Alpine Cars is a French brand, part of the Renault Group, and "at the forefront of innovation." Founded in 1955, we're talking French-style sports cars. In 2017, the company reinvented the A110, offering several variants in the original model, GT, S, and R trims. By 2021, Alpine Cars, Renault Sport Cars, and Renault Sport Racing, had all joined forces under the Alpine flagship. Last year at the Paris Auto Show, the automaker revealed a concept called the Alpenglow. This vehicle runs on a hydrogen combustion engine and looks like something from the movie Tron. Alpine has "competition in its DNA," winning recent World Endurance Championships, along with the Le Mans 24 Hours race. Its vehicles even have Formula 1-inspired bits throughout its design. Though the A110 is all it currently sells, it's clear that Alpine is very forward-leaning, and that's reflected in the current project. Titled "'dream garage,'" the brand's next vehicle range will consist of 100 percent electric vehicles, that are sporty, exclusive, and futuristic. The A290_β Hot Hatch concept blends Alpine's thinking with what's to come.
Racing Meets The Future
As part of the "dream garage" concept, a hot hatch, SUV, and coupe are all in the plans. Thus, we now have here revealed the hot hatch itself, in the A290. This is a sporty version of the Renault 5, another concept revealed back in 2021. Of course, the concept is just that, and not meant for production. Still, the exterior of the show car is said to be 85-percent of what the real road car will consist of. The interior, however, is another matter. Very little there will transfer from the concept to production. The "X" on the headlights hark back to when Alpine mechanics would tape the lenses, to prevent broken glass entering the track. The taillights borrow styling from the A470 endurance racing car. The car bears the name "Gasly," the surname of one of Alpine's current F1 drivers. The wheels are perhaps the most strange and interesting one could ever see, with a square in the middle of a round wheel and tire, looking like some type of futuristic control dock that a Star Wars droid would plug into. It rides on the CMF-B platform. In the front, there is even a central red line near the splitter, with an arrow and the word "Tow," calling out racing cues. It's not clear if there's indeed a hook there, but the guess would be yes given FIA certification, and it does appear to have a pull tab under the splitter. Being a racer, the car comes with 2 electric motors, a wider track, and a multi-link rear suspension.
Back to the interior, the three-seater cabin has huge gaming-looking chairs, with the phrase "feel at one" inscribed on the side of the headrests. These are very bolstered and fitted with racing harnesses. Being F1 inspired, the vehicle is driver-centric literally, with the operator in the middle and passengers to the side! The steering wheel looks like a VR PS5 controller. The car is equipped with a roll cage and various button controls, including one for a fire extinguisher! Since the car is FIA certified, it could technically be driven on a racetrack in a real race. The steering wheel has an "OV" or overtake button, to get that extra burst for passing, one thing that will carry over to production. The interior lighting changes colors and streaks across the cabin, again not unlike Tron, although the movement may be a camera mirage with the LEDs.
It's All In The Name
The A290 Hot Hatch is also known as the A290_β, or A290 Beta. The A290 will be the first of the "Dream Garage" lineup, and the Beta serves as its model. This vehicle will be seen as an urban sports car, drawing on Alpine's heritage in Motorsport. As a new angle on electric cars, the A290 seeks to be suited for the track, as well as everyday drives. In relation to that, a vehicle that is as comfortable for the passenger, as it is for the driver. It stands to embody a commitment of sustainable motorsports by the maker. The car may have a curious call sign, but this is all a part of Alpine's global strategy. All names start with the letter A, followed by three numbers, such as the A110. The number two stands for the B segment, and 90 for the future lifestyle range. The Greek letter Beta indicates an intermediate phase, one that leads up to the production vehicle's official launch in 2024.
We Can't Wait For It To Hit Production
Late last year it was revealed that Alpine would launch a performance version of the Renault 5 concept, the latter being a vehicle that excited many with its small package looks, but disappointed in the Motorsport regard. That date has now come and passed. Being a concept, the hot hatch has also been called a show car. Now we know that it's a "Beta" due to being a test vehicle and that it uses Alpine's established naming structure. According to Top Gear, the "2" could also refer to the vehicle's size, and the "90" does refer to Alpine's multi-purpose lifestyle cars. So, then the future SUV could be called A390, A490, or something similar. Without a doubt, the A290 Hot Hatch Beta is a unique ride, and hopefully, Alpine's production version lives up to it!