Porsche 914. Toyota MR2. Pontiac Fiero. These are very different brands, and they all make (or made, in the case of Pontiac) very different cars. The cars I mentioned were made in very different eras. However, these have the same concept: They’re all Midengined, affordable sportscars. The advantages to a midengined layout include the brilliant handling, the fact the engine is right behind you, and many more. However, the Affordable Midengined car died with the demise of the Toyota MR2 in 2007. The closest thing we’ve had now is the Porsche 718 Cayman, which starts at $53 900, or the JDM (yo!) Honda S660, which is 1 980 000 Yen. However, for the common man, the Porsche is out of reach with all the options you need to put on, and unless you’re Japanese, you won’t be seeing the Honda S660 anytime soon.
However, we might just see the return of this ultra-rare species. And better yet, we ‘Muricans might get them. Enter the Alpine A120 and the Hyundai RM16.
Now, to many of you, these might sound unusual. Some of you might be saying “What’s an Alpine? Is it a commie car?”. And I don’t blame you, seeing as how Alpine died in 1995. And Hyundai, have a reputation for building cheap crapboxes. So, I’lll tell you about these cars.
First, let’s talk about the Alpine. Cos nobody likes Hyundai, right? (Just kidding)
Alpine was a French manufacturer of sportscars that used rear-mounted Renault engines. Their first cars were heavily modified Renault 4CVs. Alpine are most famous for the legendary A110, which achieved a 1-2-3 win at the 1971 Monte Carlo rally. From there however, their story was much less successful. Due to the International Petrol crisis in 1973, which had an enormous impact on all specialist car Marques, Alpine had to be bailed out by Renault. After this, they started to go downhill, with few sales, possibly due to the fact it was sold at Renault dealers. The company died in 1995.
However, in 2015, Renault revived the brand with the Alpine Vision concept. It’s set for production in late 2017. The Alpine Vision is quite good looking too! With a Turbo 4-pot putting out around 300BHP, and weighing…well, quite little (no official figures given at time of writing), it’ll put the 718 Cayman to shame.
Now let’s talk about the Hyundai. The Hyundai may not reach production, so don’t hold your breath on this one. Now, some of you may know that Hyundai have been building mid-engined Velosters for a few years now. However, this one May, just MAY reach production. In October 2016, it was seen testing on the Nurburgring. The RM16 is quite unusual in that it is a Hatchback! This is a much more rare breed, made in the spirit of the Renault 5 Turbo.
Not too much is known about the Hyundai.
But even if we only see the Alpine, it’ll mean that a great breed of car will once again rise.