The New Alpine A290 All-Electric Hot Hatch Game-ifies Driving Fun

This little Alpine EV pocket rocket may pack only at most 215 hp, but also weights only 1,500 kg. 

Alpine has recently revealed a second car that is to join its lineup after the A110, and it is to be a tarted up version of Renault’s recently-revived 5 EV. Dubbed the A290, the big news with this little all-electric French hot hatch is for it to promise a large serving of fun. 

And the fun begins right from the outset with how the A290 looks, as it features a refreshingly smiley face, courtesy of a differently sculpted front bumper over its Renault 5 sibling. This Alpine also brings with it protruding plastic canards at its lower corners up front, in addition to auxiliary lights with an X motif that is reminiscent of the tape on rally cars from a bygone era.

Moving down the side meanwhile, Alpine has widened the track of its Renault base by 60 mm to give this A290 a much stockier stance than standard. The width of this A290 is then accentuated by a set of flared fenders on each corner that are barely able to contain its massive standard 19-inch alloys, whereas a pair of deeper side skirts in between it all aid in visually sticking this car lower to the ground.  

This Alpine also incidentally features creases in its profile that evokes the air intakes of the old mid-engined Renault 5 Turbo, while a black rear diffuser and subtle roof spoiler rounds off the A290’s rally-inspired look.

Turning to the topic of propulsion now, this Alpine nets a single motor mounted at the front and offers the hardware in two states of tune. The base and GT Premium trims make do with a reasonable 174 horsepower, whereas the GT Performance and GTS dials it up to 215 hp. 

With 300 Nm of instant torque and only a relatively lithe (for an EV at least) 1,479 kg to haul around though, this little French hot hatch has been touted by its maker to still execute the century sprint in a decently spritely 6.4 seconds. What is probably the even bigger claim to that regard however is for this A290 to feature Alpine Torque Technology (ATT) that maximises oomph without wheel spin or traction control spoiling one’s launch, with it also further promising no power loss even when this all-electric pocket rocket is low on battery.

Now said battery on board this A290 is to be a 52.0 kWh pack, for which Alpine reckons could travel 380 km on a full charge based on the WLTP test cycle. This little French hot hatch has also been touted to support DC charging at up to 100 kW, which equates to a 30 minute top up from 15 – 80%, or an extra 150 km of range on a 15 minute pit stop.  

Back to discussing the more fun stuff again with this little hot hatch, the A290 follows on from its Renault 5 base to feature a multi-link independent rear suspension setup (a rarity in this class of car). Alpine has also installed bespoke anti-roll bars at the front and rear, as well as bespoke hydraulic rally-style bump-stops to see for this pocket rocket to really fly round the bends. 

Just to ensure that the fun doesn’t get end prematurely in a hedge too, the A290 borrows its front Brembo brakes with four-piston red or blue calipers from the A110. Alpine has worked with Michelin to develop three model-specific tires for this hot hatch as well: Pilot Sport EV for the summer, Pilot Sport S5 for wet and dry roads, and Pilot Alpin 5 for cold weather as well as for wet, and snowy roads.

Four driving modes are also to be available with the A290: Save, Normal, Sport, and Perso (aka Individual in English).  To further enhance the auditory experience with this EV too, Alpine has collaborated with acousticians to create two bespoke driving sounds based on the “natural harmonics” of the electric motor.

Though where this EV hot hatch has really game-ified driving fun comes with the introduction of Alpine’s new Telemetrics programme. Set to make its debut in the A290, this software package comprises three main features: Live Data, Coaching and Challenges. 

Live Data displays information relating to the car’s agility, power, endurance and lap times, while Coaching has been developed to help drivers improve their skills by giving advice on braking and drifting. Most intriguing however is its video game-style Challenges mode that sets drivers a number of tasks to complete based on agility, power and endurance, with a new challenge unlocked every time one is achieved.

Finally finishing up on the interior here, the cabin of this A290 is spiced up somewhat from its standard Renault 5 sibling from the addition of body-hugging front seats and metallic pedals. There is also to be a flat-bottomed steering wheel, with a prominent red overtake button that liberates maximum torque and power for 10 seconds only use every 30 seconds.

Distinctly different to the Renault 5 within the A290 are the presence of dedicated set of D, N, and R buttons on its centre console too, alá A110. Alpine further touted more exciting graphics on the 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.1-inch touchscreen shared with its base car. 

The A290 is set to be priced from £36,000 (RM 215,000) when it goes on sale towards the end of the year in the UK, with the first deliveries due to take place in early 2025. As Renault is all but dead here however, the chances of this hot Alpine landing here are unfortunately slim to none. 

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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