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A290_β: Alpine unveils its vision of the electric hot hatch for everyday driving


Jul 9, 2023 #ALPINE

The A290, the future compact B-segment electric sports car in Alpine’s new era, shines through the spectacular, ultra-sporty A290_β (A290 beta) show car. The first of the three models in the future Dream Garage will be a new-generation, fully electric sports car designed to trigger every driver’s competitive spirit and recast the notion of sports cars.

The A290_β, in other words, is opening a new chapter in Alpine’s enthralling history. The brand is tapping into its motorsport 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 sport circuits 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 – absolutely necessary – 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.

A forward-looking name
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. Its electric motor will also be manufactured in France, in the Cléon Megafactory.

“The A290_β is the first stage in Alpine’s new era, the first step towards the all-electric Dream Garage in 2024. This urban show car has rewritten the playbook for electric hot hatches. The A290_β is tapping into its rich legacy and ushering Alpine into the future, with an everyday experience of the motorsport spirit that has inspired the brand since its inception.”
Laurent Rossi, CEO, Alpine

From the outside, the A290_β looks like a lot like the future 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 in the centre, like a single seater 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 motorsports and 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 sits in the B-segment sports car designed primarily 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.

“The A290_β combines a racing soul with urban influences. It is designed for a new generation of hot-hatch enthusiasts. Its proportions and technical details instantly sweep you into a reinvented motorsport universe. To be true to Alpine’s driving-experience know-how, we placed the driver at the centre of the cockpit. The A290_β is designed – inside and outside – around this principle. As we go electric, this is one way of showing that we are attached to Alpine’s DNA and the spirit that is guiding us as we develop the Alpines for tomorrow.”
Antony Villain, Design Director, Alpine


Like the Alpenglow concept car before it, seen in 2020, the Alpine A290_β has all the design hallmarks that will define the Dream Garage vehicles. And this show car comes with even more striking features including archetypal Alpine wheels, a cockpit inspired by the ones in single seater racing cars, and noble, long-lasting materials.

Fusion, performance and the A290_β concept’s soul
The Alpine A290_β show car was created around the feeling of fusing with the machinery. It intertwines the brand’s legendary passion for motorsports 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.

“We created something completely geared for the future. We wanted up-to-the-minute surfaces, details and materials, a vehicle that fulfils every Alpine promise, that’s exciting, surprising, and not even remotely nostalgic or backward-looking.”
Raphael Linari, Chief Designer, Alpine

Exterior design: all about performance
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.

  • Aerodynamics shaped for driving pleasure

The Alpine A290_β’s designers poured over 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 power.

There are other sculpted air inlets beneath the headlights, to help air flow smoothly and add a motorsport 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.

  • An X-shaped light signature

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.

  • Three-tone wheels and tyres

The Alpine A290_β’s aluminium wheels 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 for optimal performance, agility and control in all conditions. 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 show where to position 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 when it’s launched.

  • A body tone inspired by the mountains

The A290_β beautifully captures something about the mountain range that inspired it: its body is powdery white and glimmers faintly in the light. This crystal-like effect comes from a textured paint that makes the surface shine like freshly fallen snow. Contrasting with it, all the parts around the base – the sills, front spoiler and lower valance accents – are rock-like forged carbon and have a blue inlay pointing to the car’s all-out technicity. The metallic-black roof and bonnet hint at the car’s sheer electric power and direct the gaze to driver’s seat at the centre.

Interior design: fusion and passion
While the production A290 will look a lot like the Alpine A290_β show car from the outside, the interior is much more conceptual and based on a pioneering architecture that puts the driver in the middle of the action. Two magenta and blue light beams also underline the fact that the driver’s seat is on the centreline.

There is a close link between the inside and outside, emphasised by the windscreen 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 motorsport-inspired features is a great example and the bucket seats and safety harnesses round out the effect.

  • Driving in the middle

A city-friendly hot-rod inspired by racing cars and the Alpenglow concept car: that, in a nutshell, is what the A290_β is all about. Its three-seat architecture and central driving position illustrate this perfectly. The whole point is that the driver is at one with the car and the passengers enjoy an unparalleled experience. The driver connects with the road and focuses on the driving experience. The passengers – co-pilots, here – watch the driver in action and savour the sensations.

  • Carbon bucket seats

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 seat insert 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.

  • An arrow-shaped dashboard

The Alpine A290_β’s dashboard is deliberately shaped like an arrow, to highlight the centreline driving position and convey a sense of speed, performance and complete control. This style adds to the vibrant feel in the show car’s cockpit, where every detail is at its most extreme.

The sense of oneness was crucial in completing the interior design. The dashboard, for example, has a blue line running across it and linking it with the doors. The indicator light strips beneath the wing mirrors are also blue. As the driver can see the indicators blinking from the cockpit, there is no need for matching flashing lights inside. The blue line travels around the passenger area to enhance the connection between the driver, passengers and machinery.

