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New tech comes to Alfa's MiTo

2010-05-28 08:48

Sergio Davids

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Alfa Romeo
Model MiTo MultiAir
Engine 1.4 MultiAir turbo petrol
Power 100kW @ 5000r/min; 125kW @ 5500r/min
Torque 206Nm @ 1750r/min; 250Nm @ 2500r/min
Transmission five-speed manual; six-speed manual
Zero To Hundred 8.4seconds; 7.5seconds
Top Speed 207km/h; 219km/h
Fuel Tank 45l
Fuel Consumption 5.6l/100km ; 6l/100km
Steering Power steering
Front Suspension McPherson strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam
Service Intervals 30 000Km
Warranty Three-year/100 000km
Price R227 900 ; R264 000
 In light of most brands considering their carbon footprints and stricter emission controls, Alfa Romeo has taken the technological route to overcoming emissions by creating a new engine for its MiTo range. Alfa has introduced a new environmentally-friendly MultiAir unit with the launch of its updated MiTo range in South Africa.

The MultiAir system takes precise control of the air drawn into the cylinders in the combustion cycle. While there are numerous variable valve timing systems currently in production, the degree of flexibility they can exercise in the valve opening schedules has been questioned.

MultiAir meters the direct air charge at the cylinder inlet ports with an advanced electro-hydraulic actuation and control system and the resultant ability to optimally adjust valve timing and lift between them to suit different engine speeds ensures strong low and mid-range torque and top-end power.

Apart from the new engines, Alfa Romeo has also made modifications to the MiTo’s steering, suspension and braking systems as well as bringing back their Quadrofoglio Verde heritage in the form of a range topping 120kW model.

We drove both the 100kW Progression and top of the range 125kW MultiAir versions on the media launch.

New MiTo range

The MiTo's new range of MultiAir engines is based on the Fiat Group’s existing 1.4-litre engine. The 114 kW 1.4 Distinctive that formed the original MiTo line-up at launch, is now flanked on either side by MultiAir-engined versions in the guise of the “entry-level” 100kW Progression and the top-of-the-range 125kW Quadrofoglio Verde model.

It may be the entry level model but the Progression variant is by no means stripped down in terms of kit. On the exterior, Progression features 16-inch alloys and colour-coded mirrors, while the range-topper features a rear diffuser, fog lights and Quadrofoglio Verde branding.

Inside the cabin, Progression mimics the Distinctive variant save for its standard Sprint fabric upholstery. Controls are arranged for intuitive use and there’s plenty of headroom and space for rear passengers. The red leather trim option is fantastic, although Alfa could have done a lot more with the grey plastic dashboard control panel - a few chrome touches would have gone a long way.
Standard safety and dynamic features across both models include seven airbags, traction control, stability control, ABS with EBD and Hill Holder, Q2 electronic diff and a Dynamic Steering Torque system. It goes without saying that electric windows/mirrors, remote central locking, stereo controls on the leather steering wheel and manual climate control are standard on both models as well.

Driving the Quadrofoglio Verde will definitely put a smile on your face, but the entry-level version still holds its own as a sprightly vehicle that’s as fun to drive as it is suited for city driving.

Across the range, these MiTos carry their DNA in three distinct modes: Dynamic (sport mode with stiffer suspension), Normal (City driving) and All-weather (for maximum grip).

The Cloverleaf returns

The “Quadrifoglio Verde” (QV) is an iconic symbol dear to Alfa aficionados and speaks of the brands motorsport heritage. In homage to Alfa’s racing heritage, the flagship 125kW MiTo features the cloverleaf logos and 17-inch exclusive titanium-finish alloy wheels – similar to those on the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione.

Mated to a six-speed manual transmission with smooth and rapid gearshifts, the QV produces 125 kW at 5 500r/min and is supported by up to 250 Nm of torque at 2 500r/min.

The 125kW model is performance oriented and features a rear spoiler and diffuser-style rear bumper, along with red painted brake calipers. Inside there is not much difference between the Progression and Distinctive variants except for the cloth trim and illuminated sports dials.

The 125kW MiTo is a pleasure to drive with brisk acceleration and superb handling. The new active suspension system translates into a very dynamic and responsive vehicle while still offering a comfortable ride. Fuel consumption for this model is a claimed 6 l/100km on the combined cycle.

Apart from the cloverleaf branding and dual tailpipes there is very little between the three models unless you take into consideration the customisable options.

The 100kW Mito faces off stiff competition from the likes of the popular Mini Cooper and newcomer Citroen’s DS3. The Quadrofoglio Verde version will also have its work cut out for it competing against the likes of the DS3’s 1.6 THP Sport and the Mini Cooper S. Though it manages to trump its rivals in terms of power, it is the more expensive option with the entry-level MiTo costing a full R20 000 more than the rival DS3.

The MiTo range also features an emission-reducing Start&Stop system as standard on both MultiAir models. The Start&Stop system will switch off the car when you’re in neutral and immediately switch it back when you select a gear. However, I found the function would not activate if certain electronics in the MiTo were being used such as the air-conditioning or window wipers.


Alfa Romeo has taken a similar approach to Citroen when it recently launched its DS3 in South Africa by adding a plethora of customisable options to the MiTo MultiAir range. Some of the options include roof and side graphics, body colours and a variety of surrounds for the front and rear headlights.


1.4 MultiAir 100 kW Progression – R227 900
1.4 114 kW Distinctive – R245 200
1.4 MultiAir 125 kW Quadrofoglio Verde – R264 000

The MiTo MultiAir comes with a three-year/100 000 km warranty as well as a five-year/ 90 000 km service plan.


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