Alpine A290: electric pocket rocket

During an exclusive preview in the heart of Paris, some journalists present even suggested that the A290 was above all a tuned Renault 5. A remark which somewhat offended those responsible for the brand with the A arrow. After all, the A290 was also built around the brand’s three pillars – performance, agility and lightness – so how could the small car not be an Alpine?

You know us, we weren’t content with just nice words and wanted to know more about the genesis of this model and the technical underside covered by this pretty bodywork.

Frame

The AmpR Small platform was taken as is from the Renault 5, a chassis which anyway has an excellent weight distribution of 57/43. The tracks have been widened by 6 cm, mainly to accommodate the wider Michelin tires. A modification which should provide more stability. The thicker anti-roll bars and dedicated aluminum subframe should also be seen from the same angle. Adjustments which make the structure not only more rigid but also lighter than that of the Renault 5.

Hydraulic stops

The reduction in unsprung masses further reduced body roll, meaning the struts did not need to be tightened unnecessarily. Even better since with its struts with hydraulic stops, taken from the A110, we could even talk about comfort.

Oversteer

The icing on the cake, this traction does not hesitate to indulge in the joys of (reasonable) oversteer. Normal for a car whose primary purpose is to make its driver/driver smile at every turn taken. Whether it’s placing the front as close as possible to the apex or widening the trajectory of the rear for fun.

The engine of the Mégane

Since the A290 can ride better, it needs an engine that can make it dance. The engine of the 5 is not enough, so Alpine borrowed the externally excited synchronous motor of the Mégane. As a reminder, Renault’s electrical modules do without rare earths and therefore permanent magnets.

It exists in two versions, 180 and 220 hp. The torque is still 300 Nm. Figures which are not astonishing – 0 to 100 km/h in 6.4 s will not leave your eyes bulging – but the French nevertheless promise fireworks. Indeed, the A290 weighs “only” 1479 kg empty, but the engine management is set in such a way that even with an almost empty battery, the performance remains (almost) the same.

F1 steering wheel

The red OV button, located on the right hub, makes it clear that it’s more about fun than pure performance. This override function allows you to benefit from full power for 10 seconds. This same steering wheel, incidentally, also features the RCH (Recharge) dial (which controls brake regeneration) and the Mode button (which toggles between Save, Normal, Sport and Personal), which gives the hoop a little F1 air. And it’s no coincidence if we think of the Alpine F1 Team.

Battery

In the center is the same powerful 52 kWh battery that is also found between the wheels of the Renault 5 (the 40 kWh pack is not retained). Cells which, as for the Renault, can be charged at up to 100 kW on a fast DC terminal. On alternating current, you can recharge at a maximum of 11 kW.

Design

The design of the Renault 5 remains clearly recognizable – apparently because the AmpR platform required it – which is more or less the case for the dimensions of the A290 (3.99 m in length, 1.82 m in width). width, 1.52 m height). To stand out a little more, the A290 receives a good dose of additional plastic. Side skirts, larger air intakes, a diffuser and a spoiler at the top of the tailgate, to name only the most important ones. Nice, but the stock version with these additions can’t match the sex appeal of the concept A290_β.

Don’t expect these additions to be functional either. They do not generate additional aerodynamic downforce and are purely aesthetic. However, the element that attracts the most attention remains the four headlights. A characteristic styling element which will also be used on the six other Alpines currently in development. Each model will be assigned its own signature. For the A290, this is the cross shape which is supposed to connect it to the world of rallying.

Interior

Of course, Alpine also leaves its mark on the interior. For example, with automatic controls of theAlpine A110 which adorn the center console or the already mentioned steering wheel. For the rest, the dashboard is quite close to that of the Renault 5, even if the 10.25-inch counter and the 10.1-inch touch screen are obviously accompanied by specific styling elements or additions. sportsmen.

On the screen behind the steering wheel, the triangles displaying driving information will be particularly visible. Scrolling through the infotainment (which now runs Android Automotive) you’ll probably quickly come across Alpine Telemetrics where, in addition to the usual driving data, you’ll find a real digital coach to help you fully master your A290. Then, thanks to the Challenges that the system offers you, you can check where you stand.

Interior space

This little Alpine is and will always remain a city car. Even if the French delicately note that with five doors and a 326 l trunk, the A290 is much more practical than the new Mini. In case you don’t yet know who this Alpine’s target is….

More luxurious than the Renault 5

Depending on the trim level chosen – GT, GT Premium, GT Performance or GTS – you will also benefit from more luxurious materials (nappa leather, Alcantara, etc.) and more high-end equipment (with a Devialet audio system, for example). example). Which is not bad if we consider the higher prices charged by Alpine for these vehicles.

-

-

NEXT To lower electricity prices, the next government will have to change the rules