The Renault 5 Electric is available with 95, 120 or 150 PS. Those who want more power will soon be able to order the Alpine A290 with 177 or 218 PS. The platform is the same, so the Alpine can simply be seen as a sports version of the R5.

However, the sporty brand from the Renault Group has clearly differentiated its first electric model from the R5. Alpine has set the tone with a special design and more sportiness. We took a look at the car in advance in Paris and got some information from the Alpine experts.

Drives and battery

As with the Renault 5 E-Tech Electric, the Alpine A290 is based on the AmpR Small platform (formerly known as CMF-B-EV). As mentioned, the A290 is available in two engine versions, offering 177 and 218 PS respectively. Both are front-wheel drive models. There is currently no all-wheel drive, as we suspected. However, this is not technically ruled out, if we have understood the product manager's hints correctly.

  Alpine A290 177 PS Alpine A290 218 PS
Drive FWD 177 PS FWD 218 PS
0-62 mph n.a. 6.4 sec.
WLTP power consumption n.a. n.a.
Battery 52 kWh 52 kWh
Max. Charging power AC/DC 11 / 100 kW 11 / 100 kW
DC charging time (15-80%) 30 min  30 min 
DC charging speed 1.1 kWh/min 1.1 kWh/min
Range approx. 236 miles approx. 236 miles
Base price n.a. n.a.

As always with Renault (and BMW), current-excited synchronous motors are used. Unlike a permanent magnet synchronous motor (PSM), here the magnetic field in the rotor is generated by electromagnets, not permanent magnets. The motors used are not software-enhanced versions of the Renault 5 machines, but variants of the motor from the Megane E-Tech Electric which also has a 218 PS unit.

Alpine A290 (2024): This stack contains engine, transmission, power electronics and on-board charger

This stack contains, from top to bottom: On-board charger, power electronics, motor and gearbox (left would be the front of the car, right the battery)

The larger battery from the R5 is used as the base battery. The 52 kWh provide a range of 236 miles. We have not learned anything new about the configuration or the chemistry. There is also only fragmentary information about the technical data so far. The top version is said to sprint to 62 mph in 6.4 seconds. By comparison, the Renault needs 8.0 seconds with its 150 PS.

Charging takes place with up to 100 kW direct current. This should allow the battery to be charged from 15 to 80 per cent in 30 minutes. This results in a charging speed of just 1.1 kWh/min. Not a good value, but the competing Mini Cooper Electric also only achieves 0.9 to 1.2 kWh/min. With alternating current, 11 kW is possible as standard; a 22 kW charger will also be available as an option at market launch, as it was announced in Paris. As with the R5, the charger is also bidirectional and makes it possible to supply external devices.

Alpine A290 (2024): The exterior

The A290 is characterised by the four "X "s on the lights

The exterior

The special look is characterised by the eye-catching X lights, which are reminiscent of rally cars. They automatically start a welcome sequence when you approach with the Keycard Handsfree (the electronic key card).

20240529_134240

Spotlight with X-pattern in the cover glass

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Additional light with X-optics

Otherwise, the body has been widened with black mudguard extensions and the track width has been increased by an impressive 60 mm. Thicker anti-roll bars are also intended to make sporty cornering easier. The Alpine A290 rolls on 19-inch wheels and specially developed Michelin tyres as standard. The brakes have also been significantly improved. At the front, there are four-piston monobloc brake callipers from Brembo with Alpine branding. The callipers at the front and rear are available in either red or blue.

Alpine A290 (2024): The exterior at the presentation event in Paris

Alpine has dispensed with an oversized roof spoiler in favour of a small duck tail on the tailgate.

The dimensions are almost identical to those of the R5; surprisingly, the height is even slightly greater. However, improved aerodynamics are not to be expected due to the front lights standing in the wind.

  Alpine A290 Renault 5 E-Tech Electric
Length 3,990 mm 3,922 mm
Width 1,820 mm 1,774 mm
Height 1,520 mm 1,498 mm
Wheelbase 2,530 mm 2,540 mm
Luggage compartment 326-1,106 litres 326 litres

Interior and controls

As in the R5, the interior features a 10.25-inch instrument display and a 10.1-inch touchscreen angled slightly towards the driver's seat. Otherwise, the already teased cockpit has a much sportier design. One of the special features is the completely different gear selector. While the Renault 5 has a steering column lever to the right of the steering wheel, the P, N, R and D modes in the A290 are selected via round buttons in the centre console.

