Renault always likes to make a fuss at the Monaco Grand Prix, but this year it's really pulled out something special: this is the Renault Alpine A 110-50 Concept, a rolling 295kW tribute to the legendary Alpine A 110 Berlinette.
It's 50 years since the Alpine Berlinette first started ripping up rally stages in what was to quickly become its characteristically flamboyant style. So to mark the occasion, and hint at a future production Alpine coupe, Renault has built the car you see pictured here, the A 110-50.
Designed by Yann Jarsalle, working together with Renault's Concept and Show Car Director, Axel Breun, the A 110-50 has been produced by Renault Sport Technologies and successfully re-interprets a number of the original's styling cues while utterly avoiding any accusations of retro.
The half-domed LED lighting clusters — illuminating in the Berlinette's trademark yellow hue — are a particularly apt feature, but Renault has carefully re-thought the cooling vents and the rear window's lines as well. Making it far more homage than pastiche.
Also true to the original is the powertrain layout — the new concept sports a mid-mounted V6 driving the rear wheels. But with 295kW on tap from a 3.5-litre unit that's more commonly found in racing cars, that big rear wing probably isn't for show.
In fact, the entire car is anything but a static exhibit, as it's actually built over the spaceframe chassis of a Renault Megane Trophy racer. Which, as you can see, isn't much like a regular Renault Megane.
Some small adjustments have been made to reduce the height of the roll cage and engine mounting frame to better suit the A 110-50's low-slung curves, but otherwise this is just the same as the Megane Trophy underneath. So it should be able to really tear round the Moncao Grand Prix circuit.
So while Renault hasn't released any performance statistics, with 295kW available, a genuine race car chassis, paddleshift gearbox, and aerodynamics modelled using Formula One technology, the A 110-50 has got to be a blast.
Don't expect much in the way of creature comforts. While Renault has done its best to smarten the sparse cockpit with splashes of carbon fibre and a pair of diamond pattern bucket seats, that's all you get beyond the roll cage and an instrument cluster from a Renault Formula 3.5 single-seater built into the steering wheel.
Keeping the driver on their toes, the concept is fitted with absolutely no active safety devices. That means no ESP, traction control or ABS. And don't go thinking there are any airbags, either.
Still, it does have completely adjustable racing suspension, huge brakes, and 21-inch centre-lock alloy wheels. We were halfway expecting it to be fitted with slick racing tyres, too, but actually it's on 'road-homologated' Michelins.
Other funky features include the on-board pneumatic jacks that allow the A 110-50 concept to raise itself up for a quick wheel change, the carbon fibre air intake that feeds down from the roof, and scissor style doors.
It's hard to say for sure what Renault's got planned for the future of the Alpine A 110-50 concept. Given it's based around a chassis it already builds, the company could presumably quite easily put it into limited production — but that certainly wouldn't be cheap. Or road legal.
It's also worth noting that the Alpine's appearance is not a million miles away from the Renault DeZir concept of 2010. We wouldn't be surprised if something a little more showroom friendly is on the way — especially with the Paris Motor Show coming this September.
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