Alpine A290_β show car embodies the brand's vision of the electric hot hatch for daily driving

17 May 2023, 07:49:02

Alpine A290_β show car embodies the brand's vision of the electric hot hatch for daily drivingThe Alpine A290_β (A290 beta) is an ultra-sporty show car that envisions the future compact B-segment electric sports car in the brand's new era - the Alpine A290. The first of the three models in the future “Dream Garage” will be a new-generation, full-electric sports car designed to trigger every driver's competitive spirit and recast the notion of sports cars.

The brand is tapping into its motor-sports heritage and essence, and venturing into new segments starting with an urban sports car. The show car's design, materials, and technology encapsulate a new angle on electric cars that are just as suited for motor-sports tracks as they are for everyday drives – and as exciting for the driver as they are for passengers. And, as low-carbon mobility is becoming a sine qua non in the automotive sector, the Alpine A290_β is more than a show car: it embodies the brand’s strong stand and unwavering commitment to sustainable motorsports.

The decision to call the car A290_β is based on the Alpine brand’s global naming strategy. The names start with the letter A, followed by three numbers. The number 2 stands for the B-segment and the 90 stands for the brand’s future Lifestyle range. The Greek letter beta indicates an intermediate phase working up to the production vehicle’s official launch in 2024.

From the outside, the A290_β looks like the production models will. Inside, its three-seat configuration is a whole new concept. This show car takes power and agility to new heights in its category. With two electric motors at the front, the A290_β an ultra-sporty show-car for the technological challenges that Alpine’s development engineers and drivers have taken on and tackled. They have combined numerous specific developments (chassis, suspension, torque management, etc.) with extensive fine-tuning to achieve both playful and efficient behaviour.

The A290_β has been cleared for use on tracks by the FFSA (Fédération Française du Sport Automobile) and fine-tuned to perfection. It is brimming with surprises and will treat drivers to unforgettable experiences behind the wheel. Like the Alpenglow concept car revealed in 2022, the A290_β has the driver’s seat on the centreline, like a racing car, to take the experience of oneness with the vehicle to the next level. The difference is that the A290_β can also carry two passengers slightly behind the driver – one on either side – so they can enjoy the full view from an angle quite unlike anything they have seen before.

The A290_β has naturally inherited the DNA that Alpine honed in motor-sports competitions including the range of racing-car functionalities built into the steering wheel with telemetry, the dynamic shapes and the air inlets streamlined for better cooling, the driving seat on the centreline, the bucket seats providing optimal support and the hydraulic handbrake. It is ready to put on a show!

The three exclusive and pioneering models in the line-up – a compact sports car, a GT crossover and the A110’s replacement – make up Alpine’s Dream Garage. They will all be 100% electric. The A290_β augurs the B-segment sports car for cities. Production will begin in 2024 at ElectriCity in Douai. It will be built on the Alliance’s CMF-B EV platform for B-segment electric vehicles. Its electric engine will also be manufactured in France, in the Cléon Megafactory.

The Alpine A290_β show car was created around the feeling of fusing with the machinery. It intertwines the brand’s legendary passion for motor sports and the one-of-a-kind sensations that stepping into an Alpine arouses. A magenta line cuts across the car, underscoring its might, speed and technicity. This stripe symbolises the human-machine connection. The blue line points to the connection between the driver and passengers. The blue around the car fades to magenta and visibly underlines both links.

The A290_β includes all the Alpine brand’s ingredients, and treats drivers to a radically new experience in an electric sports car at the top of its game. The dynamic and categorically modern body, combining muscular shapes and razor-sharp technical details, radiates its uncompromising attitude to performance. This show car is 4.05 metres long, 1.85 metres wide and 1.48 metres high, and is a taster for a sparkling, agile production car with a short wheelbase and wider track for sporty driving and greater stability at high speeds.

The Alpine A290_β’s designers pored over even the tiniest details to maximise the show car’s aerodynamic performance and the sensations behind the wheel. The front bumper has large air inlets that enhance the car’s aerodynamics while cooling it more efficiently. The ultra-slim floating rear-view mirrors also play a part in the car’s road grip, and the indicator bands underline the vehicle’s versatility and oomph. There are other sculpted air inlets beneath the headlights, to help air flow smoothly and add a motor-sports vibe. The battery fans are visible and look a bit like the fans cooling supercharged gaming PCs.

The windshield stretches conspicuously over the bonnet to deepen the connection between the outside and inside, and to shine a light on the central driving seat. It provides a unique view of the arrow-shaped dashboard inspired by Formula 1 cars’ nose cones and this architecture in a class by itself extends outwards with the mirrors.

