Renault is relying on the Alfa Romeo's upcoming 4C to help enhance prospects for the two-seat Alpine coupé, expected to arrive at the market in 2016 with a price of about £50,000. According to Renault chief Carlos Tavares, the Dieppe-made Alpine and the Alfa (as well as the car being developed on the same chassis by its 50/50 partner Caterham) will come together to build a new, big-name, sub-supercar class of driver's cars meant to be attractive to both wealthy consumers who prefer traditional cars and younger fans of driving.
Tavares said that styling is about 70% done. Its shape merges cues from the heavily applauded A110 (featuring four round headlights, arrowhead nose, low roofline, side scoops, wide rear deck) with measurements and features that put the focus on its modernity.
He said that one of the big obstacles is getting the right balance. Tavares hasn’t divulged much about the mechanical details of the car but right before the new Alpine endurance race car debuted at Silverstone, he told Autocar that it will be a two-seat coupé with a weight of about 1000kg, priced at about £50,000 and with a capability of producing 280bhp.
It’s expected that it can achieve an annual volume of "a few thousand." It’s believed that the chassis will be a spaceframe primarily of steel, but with weight-reducing aluminium and composite parts.
According to French media, the Alpine coupé is equipped with an all-independent suspension and positions its engine – a four-cylinder turbo petrol unit that will probably have a 2.0-litre capacity – transversely behind the passengers.
Engineers have yet to confirm if it will use the six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox newly adopted for the Renault Clio Renaultsport, or a traditional stick shift. The same chassis and running gear will be used on Caterham's car and the Alpine but it’s believed to use a Toyota engine.
With a length of under 4 meters, with of 200 cm, height of 118 cm and a wheelbase of less than 2.4 meters, the 4C is really a compact car with supercar proportions and an agile nature – all helping it stand out from its rivals.
Tasked to design the new 4C, Alfa Romeo Centro Stile made sure the design and technical specs of the new Alfa Romeo sports car are developed from aerodynamic and dynamic points of view. This is why all the design approaches implemented on the new 4C were optimized to achieve the ultimate goal of achieving true performance.
To achieve this goal, designers treated the surfaces of the new 4C as sculpture, and cooperated with engineers to ensure that innovative aerodynamic solutions are applied into it. This collaboration has resulted to a car with pure sports styling as achieved through the marriage of technology and beauty, simply following Alfa Romeo’s recipe for creating its sports cars -- form is always first and foremost function.
Moreover, every structural element of the 4C has been has been conceived to achieve optimal dynamic efficiency while creating the downforce necessary to make sure that grip remains at optimum during high-speed cornering.
Meanwhile, the rear and enveloping volume of the new 4C elegantly accommodates its engine and its mechanicals – as visible through the car’s rear window. This volume – created through the development of a marked musculature above the rear wheels – gives the rear end a sense of strength and power.