Renault’s Alpine Reveals Radical New Electric Hot Hatch Concept

  • Alpine is developing a new range of electric cars and the A290β concept is the first out of the gates
  • The A290β is a 3-seater, with a centrally-positioned driver’s seat and a Formula 1-inspired steering wheel
  • Word has it that the compact A290β will borrow the 215 hp EV powertrain from the Nissan Ariya SUV

If more carmakers could design electric vehicles (EVs) that look as stunning as the radical new Alpine A290β hot hatch concept, then perhaps thousands more people would be tempted to make the big switch from ICE to EV a lot earlier.

Due in showrooms in 2024, the A290β (pronounced A290 beta) production version—probably just called the ‘A290,’—is almost certain to debut with bodywork very close to the concept you see here. Come 2024, expect more conventional door mirrors and some slightly different exterior detail treatment, while the overall silhouette and stance, front end and light assemblies should all remain on the road-going version. 

The show car might be based on a one-off platform similar to that of the Renault R5 Turbo 3E concept unveiled last year, the Alpine production version will be based on sister firm Renault’s CMF-B EV architecture, which the A290 will share with the future Renault 5 all-electric hatch. In fact, the A290 looks a lot like a reinterpreted version of the original limited edition Renault 5 Turbo from 40 years ago, but powered by batteries—for the 21st century.

Alpine has been developing a new range of pure-electric cars, and a hot hatchback based off the forthcoming reborn Renault 5 is part of that mix. The firm has already confirmed there will be a crossover SUV joining the lineup, as well as an electric replacement for the highly-acclaimed A110.

Alpine is remaining tight-lipped about the car’s powertrain and specs but we can predict some details. According to one source, the A290 is likely to employ tweaked motors from the Megane E-Tech and Nissan Ariya SUV. Renault VP for engineering, Gilles Le Borgne, went on record last year by saying, “To build in the performance, I can put in the 215 hp motor from the CMF-EV platform [which underpins the Megane E-Tech and Nissan Ariya].” So that hatch will definitely have some poke.

The new Alpine will get a centrally-positioned driver’s seat.

However, the A290β teases some potential performance upgrades beyond simply more potent motors than the R5. Alpine says the show car features revised suspension and beefier brakes with A110-style four-piston Brembo calipers, and three drive modes: Wet, Dry, and Full.

While the exterior is meant to be almost what the production car will look like, designers went to town with the cockpit. The A290β is a three-seater, with a centrally-positioned driver’s seat and a Formula 1-inspired steering wheel. It’s clean and minimalist inside, with the bulk of its controls located on the steering wheel, with machined metal light bars accenting the sharp angles on the dashboard.

OUR THOUGHTS

This A290β would have to be one of the best-looking EVs we’ve ever seen. Let’s just hope that the production version stays true to its concept car, or as close as possible. And inside, it’s even more radical with a McLaren F1-style central driver’s seat and minimalist appointments. The 250-hp 1.8-liter turbocharged Alpine A110 coupe was the best new car I test drove in 2018, and I have a feeling that this new Alpine EV will carry on that trend.

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