Alpine signals future EV hot hatch with A290_β concept
The A290_β concept marks the start of the brand's reinvention as an all-electric performance marque
Renault’s performance sub-brand Alpine has previewed a future, all electric hot hatch dubbed the A290_β, which the firm says “rewrites the playbook for electric hot hatches”.
The concept car's name, pronounced A290 "beta", indicates a finalised production model will follow, looking likely to be 2024, and when it does will be based on the upcoming Renault 5 EV supermini.
As a result, the production version of the The A290_β will adopt the same CMF-B EV architecture from the French brand.
The A290_β show car and the Renault 5 share the same basic shape and outline, but the Alpine version has a sportier stance with wider track widths and chunkier bodywork.
The car features 20-inch bespoke Michelin tyres, a deep front bumper with X LED signature lights and a large rear spoiler. There are also extended side skirts and "rock-like forged carbon" wheel arches with a blue inlay.
The concept car's interior is far more conceptual than its exterior, starting with the McLaren F1-inspired three-seat layout. The driver's seat is centrally located, with two passenger seats placed behind it on either side. The carbon seats are bucket ones trimmed in Alcantara, and behind them is a roll cage which Alpine says has been approved for track use by French motorsport officials.
Above the driver can be found a control panel which provides access to indicators and light settings, while the F1-inspired steering wheel has a red ‘overtake’ button, which provides a 10-second power boost when pressed - a feature which Alpine says will arrive on all of its future electric models.
Less extreme performance can come from the Wet and Dry driving models, which alter cars aggression and responsiveness.
There are no infotainment screens apart from a small head-up display, though expect the production version to come fitted with a more conventional touchscreen system when it launches next year.
The car has two electric motors at the front, and the production version is expected to be available in two power levels: one with 214bhp (160kW) and one with around 268bhp (200kW). For better control, torque vectoring is also onboard to manage the torque being sent to each wheel.
The car's shock absorbers, suspension springs, and front and rear anti-roll bars meanwhile are said to have been optimised for a ‘playful’ yet ‘reassuring’ driving experience.
Full details of pricing and trim for the Alpine A290 remain undisclosed.
However, since the Renault 5, which serves as the basis for the A290 is expected to start from around £20,000, expect this more potent Alpine version to come in at £30,000 when it goes on sale next year.