS hot hatch) and Renault Sport's racing operations.
The strategy change comes just four years into the performance brand's re-emergence, following its revival in 2017 with its first and only model, the mid-engined A110 sports car.
Three models will make up Alpine's performance road-car range (teased below).
The halo model of the trio will be a new all-electric sports car developed with British sports-car specialist Lotus, which will replace the current, 1.8-litre petrol-powered A110 in its line-up. For more information on the finer details of that project, read our standalone story here.
A shadowy teaser image released by the French firm suggests it won't stray too far from the 1960s-inspired styling laid out by its petrol-fed predecessor, with it – and all other upcoming models – retaining the brand's signature quad LED lighting signature, derived from the original A110 of the 1960s.
The co-developed sports car will be joined by a B-segment, Renault Clio RS-sized hot hatch based on Renault's CMF-B platform, along with a C-segment, Volkswagen Tiguan-sized sports SUV riding on the electric CMF-EV platform.
The square lighting units seen on the B-segment hatch in Alpine's teaser hint it could be a reworked, go-fast version of the reborn Renault 5, unveiled overnight in concept form (comparison above). However, the differing positions of the square lights – and use of square, rather than rectangular headlights – could also point to Alpine's model being a standalone creation.
Meanwhile, we've already been given a preview of what to expect performance-wise with the Alpine SUV, through its platform-mate, the Nissan Ariya mid-size electric SUV.
In top-spec Performance guise, the Nissan extracts 290kW of power and 600Nm of torque from a 90kWh battery and dual electric motors, enabling a 5.1-second 0-100km/h sprint – expect similar or better figures from the French brand's high-riding EV.
The lack of a C-segment hatch – the European classification for a small car – in Alpine's plans could spell the end of the road for the Renault Megane RS, the sole remaining high-performance road car sold under the Renault Sport banner, following the demise of the Clio RS in 2018.
Above: The modern Alpine A110 alongside its classic equivalent.
However, there's a chance the hot Megane could live on badged as a Renault, rather than a standalone Alpine, with the performance brand's moniker tagged on at the end of the car's name, as the Renault Megane Alpine.
Additionally, the lack of a small SUV – classified in the B segment in Europe – suggests the production version of the Megane eVision concept unveiled in 2020 won't receive a high-performance, Alpine-badged model.
Renault's motorsport activities – currently operated under the Renault Sport Racing name – will also be brought under Alpine's control.
Led by Laurent Rossi – who will also run the Alpine road-car business, following previous F1 team boss Cyril Abiteboul's sudden departure earlier this week – the team will see France's Esteban Ocon and former Spanish Formula One champion Fernando Alonso behind the wheel of the red, white and blue-liveried Alpine A521 racer.
Alpine is set to make its endurance racing debut later this year, with an entry into the all-electric Formula E series also on the cards.
As part of the wider Renault group, Alpine will take advantage of its parent company's "global manufacturing output", hinting not all future Alpine models will be built at the company's dedicated plant in Dieppe, France.
Also borrowed from Groupe Renault will be a "a powerful purchasing arm ensuring optimum cost competitiveness, a global distribution network and RCI Bank and Services"
Above: Renault Sport's sole high-performance road-going model on sale, the Megane RS hot hatch.
With a trio of new models in the works and its rebranded motorsport efforts in place, Alpine has a clear goal in mind: become profitable by 2025, in both road cars and racing.
"The new Alpine entity takes three brands with separate assets and areas of excellence to turn them into an empowered, fully-fledged business", said Laurent Rossi, CEO of Alpine.
"The craftsmanship from our plant in Dieppe, the engineering mastery from our Formula One and Renault Sport teams will shine through our tech-infused, 100% electric line-up, taking the beautiful Alpine name to the future. We’ll be on the tracks and on the roads, authentic and high-tech, disruptive & passionate."