New details on Renault's revival of the Alpine sports carEnlarge Photo
Renault announced late last year
that it is planning a new Alpine sports car as part of its target of introducing 26 new models to its lineup. The latest word on the car's development is that the company may take advantage of its association with Nissan by placing the car on a smaller version of the platform underpinning the 350Z.
The Alpine sports car
will be classed to compete with the Mazda MX-5, however, and not its bigger, more powerful corporate cousin. By targeting the Alpine at a smaller, less powerful segment of the market, the company hopes to also keep it affordable and efficient in terms of fuel and emissions, as sales in Europe will depend on lower initial cost and operating expenses, especially as fuel prices continue to rise and emissions targets shrink, reports AutoWeek.nl
. The Alpine's classic focus on light weight and affordability has come full circle with modern sensibilities.
The new Alpine is expected to produce about 220hp from a four-cylinder engine. Forced induction hasn't been mentioned, but would be a way to keep displacement down and efficiency up. On the other hand, adding a turbocharger would also add expense to car's production, which could work against the company's low-cost target. A six-speed transmission and RWD configuration are also expected to be part of the bargain.
Nissan is also believed to be working on an entry-level sportscar, possibly a successor to the 200SX line of cars. The synergy of both Renault and Nissan working on such a vehicle is obvious, but it would also introduce an element of competition between the brands that has not previously existed, unless Nissan were to limit its offering to non-Renault markets.
The similarities of design precepts for both the Alpine and the 200SX replacement to the Nissan Urge concept shown in 2006 at the Detroit Auto Show are remarkable: a 2,400lb (1,090kg), RWD, small-engine sports car or roadster targeted at a younger demographic. Although it's a pure concept car, it could give an idea of the direction the two companies could take in terms of styling and proportions.
Earlier this year, a design study for a Renault Alpine Interlagos
(pictured) emerged, showing a similarly styled small coupe concept of the revival of the Brazilian special-edition, which was reported to be headed for production with a Megane 2.0L engine producing 142hp and a six-speed RWD powertrain.