This concept heavily previews what'll come to market in 2024.
French automaker Alpine has revealed its new all-electric hot hatchback concept, the A290_ß, and a production version is slated to arrive in 2024. Yes, the name is unusual and Alpine explains that its vehicles' names start with the letter A, followed by three numbers. The number 2 stands for the B-segment and the 90 stands for its future lifestyle range. The Greek letter beta indicates an intermediate phase leading up to the production version's launch next year. Alpine is owned by Renault and the production-spec vehicle will be assembled in Douai, France on the new CMF-B EV platform. Will it come to the US? There is a decent chance but no guarantees just yet.
But today's concept, according to Alpine, is a very clear preview of what's coming next year. It has a length of only 159.4 inches, 72.8 inches wide, and 58.2 inches tall and it still rides on a set of 20-inch wheels that have, shall we say, a very interesting design with that massive square placed in the center. Notice that the center lock alloys have the French flag. A set of specially-developed Michelin tires are also included and are expected to be featured in the production version.
The performance-focused exterior has a front bumper with large air inlets for enhanced aerodynamics, and sculpted air inlets below the headlights to help improve airflow. The windshield stretches well into the hood to place emphasis on the central driver's seat. More on that shortly.
Some additional interesting bits are ultra-slim floating rearview mirrors and visible battery fans. Unfortunately, Alpine did not provide any specifications regarding power output but the press release does state the concept has torque vectoring and a rear multi-link suspension. Some additional features on the concept include four-piston Brembo brakes from the one and only A110, shock absorbers, suspension springs and front and rear anti-roll bars that have been optimized for all road types, and three driving modes (Wet, Dry and Full).
One of its coolest design elements is the centrally-mounted driver's seat - just like in the legendary McLaren F1 and recently revealed T.50 hypercars. Two additional passengers seat on each side and all three seats are carbon fiber buckets. The cockpit as a whole is inspired by racing cars with a minimalistic design that's all about performance and efficiency.
The steering wheel, for example, has a number of motorsports-inspired features. There's even a safety harness. The dashboard was purposely shaped like an arrow in order to better highlight the central driving position. We also like the blue line running the length of the dashboard and linking it to the doors. A roof-mounted console houses the kill switch, indicators, and light settings. The driver even has a headset complete with a display that feeds racing data in real-time.
Alpine says the production version "will be built around the same driving experience [with] the cockpit [revolving] around the driver." There's a reflective material on top of the dash and steering wheel and we're liking the sand-blasted aluminum elements inside and out, such as the footrests and dashboard winglets.
The all-electric hot hatch area is just getting started and Alpine has taken the first swing. We're now waiting to see what Volkswagen aims to do with the next-generation GTI.
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