NEW Alpine A290 electric hot hatch gets bespoke Michelin tyres
Set to be launched in Europe from 2024, the A290 ushers in a new electric era for the French marque.
Sporting a design which echoes the squat and boxy shapes of 1980s hot hatches like the Renault 5 Turbo, Alpine's new pocket rocket is undeniably distinctive.
Currently in the Beta phase of development, the new A290 concept car showcases both the design language and technology of the upcoming road car - which is set to land on UK shores sometime next year.
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According to Alpine, the A290 is designed for a new generation of hot hatch enthusiasts and will be the first of three new models which prove that electric cars are just as suited to the racetrack as they are to everyday commuting.
In order to grab the attention of that younger demographic, Alpine’s design team have employed a host of bold features, including, an X-shaped headlight signature with spotlights inspired by rally cars, large air intakes, vertical LED taillights, and arguably most impactful of all: the optional tri-tone 20-inch wheels.
Those Tron-aping alloys are important for more than just their cosmetic appeal though. That’s because they are shod with specially developed tyres (courtesy of fellow French brand Michelin) which not only help to complete the retro aesthetic with white lettering on the sidewall, but also provide extraordinary levels of adhesion to the tarmac.
On the inside, things get even more space-age. An arrow shaped dashboard helps to emphasise the central driving position and convey a sense of speed, while the steering wheel draws inspiration from Alpine’s LMP2 car with its unusual shape and overtake boost button. Sadly though, the finished product is said to only share a passing resemblance to the extreme and alien atmosphere of the Beta concept’s interior.
As the brand’s first electric offering, the A290 provides Alpine with an opportunity to prove they can approach electric propulsion with the same fantastic philosophy towards driving dynamics as they have instilled in their critically acclaimed petrol cars.
To this end, Alpine have endeavored to create a car which is playful at lower speeds, but with rock-solid stability at higher speeds. One of the ways this has been achieved is through clever use of electronic torque vectoring, as well as a suite of different driving modes which can drastically change the car’s handling behavior depending on the selected setting.
In terms of outright performance, Alpine’s hot hatch will compete with rivals such as the Cupra Born and Abarth 500e. This means an output of over 200bhp and a sub 7 second 0-60 time. Pricing is also expected to be similar, at around £40,000.
Only time will tell if the electric A290 will appeal to a new audience of driving enthusiasts in the same way its petrol-powered forebears did, but if the car’s looks are anything to go by, then it is sure to be a hit.