Re­nault gives an Alpine peek

The Advertiser - Motoring - - COVER STORY - CRAIG DUFF

fi­nal de­sign. The Cel­e­bra­tion draws heav­ily on Alpine’s rac­ing her­itage, from blue and or­ange livery to the cross-taped front lights re­call­ing its rally cars and the style of the bon­net creases and hub-lock­ing wheels that echo the suc­cess­ful A110 mod­els of the 1960s and ’70s.

The Alpine ar­rowed “A” has been fes­tooned on the air in­take grille, sides, front wings and roof.

Car­bon fi­bre has been ap­plied to high­light key body parts, from the spoiler to the rear dif­fuser, side sills, air in­takes and mir­rors.

Be­yond its mid-en­gined lay­out, there’s no word on the Cel­e­bra­tion’s driv­e­train. The last Alpine con­cept — the cur­va­ceous A110-50 shown in 2012 — was pow­ered by a 3.5litre V6.

Alpine later said it was look­ing at a car to sit be­tween the Lo­tus Elise and Porsche Cay­man in terms of price and per­for­mance.

That would make the Re­nault­sport Me­gane’s 2.0-litre turbo en­gine the most likely can­di­date. That en­gine de­vel­ops 201kW/360Nm and is matched to a six-speed man­ual in the Me­gane RS275 Tro­phy

The re­launch of the Alpine brand was orig­i­nally planned as a joint ven­ture with Cater­ham us­ing a com­mon plat­form with unique body­work for each mar­que. The deal ended in 2014 when Re­nault bought out Cater­ham’s stake in the pro­ject.

The Alpine brand was born in the early 1950s when garage owner Jean Redele started rac­ing light­weight cars pow­ered by Re­nault en­gines. His on­track suc­cess led to de­mand for pro­duc­tion mod­els and he launched the A106 — a fi­bre­glass-bod­ied coupe on Re­nault 4CV run­ning gear.

The last Alpine — the A610 — rolled out of the Dieppe fac­tory in north­ern France in 1995. Re­nault has since used the plant to pro­duce Re­nault­Sport mod­els but has promised the reborn Alpine range will re­turn to its spir­i­tual home when a pro­duc­tion ver­sion is even­tu­ally signed off.

A PIC­TURE is worth 1000 words, which is a good thing be­cause Re­nault has noth­ing to say about its Alpine Cel­e­bra­tion con­cept other than high­light­ing its ex­te­rior de­sign.Even then it is not nec­es­sar­ily in­dica­tive of the look of the much an­tic­i­pated two-seat pro­duc­tion coupe slated for launch next year.Re­nault says the show car re­vealed at last week­end’s Le Mans 24-Hour race is a 60th an­niver­sary homage to the brand and “the latest in a se­ries of ve­hi­cles de­signed to show­case the Alpine leg­end”.The re­ac­tion from the Le Mans crowd and spec­ta­tors at the com­ing Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed will help shape the

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