A Retro Mid-Engined Coupe that Could Appear at Nissan Dealers is Almost Ready

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A modern take on one of the sexiest four-cylinder cars of the 1960s will officially debut before the end of the year, and there’s a chance it will find its way to these shores.

Alpine, a reborn subsidiary of Renault, is putting the final touches on the production version of its Vision concept, a practical sports car that harkens back to the glory days of the nearly forgotten brand.

Parent company Renault has high hopes for the mid-engined two-seater, positioning the model as a French competitor to Britain’s Lotus Elise and Italy’s Alfa Romeo 4C. Of course, there’s the Germans, too.

Speaking to Automotive News Europe, Alpine boss Michael van der Sande claims he wants a model that’s “usable as a daily car,” despite its obvious sporting abilities. This could give the model a leg up over its competition by attracting a wider class of buyers. The Vision concept released earlier this year is a larger, more spacious two-seater — a combination of sportscar and sports coupe.

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Alpine, bought by Renault in 1973 and declared defunct in 1995, spawned a classic in the early ’60s with its A110 coupe, a model the reborn brand means to emulate. A range of new Alpine models could follow, but Renault wants to play it safe. Reportedly, production of the new Alpine won’t top 5,000 units per year, and van der Sande claims the brand’s future depends on “the public reaction to the car.”

Renault motor sports chief Jerome Stoll has said in the past that Alpine will be a global brand, meaning its models aren’t confined by European borders. Will it come to the U.S.? There’s no official word on that, but the model looks appealing as a niche product.

It also wouldn’t be that difficult to bring stateside, as Renault is deeply intertwined with Nissan through a longstanding alliance. After laying some groundwork, select Nissan-Infiniti dealers could deliver the country’s share of Alpines to waiting customers.

The Alpine reportedly sports a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder making about 300 horsepower, and carries a price of about $56,000. If U.S. buyers like what they see, they’d better hope European customers snap up every Alpine in a hurry, boosting the brand’s confidence and making an American entry more likely.

[Images: Alpine Cars]