Spied winter testing in Scandinavia, the series-production specification also differs from its wilder sibling in terms of door count. As opposed to three (including the hatchback-style trunk lid), this fellow sports five. Normal door handles are featured up front, whereas the rear doors are gifted with black plastic handles where the doors meet up with the rear pillars. The unpainted plastic, however, makes those handles look a bit cheap and nigh-on flimsy.
Looking at the glass half full, Alpine was right to upgrade from three to five doors because practicality is a high priority for everyone in the market for a pint-sized car. Pictured with low-profile rubber wrapped around black-painted wheels, the A290 is equipped with disc brakes at every corner. By comparison, German behemoth Volkswagen makes electric vehicles (think ID.3 hatchback and ID.4 crossover) with drum brakes for the rear axle. Although there's nothing inherently wrong with drums, bear in mind that electric vehicles are heavier than their ICE counterparts.
Turning our attention back to the wheels and tires, Renault's sporting division Alpine confirmed 19-inch wheels and three choices of tire, all three from fellow French company Michelin. The Pilot Sport EV opens the list in the form of a summer tire optimized for energy efficiency, whereas the optional Pilot Sport S5 promises to extract the A290's full potential in both dry and wet weather.
During the winter season, Alpine recommends Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 rubber. This prototype rocks the Pilot Alpin 5, a directional winter tire with a symmetrical tread pattern. As expected of a small hatchback with electric muscle, the Alpine A290 has relatively short overhangs. Pushing the wheels as far out as possible at every corner improves handling, but alas, this is no Morris Mini-Minor.
Antony Villain, the head of design at Automobile Alpine SAS, went on record to confirm a slightly modified architecture from that of the Renault 5. According to Villain, the CMF-B EV was modified to ensure high-speed stability and more playfulness at low speeds. Villain further stated that Alpine will use four-piston brake calipers adapted from those of the A110 mid-engine sports car, which packs the 1.8-liter turbocharged four-pot of the Megane RS.
Similar to the Megane RS, Clio RS, and Twingo RS, the A290 is a front-wheel-drive affair. Its front-mounted electric motor is capable of summoning up to 270 ps (268 horsepower). The rumor mill suggests two powertrains, both front-wheel drive.
Given the limited floor space for the high-voltage battery and the sheer weight of said battery, it makes no sense to elevate the A290 to dual-motor status. Another drawback to the all-wheel-drive setup is the rear motor eating into the cargo space.
To premiere in the second half of 2024 as a 2025 model, the Renault 5's performance-oriented brother is believed to feature a 52-kWh battery. In the Renault 5 E-Tech, said high-voltage battery is estimated to deliver up to 400 kilometers (make that 249 miles) of driving range on a full charge.