1 Jul 2009
ALFA ROMEO entered the burgeoning premium baby market defined by the BMW Mini with the MiTo (an amalgam of Italian automotive cities Milano and Torino) in July 2008.
Replacing the long-lived 147 three-door hatch in Australia, the MiTo arrived in two well-specified models – the standard and Sport.
No automatic gearbox option was offered from launch.
The MiTo was built off the Fiat Grand Punto platform that also underpinned the Opel Corsa in Europe to make it the smallest Alfa Romeo since the Alfasud subsided in the mid-1980s.
Punto-based engines sat beneath the MiTo bonnet, with the base 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol unit producing 88kW of power at 5000rpm and 206Nm of torque at 1750rpm, while the livelier 1.4-litre version in the Sport delivered 114kW at 5500rpm and 230Nm at 3000rpm.
The base MiTo made do with a five-speed manual gearbox while the Sport got a six-speed manual.
The MiTo debuted Alfa Romeo’s three-setting DNA switch, which adjusts the throttle response and steering sharpness, and benefit from a new system called Electronic Q2, which claimed to simulate a self-locking limited-slip differential by using the stability control system to slightly brake the inside front wheel when accelerating through a bend.
Other standard equipment included seven airbags, ABS brakes, hill-start assist, air-conditioning, electric windows, cruise control, alarm, 60/40 split-fold rear seats, 16-inch alloy wheels, a leather-bound steering wheel with audio controls steering wheel and reach as well as height adjustment, LED tail-lights, a trip computer and heated electric side mirrors.
As well as having more power, the Sport model came with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic dual-zone climate control system, sports seats, pedals and instrumentation, auto-dipping interior mirror, automatic wipers, fog lights and rear parking sensors.
In July 2010, the hot 125kW Quadrifoglio Verde (cloverleaf) flagship arrived with its innovative MultiAir 1.4-litre petrol engine offering an impressive specific output figure of 92kW per litre. It also debuted idle-stop for the Milanese manufacturer and was offered with active suspension, which also reacted to the position of the DNA switch.
A reshuffle in December 2010 saw The MiTo range kick off with what used to be the Sport's manual-only 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo engine.
Next up was a new 1.4-litre MultiAir turbo-petrol engine which generated less power (99kW) and the same amount of torque (230Nm). Its main advantage was fuel economy, a whole 1.0L/100km more economical than the entry-level engine.
The 99kw MultiAir engine was available with either the six-speed manual or the new twin-clutch TCT automatic transmission.