Renault is back in the hot hatch game after launching the electric Alpine A290 overnight.

    First seen in concept form over a year ago, the A290 is based on the upcoming Renault 5 electric vehicle (EV), and serves as the first entry in the French manufacturers new ‘dream garage’.

    In keeping with the performance focus of the brand, the Alpine A290 receives plenty of sporty upgrades over the revived Renault 5.

    Powering the first of seven planned Alpine EVs is a single front-mounted electric motor, producing 132kW in base and GT Premium specification, and 162kW in the GT Performance and GTS.

    Alpine claims the 162kW models will complete the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.4 seconds when launch control is active, which is a few tenths quicker than the Renault Clio RS which disappeared from Australia in 2018.

    GT and GT Premium models accelerate to 100km/h in 7.4s.

    The Alpine A290 comes standard with a 52kWh battery, giving it a WTLP range of approximately 380km.

    Top trim models put power to the ground through Michelin Pilot Sport 5 tyres.

    The new A290 is about 300kg more than its petrol-powered predecessor, weighing in at 1497kg.

    A 100 kW DC fast-charging system enables it to be charged from 15 to 80 per cent in 30 minutes, or recover up to 150km of WLTP driving range in 15 minutes. When AC charging the A290 takes 3 hours and 20 minutes to recover from 10 to 80 per cent charge.

    Alpine promises more than straight-line performance with its latest creation, with several key mechanical and technological upgrades over the Renault 5.

    Key structural features include a bespoke engine subframe, extensive use of aluminium, multi-link rear suspension with hydraulic bump stops, and bespoke anti-roll bars.

    The A290 features brake-by-wire with multiple regenerative braking modes, and stopping power is provided by four-piston Brembo brake calipers.

    On the tech side of the equation, Alpine claims the A290 takes inspiration from both motorsport and video games.

    Four different driving modes are selectable: Save, Normal, Sport and Personal.

    Personal mode lets the driver adjust the level of steering assistance, throttle response, lighting ambience and the synthetic driving sound played through the sound system.

    Two artificial soundtracks are on offer – Alternative Sound, which is described as “a light, sporty tone designed for everyday use,” and Alpine Sound, “a unique sound pattern designed to provide immersion”.

    Alpine also took inspiration from its Formula One program by including a ‘push to pass’ style overtake button on the steering wheel, which unlocks extra power for up to 10 seconds. The system requires 30 seconds to recharge between uses.

    That’s not the only motorsport-inspired feature. The A290 offers ‘coaching’ and ‘challenges’ applications for keen steerers to improve their driving (it’ll even teach you how to drift), and the infotainment system houses performance data logging for G-forces, lap times, temperatures, and pressures.

    Compared to its Renault 5 sibling, the A290 has been given a serious exterior makeover.

    It’s wider, longer and taller than the Renault, with new bumpers, wider wheel arches, a rear spoiler and reworked headlights with an extra set of driving lights.

    The interior of the A290 has also been given the Alpine treatment.

    The steering wheel has a flat-bottom and comes trimmed in Nappa leather, while sports seats and aluminium pedals also hint to the performance credentials of the car.

    Back in 2023 the concept car was revealed with a McLaren F1-style central seating position, although that has been ditched for the production version.

    In the flagship GT Premium and GTS versions, the seats, dashboard, and door panels are upholstered in Deep Blue and Eevee Grey Nappa leather.

    Two screens angle towards the driver – a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment screen and a 10.25-inch instrument display.

    Cabin audio is provided by a unique nine-speaker, 615-watt Devialet sound system.

    European deliveries of the A290 are expected to begin later this year, with pricing to top the Renault 5.

    Alpine was forced to pull the A110 sports car from the Australian market in 2021 due to safety regulations, but local Renault representatives have previously told CarExpert that they intend for the brand to return.

    MORE: Everything Alpine

    Josh Nevett

    Josh Nevett is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Josh studied journalism at The University of Melbourne and has a passion for performance cars, especially those of the 2000s. Away from the office you will either find him on the cricket field or at the MCG cheering on his beloved Melbourne Demons.

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