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Alpine Vision Concept is a retrofuturistic Porsche Cayman rival in the making

Storied French auto brand Alpine is one step closer to reanimation with the reveal of this new Vision Concept sports car. A legend on the world rally scene, its global rebirth is just around the corner.

Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
2 min read

Alpine is (almost) back!

What? You say you don't remember the name? Don't be alarmed -- unless you're a reasonably bookish gearhead (or you're European), you can be forgiven for not knowing the marque. The French brand, part of Renault since 1973, is best known for its plucky A110 coupe, a rear-engined sports car that lit up the World Rally Championship in the 70s. Unsurprisingly, the latter's design influence over this concept is clear.

What we have here is leaked photos and information about the Alpine Vision Concept, said to be 80 percent of a production A110 revival, right down to its tidy dimensions and nostril-like inboard lamps.

Keen industry followers will note that this car has been more-or-less promised since 2012, back when Renault observed the A110's 50th anniversary with a different, more extreme, concept car. If all goes well, the coupe should be in European showrooms in a year or so, bringing the Alpine nameplate back, having been on sabbatical since 1995.

Watch this: Alpine Vision Concept looks to resurrect classic sportscar marque

Alpine Vision Concept looks ready to battle Porsche, Lotus (pictures)

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Specifics are still somewhat light on this concept, but it's rumored to be powered by a mid-engined turbocharged four-cylinder engine backed by a dual-clutch gearbox, the latter likely swiped from the Renaultsport Clio hot hatch, according to British magazine CAR.

Power figures aren't known, but around 250 horsepower is being mooted, which would seem to make the concept's stated sub-4.5-second 0-62-mph time sound more believable in light of the car's expected focus on very light weight. That kind of performance would put it in the same league as other European sports coupes such as the Porsche Cayman and Audi TT, perhaps with a more stripped-out, hardcore bent, like the Alfa Romeo 4C or something from Lotus. Further, according to AutoExpress, a higher-power Renaultsport version with up to 300 horsepower is in the cards, too.

Will we get the production car -- expected to be called AS1 or AS110 -- in the US and Canada? We'll file it under "unlikely," since the Alpine brand sadly lacks history or resonance here. A Mexico berth is possible, however, as Alpines used to be built there, and Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has indicated that he has global ambitions for the reborn brand.

We expect to see the Alpine Vision Concept in the flesh at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show in early March, so stay tuned.