Alfa Romeo MiTo


Debut: 2008
Maker: Alfa Romeo
Predecessor: no



 Published on 29 Jun 2008 All rights reserved. 
Alfa's first supermini targets at Mini

After Brera, this is another Alfa Romeo named after a place - well, two places actually - Milan (where the car is designed) and Torino (or Turin, where it is produced). MiTo is Alfa Romeo's first entry into the B-segment, a class including its target rival Mini and its platform donor Fiat Grande Punto, among others. This is a big market segment that Alfa Romeo used to omit. Expanding to this segment will get at least 70,000 additional orders a year and help Alfa meeting its sales target of 300,000 units by 2010, provided it won't steal sales from the aging 147.

Although Fiat Grande Punto provides a solid basis for MiTo, Alfa still needed to differentiate itself from the bread-and-butter Fiat. A great design certainly helps. Alfa Romeo design center did a great job to style the MiTo like a supermini version of its 8C Competizione supercar. Look at those flowing surfaces and the dramatic front end design elements (which apparently link to the classic Giulietta Sprint and Zagato), or the jewel effect headlamps and taillights, who can resist its temptation ? Especially in red, the MiTo delivers greater visual impact than any other cars in the supermini segment.

A supermini version of 8C Competizione ?

Inside, the cabin design is less special, although material quality, fit and finish seems a good match to Mini. You can opt for a carbon-fiber-like dash trimming and great-looking leather seats. As expected, the rear seat is a little cramped by class standard and the boot is small.

The baby Alfa shares many underpinnings and identical wheelbase with Grande Punto, but there are also a lot of enhancement. Its smooth bodyshell returns a lower drag coefficient (0.29 vs 0.31). It has 10 mm wider tracks and a lower roof to enhance maneuverability. Its suspensions employ stiffer springs and new dampers incorporating rebound springs for better control. Its steering has faster ratio. Its brakes are uprated.

Material quality, fit and finish seems a good match to Mini...

Then there are countless of electronic driving aids: VDC stability control, ASR traction control, Q2 electronic brake differential (which applies braking on individual front wheels to simulate the effect of LSD), DST dynamic steering torque (which applies assisting torque to the steering wheel to help correcting under/oversteer)... Above them is an integrated control system interestingly called "DNA", which offers 3 driving modes (Dynamic, Normal and All-weather) for the driver to select. Each mode alters the setting of the aforementioned electronic driving aids as well as throttle response, steering assistance and overboost function to the turbocharged engine. It sounds very upmarket.

Remarkable dynamics except the steering...

As in other Fiat models, MiTo offers a wide range of competitive engines - 78hp 1.4 8V, 95hp 1.4 16V, 120hp 1.4 turbo and 155hp 1.4 turbo petrol, 90hp 1.3JTDM and 120hp 1.6JTDM diesel. Our pick of the range is certainly the 155hp 1.4-liter turbo. It is the same as the one employed by Grande Punto Abarth. Maximum torque of 152 lb-ft is reached at only 2000 rpm, boosting real-world performance as well as fuel economy. Should you need more, switch the DNA control to Dynamic mode and you will have an overboost to 170 lb-ft some 1000 rpm later. It takes only 7.6 seconds to go from 0-60 mph. (If that is still not enough, then you will have to wait for the GTA version, whose 1.8-liter turbo engine employs an innovative continuous variable valve lift to achieve a fearsome 230 horsepower)

