Wild Alpine Concept Previews Electric Hot Hatch That Just Might Make It To the US
This. America. Soon. (We wish.)
Frankly, there aren't enough cars for sale today that are just completely batshit insane. There used to be, when the French sold cars here, but that was decades ago. That could soon change though, because Alpine has revealed a concept for a new electric hot hatch, the A290_β, which has an outside chance of making it to the United States.
Revealed earlier this week, the A290_β is a relative of the Renault 5 EV; a neoclassic electric subcompact. That symbol in its name is short for Beta (not the hard-S ß used in German), indicating this isn't the final version. But make no mistake, Alpine says it previews a production car that will launch in 2024—and it has already given us a good picture of what to expect of the A290.
All EVs begin with a battery, one which Auto Express reports will come in at up to 52 kilowatt-hours in the related Renault 5 EV. It'll allegedly power dual motors on the front wheels, which will combine with aggressive torque vectoring and a drifting-style hydraulic handbrake for absurd agility. It'll borrow four-piston Brembo brake calipers from the A110 sports car, and feature hydraulic bump stops in its suspension for better ride quality.
Its outrageous wheels are motorsport-style center-lug units too, though they're one of many details that likely won't make it to the production car. Its fog lamps—patterned after taped-up rally floodlights—won't do range any good, and its interior configuration is so far out there that I struggle to see it making the cut.
We're talking a three-wide, center-drive setup, much like the McLaren F1 or Gordon Murray T.50, with an overhead center console. It also has an Alpine A470 LMP2-inspired steering wheel, and deep carbon buckets (which seem like they might ship on the final product).
The A290 is already pre-cleared for track use in France, which is important when even some hybrids are banned from track events today. More importantly, it may have a way to reach U.S. roads. In February, Renault CEO Luca de Meo spoke of partnering with AutoNation as a retail network for a potential entry to the U.S. market. It's one of the many hurdles Alpine would have to clear before selling here, not to mention one of the lowest, but the interest is there. Let's hope Alpine's interest blossoms into intent.
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