Junior Alfa born again
Alfa’s suave super-mini has a sporty look, writes MICHAEL TAYLOR in Italy
REMEMBER the Alfasud? Then you’ll cheer the arrival of the Mi.To from Alfa Romeo. The car is all new and, though expected to be called Junior, it bears the Mi.To badge.
The name is a contraction of Milan and Torino, the Italian cities in which the car was designed and will be built.
The Mi-To is a new-age supermini, a lot like the born-again Fiat 500 and Mini, and will springboard Alfa back into the United States.
Sitting below the current 147 fivedoor, it will be launched in Europe in late June, though Australian buyers will have to wait until early next year. Right-hand-drive production will not start until late this year.
The advent of the Mi.To suggests future Alfas will move away from the aggressive overhanging eyebrow style of the 159 to reflect the swooping, curving character of the 8C Competizione.
It will arrive with a range of fourcylinder engines, petrol and turbodiesel.
A petrol turbo version is closely related to the Fiat Grande Punto’s Abarth motor.
The rorty-sounding engine has been retuned with Alfa parts and an Alfa exhaust and exhaust note.
Insiders also hint at a Mi.To GTA with a 1.8-litre turbo and even a 2.0-litre version.
The Mi.To owes its life to Fiat’s Grande Punto, which continues to set sales records in Europe and helped Fiat back to profitability.
That means the car will sit on a 2510mm wheelbase— long for a car of this size — which promises comfortable rear seating in a compact 4060mm body.
It is 30mm longer than the Grande Punto and 50mm lower, largely to give it a sportier stance. It is only 1440mm high and 1720mm wide.
Mi.To engineers had to heavily modify the chassis of the more costfocused Grande Punto to accept the Alfa’s sportier role.
Besides changing much of its core engineering, Alfa has fitted a threemode electronic system to govern the engine, brakes, steering, suspension and gearbox. Called Alfa DNA, the system allows drivers to choose between dynamic and normal. Alfa has added a mode for low-grip conditions.
The suspension will still be based on the limited sporting capacity of the Grande Punto’s cheap torsionbar rear axle, but Alfa insists it will be improved by a roll-reduction system and the latest electronic stability control system.
It will head a line-up including the replacement for the 147, which is on track to arrive in the middle of next year with a five-door hatch as the only body.
Though it will be significantly larger than the Mi.To and will continue its styling themes, it will still be based off the same underbody. This means that, for Alfa to fill all bases, the Mi.To will spawn a five-door hatch, sedan, wagon and even a convertible.
Swoops and curves: the Alfa Romeo Mi.To will give Americans a new touch of Italian class and come to Australia early next year.