1.4-liter turbo comes from FIAT Grande Punto Abarth

On the road, the 1.4 turbocharged engine is excellent, being punchy from the mid-range and willing at the top end. The MiTo feels quick and lively. Its handling is also competent - grippy, little body roll, resistant to understeer and good brakes. Ride quality and refinement is good except over big bumps. Everything meets our expectation for a modern sporty premium hatchback... except the steering, which is a big let down. Fiat group's electrical power steering has never been famous for communication. Now further complicated by the DST - like BMW's notorious Active Steer - and DNA, the steering gets even more wooden. There is virtually no feel in straight ahead position, and barely the slightest feel at lock. Sadly, the baby Alfa could have shot to the top spot of our supermini chart, but this poor steering setup ruined the chance.
Verdict: 
 Published on 30 Oct 2009 All rights reserved. 
MiTo Cloverleaf and Multiair engines
From twin-cam to twin-spark, then JTS (direct-injection) and finally Multiair, Alfa Romeo's engine technology has moved increasingly from performance to environment-oriented. For sure, Multiair variable valve timing and lift is a revolutionary technology. Everybody wants to have higher degree of control on valve operation than today's VVT / VVL systems. However, no one else has thought of using a hydraulic linkage and a solenoid valve to realize that. It is simple, space-saving and cost effective. It is easily compatible with existing engines. Best of all, it improves horsepower, low-down torque and fuel economy by 10%, 15% and 10% respectively.

In this way, Alfa Romeo produced a trio of 1.4-liter Multiair engines for Mito – 105hp without turbo, 135hp with light turbo and 170hp with large turbo. The latter achieves a spectacular 124 horsepower per liter yet 46 mpg European combined consumption – partly thanks to the new automatic start-stop function. Even with that high specific output, the Multiair engine displays virtually no turbo lag, thanks to the strong low-end response of the Multiair technology. FIAT achieves what Volkswagen's 1.4 twin-charger engine did without its additional cost.

Multiair delivers strong output and low consumption, but an important quality is missing...

However, there is an important quality missing from the Multiair engine – the thrilling character of traditional Alfa Romeo engines. Because Multiair has a single camshaft instead of two, in addition to the extra friction and inertia in the electrohydraulic linkage, it can never rev to 7000 rpm like the great Alfa twin-cam / twin-spark of the old. In fact, the Multiair engine gives little reward after 5000 rpm, so you are no longer tempted to stretch its rev. Aurally, it is no match with the old twin-cam / twin-spark too. No matter you like or not, the call for low-carbon economy is going to change the motoring world forever, sadly.

The Mito equipped with the 170hp Multiair engine is called "Quadrifoglio verde" (translate to "green cloverleaf" according to Google). In English-speaking countries, it is simply called Mito Cloverleaf. Apart from the hotter engine, this car also gets a brand-new 6-speed manual gearbox, an electronic adaptive damping (linked to the DNA control system which provides four driving modes), retuned suspension and steering, and a set of nice looking 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped with 215/45 tires.

On the road, you will find the new gearbox slick and sweet. The steering weighs more consistently than before, if still short of real communication. Adaptive damping smoothens its ride on broken surfaces while tightens body movement in corners, so its combination of handling and ride is considerably better than other Mitos. As before, there is plenty of grip from the front wheels, and the Q2 electronic (pseudo) differential works well to prevent wheelspin in tight corners. The Mito is fool-proof to drive on whatever roads. On the downside, its chassis lacks interaction with the driver, so it fails to entertain keen drivers like Renault Sport Clio Cup. Neither does it offer the raw excitement of the hardcore Abarth Punto SS.

At the mean time, Cloverleaf replaces the outgoing 1.4TB as the hottest Mito. Alfa Romeo originally planned to introduce a 230hp GTA as range topper. Unfortunately, that plan has been postponed due to economic recession. Facing strong rivals like Clio RS, Punto Abarth and Mini Cooper S, Mito Cloverleaf won't find its life easy, despite of that brilliant engine.
Verdict:
 Published on 22 Jul 2012 All rights reserved. 
MiTo TwinAir


