Alpine Vision sharpens

Mid-engined A120 sports coupe takes shape ahead of 2017 launch

BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

RENAULT has revealed the latest form of its Alpine Vision, bringing the once-dormant brand a step closer to becoming a showroom reality for Australian buyers.

Centre stage at the Geneva show, the mid-engined two-seat concept is said to be an “80 percent” production-ready version of the A120 slated for the Paris show in October.

Styled by head of Alpine design Antony Villain (pictured above right), under the direction of Renault’s design director Laurens van den Acker, the A120 visually harks back to heritage Alpine models such as the A110.

The concept sports a traditional coupe silhouette defined by a rounded turret and 1950s-inspired wraparound rear glass.

Highlighting its aspirations as an alternative to the Lotus Exige and Porsche Cayman, the Vision is powered by a 1.8-litre turbopetrol four delivering a rumoured 220kW to the rear wheels via a dual-clutch transmission. Alpine suggests a 0-100km/h time of 4.5sec, aided by the promise of lightness and dynamic agility, further underlining the French firm’s driver focus.

An intimate connection carries through to the cabin, with a lowslung seating position featuring old-school race-style harnesses, though leather, aluminium, carbonfibre and a TFT touchscreen old race with the latest multimedia connectivity also suggest modern, civilised luxury.

touchscreen While not officially confirmed for Oz, Renault Australia’s Emily Fadeyev told Wheels the importer has expressed “strong interest” in the Alpine brand, with the outlook being “extremely promising” for a local release after European sales start in 2017.

Renault announced nearly four years ago it would relaunch the long-dormant Alpine. It is chasing the premium sports car market, which currently supports about 200,000 units a year and is on track to top 300,000 by 2020.

“Alpine’s plan is to satisfy the demand of customers who are looking for a sublime driving experience coupled with upmarket style and elegance,” Alpine product planning director Eric Reymann said.

“The customers we are targeting are particularly sensitive to a marque’s history and culture.”