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Alpine goes electric with new A290 hot hatch

This new Renault 5-based performance car is taking aim at compact rivals like the upcoming MINI Cooper JCW Electric

Alpine’s modern-day resurrection kicked off with flying colours when the Alpine A110 sports car was first introduced to the world back in 2017. Time has moved fast since then, though, and now Renault’s performance arm is the latest brand to unveil its first fully-electric offering, the all-new Alpine A290. 

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If you think that this electric hot hatch looks familiar, you’d be right as it’s based heavily on the upcoming Renault 5. While it shares many of its underpinnings and its general appearance with the regular model, Alpine has worked its magic where it counts.

One particularly major difference is the removal of the standard 5’s electric motor, as this has been replaced with the larger unit that’s found in the Renault Megane E-Tech. This motor will be available with the choice of two power outputs; either 178bhp or 217bhp, and while these may not sound like particularly massive figures, the Alpine A290 only weighs 1,479kg.

The use of a single motor may come as a surprise to some, but Alpine has promised that the A290’s design will accommodate a second motor in future, should it decide to fit one. 

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Front-wheel drive and a low kerb weight is a more traditional recipe for a hot hatchback to follow, and it’s a similar story with the performance figures, too, where things are better described as fun rather than blistering. The 217bhp variant will accelerate from 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds.

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This is more than a souped-up Renault, though, as Alpine’s engineers have been let loose on the A290’s chassis. The suspension has been considerably reworked with touches like stiffened anti-roll bars, redesigned knuckles and hydraulic bump stops, that support a track that’s 60mm wider than the standard Renault 5’s.

There’s no mechanical differential here, but Alpine has developed special software which can keep wheelspin under control before the traction control system has to kick in. There are a number of drive modes to choose from, too, including a boost function which beefs up the throttle mapping.

Powering the Alpine A290 is a 52kWh battery with a claimed maximum range of 235 miles, and this is only 14 miles less than the same battery pack achieves in the regular Renault 5. The Alpine’s peak DC charging rate only stands at 100kW, but it can be topped up from 10% to 80% in around 30 minutes. There’s also a bi-directional charging and a Vehicle-to-Grid system installed.

There are some unique Alpine touches to be found on the inside, too. There’s plenty of blue highlighting to remind you of the A290’s non-Renault nature, while the centre console is a completely exclusive design that comes complete with gear selection buttons that are similar to those found in the Alpine A110.

Sales will kick off with an entry-level GT trim model that’s fitted with the 178bhp motor. Pricing is yet to be announced for UK buyers, but this model will cost the equivalent of roughly £32,345 in France. This price sets it firmly in the Abarth 500e and MINI Cooper SE’s crosshairs.

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Hello, I’m Shane and I’m the senior content editor both here at DrivingElectric and at our sister title Auto Express. Although I can trace my professional roots back to the radio and podcasting world, my passion (or borderline obsession) with cars saw me switch over to motoring journalism in 2021. From the very start I have been fortunate enough to try out the latest and greatest electric cars on the market, and I’m proud to help people like you make the right EV buying decisions.

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