Instead of a mid-life facelift, Alfa Romeo celebrates the 4th birthday of MiTo with a new engine: TwinAir. The 875 cc twin-cylinder Multiair-valve-controlled turbocharged engine has been introduced to Fiat 500, 500L, Punto and Lancia Ypsilon already. However, the installation to Alfa MiTo is the best yet. Why? Firstly, this latest version is improved with dual-mass flywheel (like the recent Punto TwinAir) to reduce a large part of its inherent vibration, so it feels refined enough for most of the time. Secondly, the characterful twin-cylinder thrum is a perfect match to the fun character of Alfa Romeo, just like how the old boxer engines enhanced the appeal of Alfasud. It complements the lack of aural appeal on the four-cylinder Multiair engines. Lastly, the TwinAir brings class-leading green figures of 67.3 mpg and 98 g/km of CO2. Even though it is impossible to replicate the figures in real world, they warrant low tax rate and pollution charges in most European countries.

The 85-horsepower motor offers limited performance – 108 mph top speed and nearly 12 seconds to go from 0-60 mph – but in regular driving conditions it feels quite brisk, thanks to a maximum torque of 107 pound-foot. For overtaking, it is vital to keep the engine revving at its strongest power band of 2000-3500 rpm. You will also need to switch the DNA control to Dynamic mode, which releases the full power and a sportier exhaust note by the way. In less demanding conditions, Normal mode's 78 hp and 81 lbft output is more than sufficient to maintain progress. It smoothens the power delivery and helps cutting fuel consumption. Aside from some noticeable vibration observed in idle and near 5000 rpm redline, the TwinAir motor is pretty smooth. Only the off-beat exhaust note reminds you a twin-cylinder engine is hanging at the nose. Highway cruising is refined, too, as the engine registers only 3000 rpm at 70 mph.



The TwinAir engine is a few dozen kilograms lighter than its four-pot equivalent. This reflects in the car's keener turn-in. Otherwise, it drives with the same manner of other MiTos. The electric power steering is very quick but devoid of feel. Good grip and body control are accompanied with a hard ride and excessive noise. It is not as polished as an Audi A1 or Citroen DS3, but if all you ask is raw fun, the Alfa has plenty to satisfy you, especially now accompanied with a characterful exhaust note.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
MiTo 1.6JTDM
2008
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4063 / 1721 / 1446 mm
2511 mm
Inline-4, diesel
1598 cc
DOHC 16 valves
VTG turbo
CDI
120 hp
236 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
195/55R16
1205 kg
123 mph (c)
9.3 (c)
-
MiTo 1.4 Turbo
2008
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4063 / 1721 / 1446 mm
2511 mm
Inline-4
1368 cc
DOHC 16 valves
Turbo
-
155 hp
152 lbft (overboost 170 lbft)
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
195/55R16
1145 kg
134 mph (c)
7.7*
23.3*
MiTo 1.4 Multiair
2009
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4063 / 1721 / 1446 mm
2511 mm
Inline-4
1368 cc
SOHC 16 valves, VVT+VVL
-
-
105 hp
96 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
195/55R16
1090 kg
116 mph (c)
10.1 (c)
-




Performance tested by: *Autocar





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
MiTo 1.4 Multiair Turbo
2009
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4063 / 1721 / 1446 mm
2511 mm
Inline-4
1368 cc
SOHC 16 valves, VVT+VVL
Turbo
-
135 hp
152 lbft
5-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
195/55R16
1135 kg
129 mph (c)
7.9 (c)
-
MiTo Cloverleaf
2009
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4063 / 1721 / 1446 mm
2511 mm
Inline-4
1368 cc
SOHC 16 valves, VVT+VVL
Turbo
-
170 hp / 5500 rpm
184 lbft / 2500 rpm
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
Adaptive damping
215/45R17
1145 kg
135 mph (c)
7.2 (c)
-
MiTo TwinAir
2012
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4063 / 1721 / 1446 mm
2511 mm
Inline-2
875 cc
SOHC 8 valves, VVT+VVL
Turbo
-
85 hp
107 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
Adaptive damping
195/55R16
1055 kg
108 mph (c)
11.8 (est)
-




Performance tested by: -





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