- Renault’s Alpine brand, known for the A110 sports car, just revealed its new electric hot hatch concept Tuesday: the A90 Beta (A290_β).
- This concept is actually a dual front-motor electric car, offering up fine-tuned torque vectoring between the front wheels.
- At just over 13 feet long, this electric hot hatch has roughly the same footprint as a Kia Rio.
- It won’t make its way to the U.S., but it’s still an awesome little hot hatch — and it’s fun to look at forbidden fruit every once in awhile, isn’t it?
Would you put this little electric hot hatch in your ‘Dream Garage’?
If you’ve heard of Alpine at all, you’ll likely know about the A110 sports coupe that revived the nameplate a few years back. Now, the French automaker plans to put a series of new electric cars into production, kicking off what it calls the Dream Garage era. One of those cars will emerge from the concept you see here: officially the A290_β (or A290 Beta). It’s a Formula 1-inspired EV that sports an extremely unconventional layout, in more ways than one.
At 159.5 inches (2.85 meters) long, 72.8 inches (1.85 meters) wide and 58.3 inches (1.48 meters) tall, this tiny tike is already unusual by American standards. That said, the A290 Beta has an ace up its sleeve with it’s dual-motor front-wheel drive setup. Instead of going for an all-wheel drive layout, this car packs an electric motor on each front-wheel for more sophisticated torque vectoring. And it just fits the brand, as FWD hot hatchbacks are arguably what French automakers do best.
In fact, Alpine goes to great lengths to pitch the A290 Beta as a dyed in the wool driver’s car.
“The urban show car has rewritten the playbook for electric hot hatches,” said brand CEO Laurent Rossi. “The A290 Beta is tapping into its rich legacy and ushering Alpine into the future, with an everyday experience of the motorsports spirit that has inspired the brand since its inception.” For reference on that last part, Alpine has been a racing brand since 1954, after founder Jean Rédélé found success racing at LeMans and Sebring in the early 1950s.
The A290 Beta doesn’t just pack in the go-faster bits and call it a day. It also has Brembo brakes to help bring it to a halt and a multi-link rear axle to keep the car’s back-end planted while the front end powers the car through the corners.
Check out the interior!
Ambitious claims aside, the Alpine A290 Beta does pack a three-seater layout with the driver right in the center, like the McLaren F1 and the modern-day Gordon Murray Automotive T.50. The controls are minimalist, to say the least, with a few buttons on the steering wheel as well as overhead. There’s no instrument cluster in the traditional sense, as you instead get a head-up display right over the steering wheel. Even better, you get an overboost button like the Genesis GV60 that gives you a little bit of extra shove in 10-second bursts.
Now, the “Beta” part of this car’s name should clue you in that this interior won’t make it to production…unfortunately. The production model will be a bit more down-to-earth when it launches in 2024. Not that it will arrive in the U.S., mind you (as much as I’m thinking “never say die”, it’s highly unlikely), but we may get an opportunity to check it out in our favorite racing sim or video game. Folks over in Europe will be able to buy the production-spec Alpine A290, though, and I’m curious to see if the company succeeds in their brief to create a fun front-wheel drive electric hot hatch.