Alpine design boss Antony Villain on the A290

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Car Design News caught up with Alpine head of design, Antony Villain, to learn more about the tough second album that was the A290

Alpine recently lifted the covers off its newest addition to the portfolio since relaunching with the A110 sports car. Now, it has a hatchback in the family, sharing the AmpR Small platform of the new Renault 5 but with very different characteristics beyond that. Firstly, this is marketed squarely as a hot hatch, if not a sportscar in a hatchback’s body. 

Indeed, proportions are textbook hot hatch, if not boy racer. Stocky, low to the ground and despite its diminutive stature, menacing in appearance. Almost like a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. But like the terrier, there is more than meets the eye. This is fully electric, meaning it will be quiet, comfortable and efficient during normal everyday use, and the interior has been decked out with the usual creature comforts expected of a modern car. 

But it is the outside that immediately catches the eye, of course, and how could it not. Those X-marked spotlights on the front mask feel absolutely on the money and hark back to the fog lights fitted to rally cars – marked with black tape to help prevent cracks. Head of design Antony Villain tells Car Design News that although it feels very intentional, the truth is that this was more about practicality and meeting regulations for exterior lighting. 

“One of the challenges was that…

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