Alpine reveals its hot hatch EV at the home of Concorde, new models on the way from GWM Ora and BYD and some firm favourites get a facelift.
Supersonic reveal for Alpine concept in Bristol
Bristol isn’t traditionally the place for global automakers to reveal a new model, but this week Renault’s performance brand Alpine used the former Concorde manufacturing hangar to launch its new EV hot hatch. The A290_β (A290 beta) is based on the Renault 5 EV but with loads more attitude and a central driving position, although the seating arrangement will be more normal for the production version. It will also just be called the A290 which is useful because we have no idea how to get that beta icon without cutting and pasting.
It’s a dramatic looking model, with lights up front that are reminiscent of the rally lights on the original Alpine A110. The styling harks back in many ways to the original Renault 5 GT Turbo too but this is a hot hatch for a new era.
"The A290_β combines a racing soul with urban influences,” says Antony Villain, Alpine’s design director. “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."
The concept features two electric motors at the front with a torque management system to handle the instantaneous electric power, although Alpine hasn’t released any numbers yet. We do know it will have a racing-inspired interior with no screens, only a head-up display so the driver can focus on driving fun. There’s even an Overtake button on the steering wheel that delivers a ten second power boost like in many racing series.
If motorsport is your thing then you’ll know all about the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in the US next month. Alpine has not only revealed its pocket rocket EV, but it plans to take on the Pikes Peak challenge with its most extreme A110 model. Weighing only 950kg it features a huge rear wing as part of the aerodynamics package designed to keep it on the treacherous mountain road.
The Fisker Ocean electric vehicle is heading to the UK and having taken a close look at it, it looks like a very competitive package. If it’s a little too normal for you then the company has now revealed the Ocean Force E, an all-wheel drive adventure version that sits on 20-inch wheels with 33-inch tyres giving it higher ground clearance. It has off-road suspension dampers, underbody protection and 550hp and it’s being developed at Fisker Magic Works right here in the UK.
The recent Fully Charged Show exhibition featured a number of new models heading to the UK, including the regular Fisker Ocean. GWM Ora used the show to debut it’s rather odd-looking new model that doesn’t even have a name yet. It’s a four-door fastback that will arrive in the UK early in 2024 with a predicted range of around 300 miles. Two and four-wheel drive options will be available and power of around 400hp and 680Nm of torque. While the exterior design is not going to appeal to all, the interior has the same premium look and feel that we’ve seen in the Ora Funky Cat hatchback.
GWM’s big rival and the largest manufacturer of EVs in the world, BYD, recently started selling its models in the UK, the first being the BYD Atto 3. The show saw the UK debut of the BYD Dolphin, a small hatchback thats will compete with the Renault 5 and Volkswagen ID 2 when they come along. Featuring a 60kWh battery pack, it has a range of up to 265 miles and pricing is expected to compete with the MG4 and Peugeot e-208 at just north of £30,000 although a cheaper version with a smaller battery is expected to come later.
Hyundai’s i20 has always been a popular model, more recently combining the brand’s great value for money features with more dynamic styling. Now there’s an updated version with a new frontal design that gives it an even more sporty look. The rear has been tweaked and there are new alloy wheel choices and you can even have it in a very bright Lucid Lime colour.
Inside, there’s a standard 4.2-inch digital instrument display with the option of a 10.25-inch version to add to the 10.25-inch infotainment screen. There are new driver assistance and safety systems including forward collision avoidance and cyclist detection. Engine choices remain the same and Hyundai has yet to confirm prices but we’d expect a modest increase over the outgoing model.
Peugeot has also been applying the facelift treatment, this time to the 2008. The designers have given it even more of an assertive look with a wider front and the latest lighting signature that debuted on the 508. GT versions also get full LED headlights. The LED lamps at the rear have been changed, while inside, the Peugeot i-Cockpit has been updated and the 10-inch touchscreen is now standard across the range. There are some new seat fabric choices and the e-2008 gets a larger 54kWh battery with more power and an increase in driving range from 214 miles to 252 miles.
No supercars this week, but we do have the most powerful Porsche 718 Boxster ever, the new 718 Spyder RS. Packing 500hp and 450Nm from a naturally-aspirated six-cylinder engine, it can hit 62mph in 3.4 seconds and go on to a top speed of 191mph. It’s only available with the Porsche PDK auto box and unlike the Cayman GT4 RS with which it shares much of its character beneath the skin, it has a manually operated single-layer lightweight soft-top that weighs 7.6kg less than the roof on the regular 718 Spyder. There’s loads of clever driver assistance stuff to help you make the most of all that power and it’s available now from £123,000.
Volvo has teased its next electric crossover, the EX30. They say a picture can tell a thousand words, but Volvo released an image that barely tells ten. Fortunately more details will start to come out ahead of the new model’s reveal on 7 June.
On the subject of teasers, Skoda has shown a picture of a car under a cover, exciting stuff. Beneath the fabric is the new Skoda Superb which will be revealed in the autumn. The Volkswagen Group company hasn’t given us any more details but we suspect it will retain the vast space for those in the back seats and probably arrive with plug-in hybrid powertrain choices.
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