Wednesday, 18 July 2012 3:52 PM
Now you can have your Alfa Mito with Fiat’s award-winning TwinAir engine for sub-100g/km CO2 motoring, that equals zero road tax and ducks under the London congestion charge. There are plenty of tax benefits for fleet drivers, too. This attractive supermini just got more eco-eye-catching.
The 875cc, 85bhp, twin-cylinder, turbocharged TwinAir petrol engine is an entirely different driving-feel proposition than what you’ll be used to with the more usual 4-cylinder engines, or indeed the more recent crop of small 3-cylinder powerplants. It’s different alright, but you have to try it.
And that’s what we’re doing today on the road and on a very tight and twisting go-kart track. Sounds racy, but the Mito TwinAir is all about the frugal side of life with a quoted combined economy of 67.3mpg to go with its 98g/km CO2 rating.
Alfa Romeo Mito TwinAir first drive review
The Alfa Mito has been with us for nearly three years now, so we’re all used to its cheeky face and rolling curves, and while the Mito has done more than its fair share to attract new, and younger buyers to the Alfa badge, this new TwinAir model with its group 9 insurance rating, lower running costs (18,000 mile serviced intervals and a ‘forever’ cam-chain, not cam-belt), and tax-dodging eco-credentials, are all part of Alfa’s plan to keep the youngsters and females attracted to the famously evocative Italian marque.
The Biancospino White Mito – in more expensive Distinctive trim; from £15,350 – pictured here is particularly handsome in its off-white overcoat and classic ‘teledial’ 17-inch dark-finish alloys. This car’s leather seats and carbon fibre-effect trim are also particularly pleasant.
Into the interior:
Of course, the more money you send on your Mito, the more toys you’ll enjoy, but Alfa have tried to spec these latest Mitos with as much kit as budget would allow, and they challenge Mito test-drivers to compare like-for-like spec on the competitors’ cars to see who gets the best haul.
Here we have pictured the fabric seats, as found in the Sprint trim level Mito - priced from £14,150 - as well as the lovely leather numbers as found in the Distinctive Mito; from £15,350.
Both seat types certainly look the part and with good adjustment all-round – and very generous reach from the steering wheel – I found a comfortable driving position in both trim-type Mitos. The car’s up-curving roofline also helps in terms of headroom and a general feel of the airy about the interior space.
There is the odd chunk of harder-to-touch plastic here and there, but it in general, I’d say that the Mito’s interior is about where it should be in terms of design, space and materials for this market segment. There’s also a distinct lack of clutter to the inner space.
As I’ve said, if you haven’t driven a TwinAir-powered car and fancy a low-CO2 Mito, then try out the Mito TwinAir for sure.
It’s a turbocharged twin that makes a good chunk of its torque at the bottom of the rev range and, as such, needs to be driven with early gear up-shifts in mind if you want to try and match Alfa’s quoted combined economy of over 60mpg. Rev a small-capacity engine hard and you’ll hit the economy hard. So, Mito TwinAir requires a change in driving style but it’s a satisfying little motor with a character all its own.
There’s a deep, slow thrum from the two-piston, 825cc engine, and it’ll hit its rev-limit just before the displayed 6k limit, and from that point will make no more power. Indeed, working with the in-dash shift indictor will have you changing gear way before the redline; taking advantage of the very early torque delivery from TwinAir.
It’s a thrumy rather than fizzy power delivery, but this early torque and 6-speed manual gearbox are very easy to use around town and this Mito will cruise merrily at 70mph on the motorway with just an endearing little bass note coming from the engine bay. Top speed here is a quick-enough 108mph, while 62mph comes and goes in 12.5secs.
The TwinAir engine is some 10 per cent lighter than a similar-power 4-cylinder engine and that benefits this Mito with a lighter-of-foot feel to the turn in, and bodyroll is certainly not too wobbly.
Mito TwinAir drove smoothly and quietly on the road and also impressed on the go kart track; using it’s Dynamic driving mode for less ESP intervention that bought extra tyre squeal and wider driving smiles. Maximum torque for the TwinAir engine is 145Nm, and that’s enough to get this little car merrily motoring.
There are two other driving modes that affect steering weight; torque and horsepower; and tweaks to the ESP. Natural is for everyday use with an eco-flavour and All Weather does what it says on the tin.
But, it’s less about the thrash, and more about the cruising if you want to maximise your Mito TwinAir’s mpg. Alfa say over 60mpg, but I found an average of around mid to late 30s. Learning to drive with that early torque and early shifts should see into the 40s, mind.
Ten second sum up:
The new Alfa Romeo TwinAir brings that all-important sub-100g/km CO2 motoring to the Mito range – although there is a sub-100g diesel in the range – and while it’s a totally different power delivery to what you may be used to, it’s attractive and endearing in soundtrack and character. A good match for the nippy, slightly naughty-looking Mito.
Prices and availability:
The Alfa Romeo Mito TwinAir range starts at £14,150 for the Distinctive trim, and will be in dealers by the end of the month. Available to order now.
Alfa Romeo Mito with TwinAir power, seen here in Sprint trim, with Ametista Black paint. Priced from £14,150
Standard 16-inch alloys
Fabric seats look the part
It's all about the TwinAir power for sub-100g/km CO2 motoring
Mito seen here in more expensive Distinctive trim, in Biancospino White paint. Priced from £15,350
Naked TwinAir engine. It's lighter and more compact than a 4-cylinder
By Daniel Anslow
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