The two X-shaped sets of lights at the front of the A290_β are very much like the ones the production model will feature. They stem, to some extent, from the headlights on the iconic A110 and racing cars in days gone by. The rear lights are vertical, like the ones on the A470 endurance racing car. The central brake light stretches inwards, through the back windshield, to merge into the light beam across the car’s centreline. All the vehicle’s lights are the same colours as the rest of the design: magenta sweeps across the car from the headlights to the rear lights and the wing mirrors and indicators are blue.

The Alpine A290_β’s aluminium rims faithfully foreshadow the ones on the production model. They are cut in a singular pattern and combine three colours: Alps Snow matching the body, classic glossy mineral black for extra intensity around the base and a blue ring to complete this vehicle’s exclusive, iconic rim. A square cut-out at the centre of the 20-inch circle adds zip and an original touch.

The exclusive tyres were purpose-engineered for this model with Michelin as part of a renewed partnership to support Alpine in the electrification of its range. Michelin will equip all the vehicles in Alpine's Dream Garage. Matching the rest of the show car’s look and one of the Alpine brand’s hallmarks, the tyres also have two white triangles, which lock the tyre to the wheel. The name Michelin is written visibly in white on the side, completing the design and pointing to the exclusive partnership with this French tyre manufacturer. Michelin will supply the high-performance 19 inch tyres with exclusive Alpine markings. These tyres were custom-designed to ensure ideal calibration and first-class performance on the production A290.

There is a close link between the inside and outside, emphasized by the windshield overflowing onto the bonnet – which also shines a light on the central driving seat. It provides a singular perspective of the arrow-shaped dashboard inspired by Formula 1 cars’ nose cones. The dashboard stretches across cockpit and outwards onto the wing mirrors. Then it stretches horizontally, to the base of the bonnet and to the back where the spoiler emerges from the chassis’ backbone. All the driving functions are lined up on this axis. This underscores the fusion and harmony between the inside and outside, and the central role that the driving position has played in the rest of the A290_β’s design. The cockpit is inspired by racing cars: it is minimalistic and all about performance and efficiency. The steering wheel packed with an assortment of motorsports-inspired features is a great example and the bucket seats and safety harness round out the effect.

The bucket seat structures are 100% raw carbon, and lightweight as befits every Alpine car’s build. They come with Sabelt safety harnesses made for racers. The pads were meticulously designed to add to the sporty shape and provide flawless support. The driver’s seat is covered in ultralumen, a high-tech retro-reflective material and discretely adorned with triangles hinting at the car’s three-seater configuration, mountains and the Alpine brand’s emblem. The handle next to the driver’s feet was designed specifically for this show car with an Alpine driver, and opens the doors in less than 7 seconds. This all-new design feature also provides a high level of safety.

The A290_β’s steering wheel is directly inspired by Alpine’s LMP2, A470 and Formula 1 A523 single-seaters. Its geometric gamepad-like design has a series of specific functions, including a OV (Overtake) button to deliver a 10-second power boost. This button is also designed to optimise safety: it can only be used when the track is dry and can only be pressed again after a 10 second wait.

This Overtake button derived directly from Formula 1 and the rest of the motor-sports universe will come on all models in Alpine’s full-electric line-up. Other features such as the radio, driving mode selector, ABS settings and the pit-lane speed-limiting button are also ergonomically built into the steering wheel to provide advanced control. The steering wheel in the compact production sports car will include several of the features, including the Overtake button, charge and driving mode selection.

To boost the show car’s efficiency, Alpine’s development teams fine-tuned its torque vectoring technology – which controls the torque reaching each wheel separately. This balancing act pushes performance as high as it can possibly go, when driving in a straight line or turning, and the feeling is unforgettable. The production car will also have a torque management mechanism suited to its design. Another surprise in Alpine’s new B-segment sports car is an all-new multi-link rear axle. It strikes the best possible balance between vigour and comfort, and is a rare privilege for a car in this category.

The Alpine A290_β’s chassis was built for purpose. The show car, as a result, is pleasantly playful at low and mediums speeds – again, to add to the driving sensations. Then, at high speeds, the car becomes extremely stable, treating the driver to an intense and at the same time reassuring experience. The shock absorbers, suspension springs and front and rear anti-roll bars were optimised so that the vehicle is pleasurable to drive on every type of road. The braking and cooling systems were also tuned time and again for maximum efficiency and effectiveness. The little Alpine electric sports car will come with a high-performance Brembo braking system, 4-piston calipers, identical to that of the A110.

To keep the driver and passengers comfortable in all circumstances, and at the same time improve grip, the car will come with hydraulic compression stops to cushion shocks more efficiently. This technology will allow the suspension system’s settings to be specifically tuned to provide superior agility and comfort.

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