Alpine A290 (2024): The cockpit with numerous sporty insignia

The cockpit with numerous sporty insignia

The nappa leather steering wheel has an RCH rotary knob on the left, which can be used to adjust the recuperation strength in four stages. The OV button (for overtake) on the top right of the steering wheel calls up more power for 10 seconds. You then have to wait 30 seconds before the function can be used again. The driving mode can be selected at the bottom right. There are four of these: Save, Normal, Sport and Perso. The latter mode allows you to customise the steering, throttle response, ambient lighting and sound. ESP can be completely deactivated.

Alpine A290 (2024): Pyramids are used to visualise the driving speed

Pyramids are used to visualise the driving speed

The instrument display has been completely revised. In Iconic mode, pyramids symbolise the current power output or driving speed. We found this type of display unnecessarily complicated. It's a good thing that there are two other display modes, including Minimal, which only shows the most important information.

There is also a launch control. Alpine has also created two sounds that come from the specially developed audio system from Devialet with nine loudspeakers. The experts demonstrated the sound to us. Compared to the fantastic sound of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, it is a disappointment.

The touchscreen runs Android Automotive as the operating system, but with an Alpine-specific design. Google Maps (including charging planning) and Google Assistant voice control are also available. The Alpine Telemetrics functions are a special feature. These can be used, for example, to display g values, lap times or tips for improving your driving style on the racetrack, and there are also "Challenges". These can be used to determine how fast you can sprint to 62 mph or practise evasive driving.

Alpine A290 (2024): The touchscreen displays the temperature of the battery, the engine and even the brakes

The touchscreen displays the temperature of the battery, the engine and even the brakes

One detail that electric car fans will be interested in is the temperature information that can be displayed on the touchscreen. The information includes the temperatures of the battery (interesting when charging and during sporty driving), the motor and even an estimate of the brake temperature. 

Equipment and market launch

Alpine representative explains the equipment lines of the A290

Alpine representative explains the equipment lines of the A290

Four trim levels are offered. The basic GT version is only available for the 177 PS engine. This is followed, at the same price level, by GT Premium (only with 177 PS) and GT Performance (only with 218 PS). The range is crowned by the GTS version with 218 PS drive.

The basic version offers a heat pump, 19-inch aluminium wheels with special Michelin tyres, LED headlights, adaptive cruise control (ACC), heated sports seats with fabric upholstery, nappa leather sports steering wheel, navigation system with electric route planning and wireless smartphone integration via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera as standard.

GT Premium adds a black roof, tinted windows and blue brake callipers, Nappa leather trim, the Devialet audio system, steering wheel heating and inductive smartphone charging. The Nappa leather is not vegan, but at least it is not tanned with chrome, but with plant-based agents.

GT Performance, on the other hand, offers sportier tyres, red brake callipers, black Alpine monograms on the wings, electrically folding exterior mirrors and Alpine Telemetrics. Finally, the top-of-the-range GTS version combines the best of the two GT equipment packages and also includes details such as black "Snowflake" rims, Alpine lettering embossed into the leather headrests and an A290 model name embroidered into the backrests. 

The Premiere Edition is also available in three colour variants for the market launch. With its black and white look, the Beta version is reminiscent of the A290_β study, and there is also a grey and a blue special edition (La Grise and La Bleue respectively). A total of 1,955 units will be produced; the number is a reminder of the year Alpine was founded.

Alpine A290 (2024): The Premiere Edition in the Beta variant

The Premiere Edition in the Beta variant

For Alpine, the A290 (or "the" A290, as the brand itself writes) is the first vehicle from the Dream Garage presented in 2021. At that time, Alpine had announced three models: a small car (the A290), a compact crossover (the Alpine A390, allegedly a Scenic offshoot) and a sports car, which will probably be called the A310 and will be the successor to the A110 combustion coupé.

The A290 will be launched at the end of 2024, but Alpine has not yet told us how much the car will cost. Like the Renault 5, the sporty small car will be built at the Douai plant in northern France.

The bottom line

All-wheel drive would have been nice, but no such luck. The Alpine A290 has front-wheel drive like the electric Renault 5, but there is more power and more torque. I wonder if you can get that cleanly onto the road with front-wheel drive? Since our test of the Mini Cooper SE, we've had our doubts - but spinning wheels can also contribute to driving pleasure, as we realised with the Cooper.

As far as the looks are concerned, we really like them. It should appeal above all to lovers of a sporty rally look. Prices will probably be significantly higher than the €32,900 (approx. £28,000) of the R5 with 150 PS, and presumably also higher than the corresponding Mini Cooper variants: The 177 PS version competes with the Cooper E (from £30,000), the 218 PS Alpine with the Cooper SE (from £34,500).