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Renault reveals Alpine concept car at Le Mans


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 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.

It was looking at a car to sit between the Lotus Elise and Porsche Cayman in terms of price and performance

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 3.5-litre 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 on-track 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.