Almost half a century will have passed between the R5 Alpine – Volkswagen Golf GTI duel of 1976. So it’s time to get out the broom and clean up the memories! Those of my generation certainly remember this battle, which gave rise to the formidable clashes between the many sports bombs that raged during the 1980s and 1990s. The Peugeot 205 GTI (1984) is not the least well known.
However, it is not the Peugeot GTI that interests us today, but the future electric R5, or rather, its (very) sporty derivative: the Alpine A290. Going from the R5 of 2024 to the Alpine A290 is strangely reminiscent of the operation that consisted in transforming an ordinary R5 born in 1972 into a she-devil in 1976, thanks to its 96 bhp engine! When it first appeared on the scene, the R5 Alpine was a genuine sports car, and the only (almost) accessible French car for those with a taste for sporty driving… In 1976, it came up against an equally popular Volkswagen Golf, born two years earlier, which also had a wild version in 1976: the GTI with 110 bhp thanks to its fuel injection, which the French car didn’t have.
The duel was on! Almost half a century has gone by since I was 15 years old, picking up the rare R5 Alpine brochure from the Renault salesman’s Estafette, and the revelations in 2023 of the Alpine A290 and its future VW GTI rival. The scent of leaded fuel has long since disappeared, and the belligerents will be battling it out with Watts from 2025 onwards.
Strangely enough, we’re learning a lot about these two future bombshells, except in terms of powertrains. In the case of the Alpine, we can imagine it using the Mégane’s 220 bhp electric motor, combined with a battery capable of offering a range of 400 km. In the case of the German car, we should remember that it is derived from the ID2 All concept car, which (theoretically) offered 226 bhp and a range of 450 km.
The two future rivals would therefore offer the same technical specifications, the same size – just 4 metres long – and the same ambitions to provide fun behind the wheel of electric vehicles. The difference will undoubtedly be on the price side, because while the future and sensible VW ID2 will be sold for under €25,000, the R5 EV produced in France is likely to be in the region of €30,000.
The difference in price between their respective sporting derivatives will be even greater, because while the VW GTI will be aesthetically close to the VW ID2, the Alpine is deliberately very different from the R5 and has required greater investment than the future VW GTI. Nonetheless, it’s good to get back to this duel. like me to get back into this duel. I’m going to get back into the sport!