Renault-owned Alpine previews electric hot hatch concept
Renault's Alpine division plans to significantly expand its sales and global presence in the coming years. It's preparing to launch an array of new models, and it published two preview images of a concept called A290_β that was developed to blaze the path future cars will follow.
Alpine isn't a household name in the United States, but it's worth paying attention to because there's a good chance it will enter the American market in the coming years. It's already in talks with AutoNation about potentially distributing its cars here. We won't see the A110, the only model it currently sells, on our shores, but its next wave of cars could spearhead its American offensive. That's where the A290_β comes in.
The brand describes its next concept as "an electric hot hatch," which hints — but doesn't confirm — that it could be related to the LeCar-inspired Renault 5 Prototype presented in 2021 and due out in European showrooms in the not-too-distant future. An image published in January 2021 gave us a vague look at the city-friendly hatchback's front-end lighting signature, and the latest teaser hints at a muscular-looking exterior design that borrows some styling cues from Alpine's classic rally cars. Driving lights are seemingly integrated into the front end, there's a bulge or a scoop on the hood, and the roof panel flows into a spoiler. The proportions are 5-like, and the heritage is there to back it up: Alpine sold a high-performance variant of the original 5 in the 1970s and 1980s, and the model is highly sought-after by collectors.
Shown above, the second image shows emblems on what's presumably the car's rear end, but it doesn't reveal anything about the design.
Pronounced "A290 beta," the name is a hint of things to come as well. Alpine's future models will follow a new naming system: A stands for "Alpine," the first number represents the size of the car, and "90" will denote so-called "multi-purpose sports vehicles" (also referred to as "life-style vehicles" by the company). We know there's a crossover in the pipeline, so it could land as the A390 or A490. On the other end of the spectrum, the "pure sports vehicles" will carry on with the "10" suffix, like the aforementioned A110. "Beta" is reserved for prototypes.
Alpine will unveil the A290_β concept in Bristol, England, on May 9, 2023, at 10:30 p.m. European time (that's 4:30 p.m. in New York and 1:30 p.m. in California). The presentation will be streamed online. As for what's next, your guess is as good as ours. Nothing is official yet, but our crystal ball tells us the A290_β has already been approved for production and will arrive in showrooms in the coming years.
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