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The new Alpine A290 hot hatch is just around the corner

Alpine’s Renault 5-based hatch will arrive this year – here’s our first look at the new EV in prototype form

Traditional hot hatchbacks are dying out, but according to Alpine, there’s plenty to look forward to as the market switches to electric. This is the Alpine A290 – an EV hot hatch based on the new Renault 5, and scheduled for launch in 2024.

We’ve already been up close with the A290_β, a concept car that’s supposedly 85 per cent representative of the production version, and this prototype provides a first glimpse at the new model out on the road. 

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> Alpine A290 prototype tested – first taste of the electric hot hatch

Some of the show car’s design cues have been carried across, including its wide-track bodywork, X-shaped headlight graphics and intricate alloy wheel design, but certain elements have been watered down. 

The A290_β’s heavily scooped bonnet has been smoothed out, so too the intricate front bumper and splitter design. Finally, where the concept had a pair of slim rear doors and a central driving position, the production car will have a more conventional five-door body and cabin layout.

The A290 is tasked with bringing some charisma and involvement to the EV driving experience. It’ll be reasonably compact at under four metres long with a sub-1500kg kerb weight, and Alpine will apply its sports car engineering know-how to give it a distinct feel to the Renault 5 (the two will share the same CMF-B EV platform). 

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A single electric motor will drive the front wheels – potentially the Megane E-Tech’s 217bhp unit – powered by an underfloor battery pack. This will form a stressed member of the chassis, and the A290 will use a multi-link rear suspension setup rather than a torsion beam for better dynamics. 

Like the standard A110, Alpine is designing the hot hatch to be usable day-to-day – this is categorically not a track car in the mould of a Renault Megane RS Speaking of which, the A290’s bespoke suspension tune will incorporate hydraulic bump stops; a token from the now-defunct Megane. 

The brakes, meanwhile, will be derived from the A110’s four-piston setup. Alpine has worked with Michelin to develop three unique tyre compounds for the car, including a Pilot Sport S5 option designed to deliver peak performance at the expense of efficiency.

A series of drive modes will be available to alter the A290’s character, along with a boost mode to draw maximum power from the motors for short bursts. The hot hatch won’t, however, try to emulate petrol models of old in its powertrain response and sound profile.  ‘What I feel and hear must be real,’ Alpine’s vice-president of Product Performance Sovany Ang told evo. ‘The defining sound quality will not be fake’. We’ll know more once the covers come off towards the middle of this year.

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