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The New Alpine A290 Hot Hatch Wants to Make EVs Fun to Drive

Alpine won’t be coming to the United States until 2026. In the meantime, Europeans are in for a treat. The new A290 competes in a rarified segment of electric hot hatchbacks, joining the likes of the Abarth 500e, Volkswagen ID.3 GTX, Cupra Born VZ, and the lesser-known MG4 XPower. Essentially a high-performance version of the reborn Renault 5, Alpine’s first EV aims to make electric cars more fun to drive.

The new Renault 5 already looks great but the Alpine version adds a bit of aggression to the stylish city car. It features the French brand’s signature quad light theme with an “X” motif, reminiscent of old rally cars. Historically, tape was used to protect the lights in case of an accident. It helped keep the shattered glass pieces together, preventing them from scattering on the road.

Compared to the resurrected R5, the more athletic derivative is nearly two inches wider and has larger 19-inch wheels as standard. This is still a diminutive EV, at just 157.0 inches long, 71.6 inches wide, and 59.8 inches tall. It’s slightly longer and lower than the donor car while having a 2.3-inch wider track. For an electric car, it’s relatively lightweight, tipping the scales at 3,260 pounds.

Much like the Abarth 500e, the new Alpine A290 is a front-wheel-drive affair. The other electric hot hatches we mentioned earlier send power to either the rear wheels or to both axles. Alpine sticks to a single motor mounted at the front and offers the hardware in two states of tune. The base and GT Premium trims make do with 174 horsepower. Step up to the GT Performance or the GTS and the e-motor is dialed to 215 hp. With 221 pound-feet of instant torque, the feisty EV hits 62 mph in 6.4 seconds.

Echoing the regular Renault 5, the A290 has a multi-link independent rear suspension, which is quite rare in this segment. Alpine tries to make the car more agile by mounting bespoke anti-roll bars at the front and rear. The niche brand worked with Michelin to develop three model-specific tires: Pilot Sport EV for the summer, Pilot Sport S5 for wet and dry roads, and Pilot Alpin 5 for cold weather as well as for wet, and snowy roads.

Consistent performance is touted, without any power loss even if you’re running low on battery. The Alpine A290 will be sold exclusively with a 52.0-kilowatt-hour pack offering enough juice for an estimated 236 miles of range. With support for DC charging at 100 kilowatts, it takes half an hour to “fill up” the battery from 15 to 80 percent. If you’re in a hurry, spending 15 minutes at a charging station will be enough for about 93 miles of range.

Stopping power is supplied by front Brembo brakes with four-piston red or blue calipers borrowed from the A110, the company’s mid-engine sports car. Alpine gifts the A290 four driving modes: Save, Normal, Sport, and Perso. While the first three are self-explanatory, the latter is an individual mode allowing drivers to choose their preferred settings. You can tweak the throttle response, steering assistance, the fake engine noise, and the ambient lighting. The Alpine Driving Sound is not artificial engine noise per se, but rather the high-frequency sounds of the electric motor.

As with the exterior, Alpine has made the effort to spice up the cabin compared to the Renault 5. Aside from the body-hugging front seats, the A290 has a flat-bottomed steering wheel and a red button behind the right side of the steering wheel. That OV (“Overtake”) button enables maximum performance. On the left side, the blue RCH (“Recharge”) rotary knob lets you choose the desired recuperation level.

For a sportier ambiance, Alpine installs D, N, and R buttons on the center console. You won’t find them on the Renault model, which also lacks the metallic pedals and footrest. The 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.1-inch touchscreen are shared between the two models, but the A290 uses more exciting graphics.

Alpine isn’t disclosing pricing details. We reckon it commands a significant premium over the standard Renault 5, which starts at €33,490 ($36,200) at home in France. The A290 sadly won’t come to the United States in 2026 when the brand launches here. Instead, we’re getting an electric replacement of the A110 coupe, with a convertible to boot. An SUV will follow in 2027, joined by a swoopy sedan a year later.

#Alpine #A290 #Hot #Hatch #EVs #Fun #Drive

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