Renault-Alpine-Mule-02

Much like the spyshots of yore, the yet-to-be-named Renault Alpine sports coupe has been spotted out and about in southern Spain undergoing tests in a Lotus suit. Since the debut of the Renault Alpine Celebration concept in June 2015, this sighting represents the most concrete evidence of the car’s imminent arrival aside from the earlier leaked patent images of the mid-engined coupe.

Externally, not much can be deduced as the mule’s Exige-inspired bodywork all but masks the actual shape of the car. With that said, things get a little more interesting at the tail end of the car as said prototype features an elongated rear deck – a design element that definitely marks it out from any other regular Exige.

Renault-Alpine-Mule-06

The lengthened rear end of the mule plus its sole, centrally-mounted exhaust outlet certainly corresponds to one of the aforementioned patent shots. Other telltales include much wider wheel arches compared to the regular Exige while the engine cover has been blacked out to hide the engine from prying eyes, we assume.

On the more conventionally-powered side of things, a number of engine options have been mentioned. Candidates include a turbocharged 1.6 litre four-cylinder unit from the Renault Clio RS, a reworked version of the Megane RS‘ 2.0 turbo’ed mill or even an all-new Nissan-Renault-engineered 1.8 litre engine. Likewise, transmission options could include both a dual-clutch and a traditional six-speed manual gearbox.

Renault-Alpine-Mule-08

What we can say for sure is that the new Alpine sports coupe has been slated to arrive no earlier than 2017 – a delay from its earlier mooted 2016 debut. The main reason for the delay, according to an interview by Motoring with Alpine head, Bernard Ollivier, is that the firm wants to make sure the car is “absolutely perfect” before it hits the production line.

When it does go into production, the new model will be assembled at Renault’s factory in Dieppe, France. Annual production count is expected to range from 3,000 to 5,000 units while prices are rumoured to hover about the €30,000-35,000 (RM126,758-RM147,884) mark.

GALLERY: Renault Alpine Celebration concept