Alpine is transitioning from a one-model line-up to a wider range of sporty models, one of which will be a new, retro-styled hot hatch.

    The Alpine A290 has been undergoing cold-weather testing while still wearing large amounts of camouflage. It’s set to debut in Europe during 2024.

    Despite the extensive disguise, there are some subtle details visible that separate the sportier Alpine from the Renault 5 it’s based on. However, the overall shape remains similar to the wild F1-inspired A290 concept.

    The front fascia of the A290 features aggressive intakes just before the front wheel arches which match the concept, although the concept’s spot lights with X-shaped daytime running lights are missing in action.

    In what could be a sign of cooling vents, the bonnet of the tester features multiple obscure-looking bulges.

    Other details that have been inherited from the concept version include the aggressive creasing in the tailgate, and the C-pillar mounted door handles.

    Pumped-up guards, a subtle roof spoiler and more pronounced side sills complete the look.

    Alpine hasn’t revealed what powers the A290, but we know the car will ride on the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance’s latest CMF-B EV (aka AmpR Small) platform.

    Previously, it’s been suggested the Alpine A290 could feature the front-mounted 160kW electric motor from the larger Nissan Ariya and Renault Megane E-Tech.

    However, recent reports have suggested the A290 could pack as much as 200kW of power, with Renault confirming that from 2027 the Cléon plant will produce a new 200kW electric motor, developed in partnership with Valeo and Valeo Siemens eAutomotive.

    As the A290 will share a platform with the Renault 5, it’s likely it will also share a battery pack.

    The Renault 5 will be offered with a choice of 40kWh and 52kWh batteries, with the latter offering up to 400km of range on the WLTP cycle.

    The company says the new batteries utilise four large modules rather than 12 smaller ones like previous EVs, is 15kg lighter and takes up “less space to transport more kWh”.

    Alpine has also reportedly engineered the platform to remain fun to drive, with design director Antony Villain telling Autocar “the main thing is agility”.

    “We know when we switched to EV, we have heavy batteries, but we want to find exactly the same driving philosophy: agility and pure pleasure,” he said.

    He also added the A290 uses the same four-piston brake calipers as the French manufacturer’s lightweight sports car, the A110.

    Alpine has also remained coy about the interior of the A290. The brand leaned hard on its Formula 1 connection with the concept, which features a central driving position among other Formula 1 inspired touches.

    Surprisingly, that three-seat cabin layout will make production.

    Annoyingly however, the frosted window of the spied prototype prevented a clear look at where the driver was sitting.

    While the A110 was discontinued locally in 2021 after stricter ADR85/00 side-impact regulations came into effect, spelling the end of the Alpine brand Down Under, Renault Australia says the marque will return.

    “In terms of the Alpine brand we are certainly in discussions with them but at the end of the day we would still be importing the A110 if the ADR didn’t kill it, it has been performing really well globally, up 33 percent year on year,” Renault Australia boss Glen Sealey told CarExpert early in 2023.

    “They are working on an all-new product plan and we are very excited by Alpine and think that will work really well in Australia and specially with the timings.”

    James Gelding
    James Gelding is a Contributor at CarExpert.
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