Alpine A290 platform and dynamics

The Alpine A290is an extensively reworked version of the Renault 5 EV
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Post by Rob »

Driving pleasure and the thrill of driving a hot hatch were at the top of the A290 development engineers' list of priorities. In this first Alpine of a new era, electric propulsion enhances sportiness without compromising everyday comfort.


Using a platform specific to electric power, such as the AmpR Small, offers considerable advantages when designing a sporty model. This platform optimises weight distribution (less weight on the front axle) and lowers the centre of gravity. The battery contributes to the car's rigidity, and its positioning maximises interior space. The skateboard-style architecture and smaller engine mean that the front end is compact. Naturally, this provides a favourable environment to seek perfect balance, with a short wheelbase offering greater liveliness. At the same time, the wide tracks enhance stability and allow for the use of larger tires.

The A290's engine comes from the higher segment, as Jean Rédélé did in his day with his boosted 4CV transformed into the A106. Here, based on the AmpR Small platform, development has been imagined in historic Alpine style: on the existing base, change the engine, add unique technologies with exclusive suspension, specific brakes, tires and torque management and, of course, the talent of Alpine engineers for tuning. The result is one of the best-performing cars in the segment, with a 0-100 km/h time of 6.4 seconds, up to 220 bhp and 300 Nm of torque, and a weight of just 1,479 kg. However, comfort and practicality are preserved in this 5-door, 5-seater city car, which measures just 3.99 metres, has a generous boot capacity of 326 litres and a turning circle limited to 10.20 metres. The result is the best imaginable versatility in the B segment, with thrilling sensations in everyday use. History is repeating itself in the electric era.

A bespoke engine subframe was created to improve the engine's positioning, contribute to the vehicle's handling and provide optimum filtration. Its all-aluminium design and the choice of battery size help to keep the A290's weight at 1,479 kg, a particularly competitive figure. The low centre of gravity limits the A290's natural roll, so suspension settings don't need to go to extremes to keep body roll under control. The use of bespoke suspensions incorporating hydraulic bump stops ensures an excellent level of comfort, which is much appreciated on a daily basis.

The adoption of a multi-link rear suspension, rare in this category, enables particularly fine adjustment of wheel position, giving the A290 top-of-the-range handling and providing a highly directional front end. It also contributes to stability when cornering at high speeds, which has enabled aerodynamic work to focus on drag, a critical factor in efficiency.

The A290's chassis settings aim to recapture the sporty feel that is part of Alpine's DNA, with a compromise between agility and stability designed to achieve handling that is both responsive and controllable. Bespoke front and rear anti-roll bars contribute to this balance. The aim is for the driver to feel at ease with the car and for it to be fun for everyone to drive. The result: a sporty road feel, with an incisive front axle that keeps everything nice and tidy. The rear axle is sufficiently mobile when lifting off the accelerator on winding stretches of road while remaining controllable at all times. It offers excellent stability in fast bends, reinforcing the feeling of safety and control.

A great deal of work has gone into the feel of the brake pedal, ensuring excellent control in all driving conditions. Its by-wire control ensures an imperceptible natural transition between regenerative braking and hydraulic braking, provided by a generously dimensioned Brembo assembly. The feel of degressive braking, as well as its endurance and braking power, are in keeping with the high levels of performance offered by the A290.

A button on the steering wheel activates the four different Alpine driving modes: Save, Normal, Sport and Personal. The latter allows independent adjustment of the level of steering assistance, throttle response, lighting ambience and Alpine Drive Sound. As a result, drivers can confidently explore the limits by simply adjusting the pivot point for front-to-rear balance, with a slight lift off the accelerator pedal to tighten the trajectory gradually. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) can be deactivated entirely.

The A290's 26 driver assistance systems (ADAS) include driver attention monitoring, automatic emergency braking when reversing, forward and rearward detection with emergency lane correction and safe occupant exit. A new My Safety Switch button, located on the left-hand side of the steering wheel, allows drivers to select their ADAS setting preferences in a single gesture, choosing, for example, whether to switch ADAS on or off, the level of intervention and the presence of audible alerts. In addition, an adaptive cruise control system with a stop-go function and a lane departure function to allow two-wheel vehicles, for example, to pass, are standard features on the A290.

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