The Alpine A290 is the hot hatch EV we’ve been waiting for

Is this warmed-up Renault 5 enough to prove electric cars can be fun?

Alpine A290
(Image credit: Alpine)

Alpine has revealed the A290, an electric hot hatchback positioned as a sporty alternative to the Renault 5, on which it is based.

In flagship form, the A290 has a claimed range of 236 miles, a 0-62 mph time of 6.4 seconds and an expected price tag of around £40,000.

Alpine has revealed the A290, a hot hatchback electric car based on the Renault 5.

Shown off ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend, the French carmaker says the A290 will usher in a new era of electric sports cars, and will be joined by two more sporty EVs soon.

The pumped-up hatchback is 60 mm wider than the Renault 5, thanks to bulging wheel arches housing 19-inch alloys and a stance that Alpine says will appeal to fans of style and performance alike.

Despite the chunky looks, this is still a relatively compact five-door car. It measures 3,990 mm long, 1,820 mm wide and is 1,520 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,530 mm.

Antony Villain, vice president of Alpine Design, said how the EV was inspired by Alpine’s A110 internal-combustion sports car. “We conceived the A290 as an ultra-compact variation of the A110, in the purest style of small sports cars or hot hatches. A small Alpine with a character that, at first glance, expresses its potential for driving pleasure to appeal to styling fans and performance enthusiasts alike.”

Alpine A290

(Image credit: Alpine)

The Alpine A290 is powered by a 52 kWh battery pack, as also used by the Renault 5, and has a claimed range of up to 236 miles. There are two power outputs on offer, with the lesser GT and GT Premium variants producing 178 bhp, while the quicker GT Performance and flagship GTS models use a 215 bhp motor with 221 lb ft of torque.

Alpine says the latter can sprint to 62 mph in 6.4 seconds, while a maximum charge rate of 100 kW for all variants should see the battery fill from 15 to 80 percent in about 30 minutes. Of more importance will be the car’s handling. Alpine says it has worked to keep the A290’s weight low – and at 1,479 kg, it isn’t as portly as we might have expected from an EV – while the car also gets bespoke suspension and tyres to set it apart from the Renault 5.

Alpine A290

(Image credit: Alpine)

The Brembo brakes are also new, with Alpine tweaking the pedal mapping to supposedly make it feel like that of the Alpine A110 sports car. Suggesting the car likes a bit of old-fashioned, lift-off oversteer, the French company said: “The aim is for the driver to feel at ease with the car and for it to be fun for everyone to drive…The rear axle is sufficiently mobile when lifting off the accelerator on winding stretches of road”.

Inside, the five seater has a pair of digital displays behind a sporty, flat-bottomed steering wheel and, mercifully, physical controls for the air conditioning, which Alpine says “can be adjusted without taking your eyes off the road.” The driver display measures 10.1 inches, while the infotainment touchscreen, which runs Android Automotive natively but also has support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, is slightly larger, at 10.25 inches.

Alpine A290

(Image credit: Alpine)

Alpine has steered away from creating an all-new soundtrack for the A290, but says there are two choices of augmented audio for drivers to pick from. Called Alpine Drive Sound, the system offers tones with different frequencies and intensities based on the sounds generated by the motor, Alpine said. One sound is a “light, sporty tone designed for everyday use,” the company says, while the other “is intentionally very sporty”.

That soundtrack is pumped into the cabin through a nine-speaker, 615-watt Devialet sound system.

Expected to be priced from around £35,000, to £40,000, the Alpine A290 is due out later this year.

Alistair Charlton

Alistair is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. He has bylines on esteemed sites such as the BBC, Forbes, TechRadar, and of best of all, T3, where he covers topics ranging from classic cars and men's lifestyle, to smart home technology, phones, electric cars, autonomy, Swiss watches, and much more besides. He is an experienced journalist, writing news, features, interviews and product reviews. If that didn't make him busy enough, he is also the co-host of the AutoChat podcast.