MONACO (Bloomberg) -- Renault will launch sales of a new Alpine sports car in 2017, reviving the mothballed nameplate in a bid to add racing flair to the automaker’s lineup.
The coupe will be able to accelerate to 100kph (62mph) in 4.5 seconds, about as quickly as a Porsche 911 Carrera. It will rival cars such as the Audi TT and Porsche Cayman and will replace the Espace minivan as Renault’s most expensive car when it hits showrooms in Europe.
Like earlier Alpines, the new car will employ a rear-wheel-drive architecture that keeps weight to a minimum. It will be powered by a new four-cylinder turbocharged engine. Renault did not specify horsepower or capacity. Reports said the car likely will have a 250-hp, 1.8-liter powerplant.
French media cited company sources as saying the car could be priced between 40,000 euros and 50,000 euros.
"Alpine represents racing glory," and reviving the brand is a strategic opportunity to win over new customers, Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn unveiling the Alpine Vision, a near-production concept in Monaco on Tuesday.
Shuttered in 1995 because of poor sales, the niche Alpine brand was best known for the A110 Berlinette coupe, which beat Porsche models in rally competitions in the 1970s.
The new Alpine is aimed at adding sporty cachet to the French manufacturer in an effort that also includes Renault’s return to Formula One racing.
Renault plans to build 3,000 Alpines a year at its plant Dieppe, France. Forecaster IHS Automotive predicts the Alpine will peak at about 1,300 deliveries in 2018, less than a rounding error for a company that made 2.3 million vehicles last year. About 30,000 Alpine cars were built between 1955 and 1995.
The Alpine is "a halo exercise" that could fall flat, said Tim Urquhart, an analyst at IHS Automotive. “They made some interesting and good cars in the 1970s and '80s, but these are very dim and distant memories."