A curious, heavily modified Lotus Exige has been spotted lapping the Nürburgring, and, to hear our spy shooters tell it, the car is actually a disguised Renault Alpine A110-50 out chassis testing with Swedish suspension company Öhlins. It was spotted in the company of several key performance cars from Renault Sport, including the Megane RS and Clio. These spy photos confirm that Renault is serious about making the Alpine a production reality and suggests that it needed more than its alliance with Nissan to help foot the development bills.

Caterham became Renault's partner in this venture last year, and rumors have suggested that this Lotus-disguised Alpine will be mid-engined, with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine offering about 1.6 liters of displacement and making around 270 horsepower.

We have reported in the past that Renault, Infiniti and Lotus were developing a gas-electric hybrid together, and the Renault version could become the Alpine (with Lotus building the production versions of all three cars), but we don't truly know what the future holds for Renault's reborn performance division.

Got all that? Neither do we, so we're going to sit tight and see where the chips fall, but we'll be sure to let you know when that happens.

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