Alpine A290 pays tribute to Renault’s hot hatch past with sporty take on the new electric Renault 5

David Roy explores what this new ‘super cinc’ has to offer

The Alpine A290
The Alpine A290 is the hot hatch version of the new electric Renault 5

THOSE of us waiting impatiently for the arrival of the revived Renault 5 in all-electric form have just had our appetites whetted even further by the public debut of its ‘hot hatch’ version, the Alpine A290.

First glimpsed in concept form last year, essentially this is the new R5 hopped-up on Alpine-badged automotive steroids, Renault’s retro-futuristic R5 design now enhanced by a larger front air intake, 19-inch sports alloys with larger Brembo brakes (carried over from the A110), quad LED headlights, flared wings with bulging arches, sporty side-skirts, a subtle ducktail rear spoiler and custom rear diffuser.

The styling is deliberately reminiscent of the classic R5 GT Turbo of the 1980s more than the original R5 Alpine and Alpine Turbo which had more of a ‘sleeper’ look about them. There’s even a couple of extra indents in the bodywork just in front of the rear wheels, which mimic the air intakes of the original mid-engined R5 Turbo.

However, the Alpine A290 is very much being positioned as springboard to the future for Renault’s motorsports division.

“Our Alpine A290 is the first model of a new electric generation,” explains, Philippe Krief, Alpine CEO.

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Alpine A290 rear view
Alpine A290 rear view

“This urban sportscar marks the introduction of Alpine to a broader public and resurrects a forgotten category, the hot hatch, so much loved for the driving pleasure it delivers.”

The car will be available in four flavours, with a choice of two different power plants: GT and GTS trims will come with a motor rated at 180bhp, generating 210lb ft of torque, while GT Premium and GT Performance cars get a beefier 220bhp unit making 221lb ft of torque that’s capable of taking them from 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds en route to a top speed of 106mph – one second quicker and 7mph faster than the lower-spec cars.

Alpine A290 charging port
Alpine A290 charging port

The A290 also gets a bespoke engine subframe and Alpine-tuned suspension, plus the same multi-link rear suspension set-up as the standard R5, which leaves the door open for a ‘monster’ twin-electric motor powered AWD version at some point in the future.

As it stands, the single motor cars are powered by a 52kWh battery with a claimed range of 236 miles per single charge and equipped with 100kW DC fast charging.

Just like the new R5, the A290 is a five-door only model, and it retains the R5′s class-leading 326-litre boot beneath its rear hatchback.

Alpine A290 interior
Alpine A290 interior

There’s a sporty interior to match the car’s exterior looks, with an F1-flavoured sports steering wheel, rally-style pedals and heated, figure-hugging sports seats all standard from GT trim upwards. Adaptive cruise control is also a standard feature even on the entry-level model, with in-car infotainment accessed via a 10.1-inch central touchscreen.

As for the other driver controls, there’s a cool ‘overboost’ lever mounted on the steering column which offers an instant injection of extra power for up to 10 seconds that will be ideal for motorway manoeuvres, and Renault/Alpine have clearly learned a lesson from Volkswagen’s misadventures: the Alpine A290 (and thus, presumably, the new R5) comes with proper physical buttons for its climate control functions.

Alpine A290 side profile
Alpine A290 side profile

The GT Premium trim adds a blacked-out roof treatment and tinted rear glass, plus Alpine-blue brake callipers and a premium sound system by Devialet, while top-spec GT Performance models get red brake callipers, black monograms, electric folding door mirrors and Alpine Telemetrics.

To mark the launch of the Alpine A290, there will be a limited-edition model badged as the GTS Premiere Edition, which comes with some extra equipment, funkier exterior styling and a special plate on the centre console denoting which of the 1,955 examples produced you are currently sitting in.

With the standard Renault 5 set to go on sale at around the £25k mark when it launches next year, prices for the Alpine A290 in GT form are expected to start at around £37,000 with initial orders being taken from the start of next year.