To mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic Berlinette, Design Yann Jarsalle and Concept and Show Car Director Axel Breun reinterpreted the original design cues and combined them with the new Renault design language introduced by Laurens van den Acker with the Dezir concept car, and which will soon be rolled out in the company’s future models.
The new front-end look, with the upright, confident diamond, has been adapted for this very low and wide car.
The wheelbase of the Renault Alpine A110-50 is identical to that of Mégane Trophy (2,625mm), while the track is slightly wider at 1,680mm front and 1,690mm rear.
“For everybody on the team, it was a dream come true to work on an Alpine concept car. We wanted to put this car firmly in the modern day, while resonating with its heritage” comments Laurens van den Acker, Senior VP, Corporate Design.
The Renault Alpine A110-50 concept car translates the most characteristic design features of the original A110 in a modern and spectacular:
- the sculpted forms of its elegant, flowing bodywork, enhanced by lights over which air seems to flow effortlessly.
- the half-domed additional lamps, with a technical but nostalgic interpretation, thanks to full LED yellow lighting
- a characteristic 3D rear window, which reveals the mid-rear engine.
- air intakes on each side echo the ducts on the rear wheel arches of the Berlinette. The right-hand opening is for gearbox cooling, the left is for the engine bay.
Produced by Faster, the carbon-fibre bodywork features a new shade of blue which refreshes and reinterprets the famous original ‘Alpine Blue’.
Every opening panel has a distinctive opening mechanism: the hood is hinged at the front, the engine bay cover opens towards the rear and the doors feature a scissor motion.
“Developing this concept car was a great adventure. It was a catalyst for creativity. We wanted to make a Berlinette that was of our time, and which boldly embodies Renault’s passion for motorsport. We were guided by our hearts and emotions.” concludes Axel Breun.
The 21-inch wheels, with a single central nut, are specific to this car and fitted with road- homologated Michelin tires.
Everything inside the two-seater expresses build quality and sportiness, with black dominant.
The driver’s seat features embroidered ‘Renault Alpine A110-50’ badging, Sabelt full harness belts and different shades of blue.
The dashboard is uncluttered and the steering wheel incorporates a color screen and houses the same technology as a Formula Renault 3.5 single-seater to provide drivers with all the information they need.
The Renault Alpine A110- 50 adopts the same technical platform of the racing Mégane Trophy.
The tubular chassis has been stiffened and undergone several developments. The roll cage and bracing in the engine bay have been modified (lowered) in the workshop of Tork Engineering to adapt them to the vehicle’s height, which is lower than that of Mégane Trophy.
The digital design work was led by Renault Design, Koller and Etud Integral, while final assembly was carried out by Protostyle.
The final weight distribution is almost ideal, with 47.8% over the front wheels.
Derived directly from the systems seen in endurance racing, they allow the wheels to be changed extremely quickly.
The efficiency of the Renault Alpine A110-50 concept car is largely generated by ground effect. At the front, a splitter hidden in the bumper generates low pressure, which results in significant aerodynamic downforce.
At the rear, a diffuser accelerates air flow beneath the floor.
Ground effect therefore accounts for more than one-third of the car’s downforce, with the rest coming from an adjustable rear wing.
The research and design of this air flow was conducted using Computational Fluid Dynamics, a cutting-edge technology used particularly in F1. CFD involves studying movements of a fluid, or their effects, by resolving digitally the equations which govern the fluid.
The Sachs dampers can be adjusted in compression and extension, and are mounted directly onto the lower wishbones.
There are numerous different set-up options: castor, camber and alignment, ride height, anti-roll.
In order to improve driver feedback, driving aids like ABS, traction control, etc. are not fitted.
The braking system includes 356mm-diameter steel discs and six-piston callipers at the front and 330mm-diameter disc and four-piston callipers at the rear.
Engine and gearbox
The crankcase (semi-wet), moving parts (pistons, connecting rods, crankshaft), valve train (camshafts and valve springs) and exhaust system are specific compared to the version featured on productions models.
Furthermore, the Renault Alpine A110-50 uses the carbon air intake employed for Mégane Trophy V6.
The inlet manifold is fed by a new roof-mounted air intake. This development broadens the engine’s power band, with additional horsepower at all engine speeds. The engine mapping has been optimized for these modifications.
The engine is matched to a semi-automatic six-speed sequential gearbox, as well as a twin-plate clutch that can be controlled using either the clutch pedal or a paddle on the steering wheel.
The gearbox is fitted longitudinally behind the engine and incorporates a limited-slip differential (discs and ramps) with adjustable pre-loading.
The cerametallic twin-plate clutch is also specific to the car. It is activated automatically when downshifting, guaranteeing fast and reliable gear changes.
The Renault Alpine A110-50 (1962)
When Jean Rédélé unveiled the A110 Berlinette at the 1962 Paris Motor Show, it marked the start of an Alpine adventure for the engine from the Renault 8. The car had been developed from the Alpine A108, but was more stylish and more dynamic, with an even lower engine cover, a larger glazed area and the rear lights from the Renault 8. The new engine demanded changes to the air intakes: with the radiator mounted at the rear, cooling exits were opened in the resin bodywork behind the rear wheel arches, disguised with four chrome strips. The changes served only to heighten the elegance of the A110 Berlinette. The restrained, balanced silhouette maintained its extremely pure lines.
To drive a Berlinette is a life-changing experience. Above all, it was designed to win rallies, so it’s not surprising that it boasts a certain pedigree; not a tricky personality, but real character. You don’t climb aboard an Alpine, you slide into it. But once you’re behind the wheel, the connection is immediate. Agility and traction are particular strong points thanks to the mid-rear position engine, which tends to produce oversteer that is easy to control using the steering and throttle. It’s sometimes a little trickier to keep going in a straight line, but life’s all about compromise… This isn’t a car you simply take for a drive – it demands to be properly driven. Its weaknesses are also its strengths.