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New Alpine A290 hot hatch is inspired by video games

Alpine has revealed its first electric car: a hot hatch based on the upcoming Renault 5 EV

The electric hot hatch segment is truly heating up and Alpine is fanning the flames with the reveal of its latest concept car. The Alpine A290 is set to become a production EV by the end of 2025. 

The new model, based on the upcoming electric Renault 5, will be Alpine’s first EV, sitting alongside the A110 sports car in the French performance brand’s slowly expanding lineup.

For now, however, the plug-in hot hatch remains a concept car, dubbed the Alpine A290_β (or ‘Beta’). The latter term is one often used to describe a video game or piece of software that’s in a developmental state – something that Alpine openly admits to being the case with the A290. 

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A quirky name isn’t the only gaming reference Alpine has made on its newest car, however. You may be wondering why an electric car such as the A290 has what appear to be exhaust pipes at the rear; Alpine’s design director, Antony Villain, told Driving Electric that these were “actually inspired by the air-vent extraction fans on a gaming computer and [are] a little in-joke with [their] CEO”.

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Even if you can’t tell your Nintendos from your Playstations, you’ll easily be able to identify the similarities between the Alpine A290 and its Renault 5 sibling; both share a similar boxy shape and retro-futuristic details, the newcomer also gets Alpine’s signature rally-style quad headlights, as well as a larger boot spoiler to showcase its performance credentials.

As is usually the case with concept cars, Alpine is expected to tone down several elements of the A290_β’s design for the production version. The finalised car will undoubtedly have smaller wheels and larger wing mirrors than the concept, while the ‘X’ insignia on the front headlights will most likely be integrated into a more traditional-looking set of LED front lamps.

The Beta concept also features a pretty stripped-back interior for what Alpine describes as a “homage to racing”. While the production car won’t be quite as minimalist, you can bet the Alpine hot hatch will still get figure-hugging sports seats, lots of racy trim and a low seating position.

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Both the A290 and Renault 5 will sit on Renault’s bespoke CMF-B EV underpinnings. The Beta concept utilises a dual-electric motor setup on the front axle, although the production model will instead just get a more powerful version of the 5’s single-motor setup.

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The A290_β comes with three driving modes: Wet, Dry and Full, successively offering a greater level of performance and aggression in the car’s setup. There’s also a red ‘OV’ button on the steering wheel which offers a sharp boost in power for quick overtakes. While the production car won’t quite get the same jet-fighter-style steering wheel as the Beta concept, we expect most of these features to carry over.

There’s plenty of performance tech taken from Alpine’s sports car, too; the suspension setup is almost directly pulled from the A110, while the A290’s four-piston Brembo brakes can also be found on its sports car sibling. All of this hints at the Alpine hot hatch being one of the most driver-focused EVs coming in the next few years.

The Alpine A290 is one of two new electric Alpine models on the way, the other being the GT X-Over coupe-SUV. Perhaps the A290’s most direct rival will be the Abarth 500e, which recently went on sale in the UK. Given Alpine’s premium positioning, we can expect the A290 to be quite a bit more expensive than the souped-up Fiat 500, but from the looks of things, it has the possibility of offering much greater performance.

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Hello there, I’m Tom Jervis and I have the pleasure of being the Content Editor here at DrivingElectric. Before joining the team in 2023, I spent my time reviewing cars and offering car buying tips and advice on DrivingElectric’s sister site, Carbuyer. I also continue to occasionally contribute to the AutoExpress magazine – another of DrivingElectric’s partner brands. In a past life, I worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcast assistant for regional services in the east of England – constantly trying to find stories that related to cars!

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