  • A minimalist and eminently functional cockpit

All the car’s functionalities are on the centreline where the driver sits. A console built into the roof provides instant access to several features (kill switch, indicators, light settings, etc.). One thing that sets this show car apart is that it has no screens inside. That way, the driver can focus 100% on driving and racing. It does, however, have a slender head-up display, over the steering wheel, showing the essentials (for instance speed and battery charge). The driver also has a headset with a display feeding all the race-related information live: any flags the officials are waving, the track’s condition, information about the other cars, etc. The link with motorsports is palpable and entices the driver and passengers to enjoy this one-of-a-kind, sense-arousing experience. The production car will be built around the same driving experience: the cockpit will revolve around the driver – the physical layout as well as the multimedia system and virtual interfaces associated with it, such as the onboard telemetry system and Alpine animations.

  • An Overtake button like the one on racing-car steering wheels

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 red 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 motorsport 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.

Contrasting high-tech materials
The A290_β’s interior architecture is unique in itself – but also comes with sophisticated, noble, up-to-the-minute and long-lasting materials.

  • Hard-wearing, technically enhanced leather

The dashboard is clad in environmentally-friendly certified vegetable-tanned leather that has a very distinctive and pleasurable feel. On the door panels, this leather is laser-machined to create a variety of contrasts and underline the high-tech upholstery. There are also tastefully embroidered leather touches ennobling some of the vehicle’s structural components, such as the chassis.

  • The mighty, distinctive triangle

The hallmark Alpine triangle, on the side window under a matte varnish, gives the show car a techy, modern feel. At night, it becomes a showpiece: the glow inside lights up the blue and magenta patterns. This motif is sprinkled all around the vehicle, its look changes and it combines into a consistent and elegant visual effect befitting the brand. The steering wheel also has a small crystal triangle – like the one in the Alpenglow concept car – at the centre.

  • Sand-blasted aluminium

The aluminium inside and outside points to an Alpine’s lightness but is also a statement about this show car’s sporty demeanour and bold aims. The parking brake, for instance, is sand-blasted aluminium covered in leather. Other parts, including the footrests, decorative inlays on the doors and dashboard winglets are also sand-blasted aluminium.

  • Reflective materials

The ultralumen reflective material covering the top of the dashboard and steering wheel, and the driver’s seat, intensifies the effect that you get from the driving seat on the centreline and the cockpit’s original architecture. When you flash a light on it, this technical material lights up all the driving-pleasure essentials – and again highlights the driver’s central role and the car’s sporty feel.

The name Alpine is written in metallic letters across the sides and front. Blue, white and magenta flags replicate the show car’s colour scheme and underline its identity.

This energetic show car was honed during numerous sessions. Alpine’s test drivers, engineering teams and design teams spent dozens of hours on the tracks optimising every setting to maximise the sensations that the A290_β provides. The overarching goal was to treat the driver as well as the passengers to thrills and chills they have never experienced before.

The expertise that the development teams poured into the electrical design – which was a big hit in the A110 E-ternité prototype – shines through the A290_β. It captures much of the engineers’ development work on the future electric models in the line-up and the way they are changing the game for sports driving.

Unparalleled power

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.

A singular development process
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.

Three driving modes to suit all kinds of tracks
Several settings are available directly via the buttons on the steering wheel, to optimise the show car’s behaviour in real time. The ABS has 11 positions, and responds according to road holding.

There are also three driving modes for tracks: Wet, Dry and Full. These three strategies are fine-tuned and the underlying settings adjust according to the road’s condition. On a wet track, the car responds much more gently, has more traction and is stabler. In Dry mode, its behaviour is completely different: it glides more, and the wheels respond more aggressively. And Full mode, like the Overtake button, unleashes the electric motors’ full might.

Imagining a show car from start to finish involves more than physical development. Alpine’s design team, led by the brand’s Head of Design Antony Villain, distilled the quintessence of his ideas and rendered them in virtual form. This way, they created a digital twin for the vehicle, using new types of materials that are impracticable in the physical world. A full, exclusive experience was transferred into the digital realm and the A290_β, as a result, will not only race on real-life tracks: it will also be available in simulators or videogames.

Born digital: a fully-fledged show car in the digital world
Research in the virtual sphere led to the creation of two completely new types of materials. The first, which plays a more structural role, relates to the mechanical frames’ ultimate lightness – which comes from aluminium in real life. It was named 0A1 (the 0 and 1 stand for coding, the A for the Alpine brand). This material is used in the structure of the dashboard and driver’s seat.

The second intelligent material has more to do with the driver’s emotions: it illustrates the vehicle’s movements and the extreme sensations that driving an Alpine car arouses. The virtual driver and the machinery become one to treat the user to an extreme performance. For example, the materials and colours change according to the car’s speed, trajectory and even acceleration, adding up to the most intense experience ever. The living virtual materials convey information and morph into an invisible co-pilot, which replaces the usual instruments.

This born-digital version takes driving pleasure and human-technology fusion to previously unexplored heights.

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