2008 Alfa Romeo MiTo
Update: Alfa Romeo's Mi.To hatch has been turning heads for months since several photos of the car leaked ahead of the official reveal. Today the final specifications and a host of new pictures have come out, though U.S. fans will have to wait a bit longer to find out if the model will be coming their way.
The rest of the world will start getting the new hatch in July as the model rolls out gradually across Alfa's various markets. The marque is planning a U.S. return, however, and as American tastes shift rapidly toward smaller cars, the case for bringing the Mi.To along for the ride grows daily.
Key features of the Mi.To lineup include a trio of engines, two petrol and one diesel. Both petrol engines are 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinders, though the entry-level model, at 78hp (58kW) makes roughly half the sport-oriented model's 155hp (114kW). The 1.6L JTDM turbodiesel generates 120hp, placing it right between the two petrol models. All three engines come with six-speed manual gearboxes, though the two more powerful units share one higher torque capacity variant, while the weaker petrol engine gets its own.
Performance figures for the base petrol engine stand at 12.3 seconds for the dash to 100km/h with a top speed of 165km/h. The more potent petrol engine takes the Mi.To to 100km/h in just 8 seconds and on to a top speed of 215km/h, while the diesel model clocks in at 9.9 seconds to 100km/h and 198km/h top speed.
Hot-hatch grade handling should be on tap with a high-tech suspension system including coil-over springs and front McPherson struts though the rear torsion-beam suspension will induce some inside wheel lift on hard cornering, reducing traction.
A full selection of driver aids and safety devices, including full airbags, ABS, ESP, and EBD are standard, as are anti-slip control and steering-angle-sensitive torque limitation to reduce the tendency for torque steer. An on-board breathalyser is also available to prevent accidental drunk driving.
Original: The new Mi.To hatch is already building a fan base on the back of its good looks and sporty potential, and now rumors are circulating that the diminutive hatch is actually the replacement for the smaller end of the 147 line, with the 149 replacement to be five-doors only and targeted more up-market.
Alfa Romeo reportedly wants to sell about 150,000 units annually of both the Mi.To and the 149, to combine for 300,000 units, according to Dutch publication AutoTelegraaf. By splitting the 147 line into the Mi. To and 149, it allows the company to retain existing customers of the range while targeting new ones at both ends of the spectrum. The smaller, more efficient Mi.To can play toward the younger and more urban crowds, while the 149 should scale well with the more affluent and suburban lifestyles.
Engines for the two lines are thought to be similarly bifurcated, with the 3-door only Mi.To getting a series of small and efficient turbocharged diesel and petrol mills rated from 95hp to 165hp, plus a possible 1.8L range-topper rated near 230hp for a rumored GTA model. The up-scale 149, on the other hand, is expected to receive a range of engines starting at a smallish 120hp four-cylinder up to a 3.2L V6 good for 265hp.
The Mi.To will be officially introduced to the world in June of this year, with sales slowly ramping up from July in all of Alfa's major markets. The 149 is expected to follow a similar schedule in 2009.