Alpine A290 hot hatch performance and specification announced

The Alpine A290 has been revealed in production-ready form for the first time, promising to revive the hot hatch segment in the EV era.

The sporty sister car to the Renault 5 has been given a significant cosmetic update and chassis upgrade as well as more power to compete with the likes of the Mini Cooper SE.

The A290 is based on Renault’s AmpR Small platform and, at just under 4m long, is the same length as the 5. However its track has been widened by 6cm and plenty of Alpine-specific elements added to the body.

At the front four headlights carry on the traditional Alpine configuration, with internal X-shaped motifs that are supposed to evoke memories of Alpine rally cars. There are flared and black-laquered wheel arches to accommodate the wider track and give a more aggressive stance, which tie in with deeper side skirts, a front splitter and pronounced rear diffuser. What there isn’t is a massive spoiler. Alpine says such showy nonsense would actually harm the car’s aerodynamics so it has instead opted for a more subtle ducktail high on the tailgate.

Under the skin, the Alpine ditches the Renault 5’s motor choices in favour of a bigger unit from the Megane E-Tech, which sits in a new purpose-built subframe. The two lower grades of the A290 get a detuned 178bhp version, while GT Performance and GTS get 217bhp and 221lb ft, in line with higher-powered versions of the Mini.

Using launch control and the boost button to unlock all the power and torque, that gives the 1,479kg A290 a 0-62mph time of 6.4 seconds – 0.3 seconds quicker than the heavier Mini.

Alpine says the A290 has been set up to be fun to drive rather than simply quick off the mark. The multilink rear suspension has been tuned specifically for this model and front and rear anti-roll bars are bespoke for the A290 in an effort to create a blend of agility and stability. A lot of effort has also been put into ensuring the by-wire brake pedal gives a seamless transition between the four-stage regenerative braking and the 288mm Brembo friction brakes.

To emphasise the commitment to fun, Alpine adds that “the rear axle is sufficiently mobile when lifting off the accelerator on winding stretches of road while remaining controllable”. What’s more, the car features an on-board ‘coaching’ system that will teach you about braking technique, trajectory control and even controlling lift-off oversteer.

Carried over from the 5 is a 52kWh battery which should give a range of up to 236 miles and charge from 15-80% in 30 minutes thanks to 100kW DC charging.

Alpine A290 interior

The interior design reflects the hot hatch position of the A290 with bespoke sports seats, sports pedals and a flat-bottomed steering wheel featuring aluminium buttons and an F1-inspired rotary dial for adjusting brake regeneration.

Shared with the Renault 5 are a 10.25-inch digital instrument display with unique triangular graphics and a 10.1-inch central touchscreen which is angled towards the driver and uses the latest Android Automotive OS.

The A290 will come in four trim levels – GT, GT Premium, GT Performance and GTS — with the more powerful motor offered in the top two specs. All cars get 19-inch alloys, full LED headlights, adaptive cruise control and a reversing camera, with GT Premium adding comfort-focused features such as Nappa leather and a premium sound system. Performance models get special Michelin Pilot Sport 5 tyres, red brake callipers,  electrically folding door mirrors, and Alpine Telemetrics data tools, while GTS blends Premium and Performance specs along with bespoke styling such as a snowflake-inspired wheel design.

UK pricing will be announced closer to the car’s launch but the A290 is expected to start at around £36,000.

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Matt Allan

Matt is Editor of EV Powered. He has worked in journalism for more than 20 years and been an automotive journalist for the last decade, covering every aspect of the industry, from new model reveals and reviews to consumer and driving advice. The former motoring editor of, The Scotsman and National World, Matt has watched the EV landscape transform beyond recognition over the last 10 years and developed a passion for electric vehicles and what they mean for the future of transport - from the smallest city cars to the biggest battery-powered trucks. When he’s not driving or writing about electric cars, he’s figuring out how to convert his classic VW camper to electric power.