We were waiting for it because it was announced in 2021. We suspected that it would be an extrapolation of the next 100% electric Renault 5 model, and yet this A290_ß seems even more legitimate than its grandmother R5 Alpine from 1976. It is true that the latter was a model of the Renault range, whereas the newcomer is part of a brand: Alpine.
It’s a bit like the DS line of Citroën that was emancipated and transformed into a brand… The A290 is legitimate since, by relying on the R5, it revives the memory of Jean Rédélé who used the 4CV’s mechanics for his first A106. I leave the debate open. The A290_ß is the name of this show car, 85% representative of what the Alpine A290 will be in 2024. To understand the name of this new battery-powered bomb, I recommend you read the previous post: http://lignesauto.fr/?p=28840
We probably don’t see enough of what’s going on within the Renault Group. The Alpine brand is currently based on the F1 car on the track side, and the A110 alone on the range side. By the end of this decade, this range will include five new models (A290, GT crossover segment C, future A110 and two crossovers segment D and E) and the brand will have participated in the 24 hours of Le Mans, in addition to F1.
Such a renaissance requires a new styling language for a preserved DNA. The Alpenglow concept car of 2022 (below) gave us some of the keys to the Alpine design of the future by paving the way. A path that is now being taken by the little Alpine A290_ß.
The manufacturer clearly explains that its A290_ß will be a sporty city car. Antony Villain, the brand’s design manager, confirms that “we have come to mix the codes of motor racing with those of urban culture. The A290_ß is therefore a multi-faceted vehicle, with its sporty-chic side and the appearance of a technological object, particularly on board.”
This car should therefore be considered a true Alpine with 100% of the brand’s DNA. It is much more than what Renault achieved in 1976 with the R5 Alpine. The first thing you notice, apart from the fact that it is derived from the electric R5, is the way it sits on the road with its wider tracks than the 2021 R5 Prototype and its 20 inch wheels.
At around 4m in length, the A290 has a sporty yet agile feel. According to Antony, the A290 will “reinvent electric driving in the city.” From the front, the light signature is different from that of the R5 EV. “We’ve come to put everything Alpine here,” says Antony Villain. The car has four headlights and the additional headlights are a nod to the design of the cross-shaped pieces of tape found on old rally cars. A nice touch.
At the back, it is no longer the rally that serves as inspiration but the track, and more precisely, F1. It was not easy to draw a bridge between the world of this sport and the urban sports car, but the designers did it. Thus the vertical lights integrated into a carbon blade are reminiscent of those of F1 cars or even those of endurance hypercars, integrated into the mast of the spoiler.
As for the rest, the multiple aerodynamic elements prove that this item will be refined on the production car to combine sportiness and autonomy. Surprisingly, the car is not blue. “It’s true that we like blue at Alpine,” confirms Antony Villain, “but here we played with white and black. Alpine has imported snow into its show car, reminding us that Alpine is also and above all about the mountains. This A290_ß is the Alps in town!”
The black is mineral in appearance, and there is forged carbon with blue inserts that contrast with the snow. Numerous triangular symbols are also present and evoke the mountain, but are interpreted here “as Street Art, a Tatoo on the car.”
These geometric and graphic codes can be found on board. While the exterior more or less represents the future style of the “real” A290, the interior is more exploratory. “It expresses the driving pleasure which is at the heart of our strategy. We wanted to put the driver at the centre and build the cabin around him. This is the philosophy behind the Alpenglow concept car. On board, you are installed a bit like in an F1 car.”
The chevron graphics focus on the driver. This theme is repeated in the dashboard, which extends on both sides to the mirrors, and the windscreen, which in contrast plunges into the bonnet. Seen from above, the Alpine A290_ß reveals two axes: a magenta-coloured line symbolising the fusion between the driver and the machine, and a transverse cyan-coloured line. This second axis evokes the passengers who become spectators of this driving experience.
From the passenger’s point of view, you have the chance to be both co-pilot and spectator. You see the driver’s actions and become a privileged participant. This architecture perfectly expresses the concern for driving pleasure that Alpine wanted. A small effect that will create a buzz, some parts of the cabin and the steering wheel are covered with a surprisingly luminescent material.
The steering wheel. It is at the heart of the driving experience and largely inspired by racing, with several elements that will be found in series in the future. Firstly, the OV button, which stands for ‘Over Take’. Antony Villain tells us that “this blue button is a boost that will allow you to have an instantaneous surplus of power and it will be used on our production cars.”
Finally, in the absence of a detailed technical data sheet at the time of writing, you should know that the show car is not based on the platform of the future A290, but it does run, and even runs well since it will be used for hot shows. With the future A290, the manufacturer will offer the Alpine universe to new customers from next year. Sporty and… urban!
A NOD TO F1
FACING THE RENAULT 5 ELECTRIC PROTOTYPE
The 100% electric Renault 5 Prototype will inaugurate the new CMF B-EV platform. The Alpine will benefit from this with more power and adapted running gear. In terms of design, the Alpine will necessarily be derived from the Renault. With some significant differences.
FACING THE RENAULT 5 TURBO (1978)
Presented in 1978 on the Renault stand at the Paris Motor Show, the R5 Turbo (here the study model) was marketed from 1980. The Alpine is largely inspired by it, apart from its mechanical architecture.
This A290_ß is 85% of the styling of the A290 which will go on sale in 2024. It is the first vehicle in the dream garage and will be followed by the GT crossover (compact segment) in 2025 and the A110 replacement in collaboration with Lotus in 2026.
All three cars are exclusively electric.