First look at Alfa's Alfasud spiritual successor
14 March 2008

Alfa Romeo has unveiled the Alfa Mito, a £12,000 sporting supermini that takes it straight back into Alfasud territory. Due to be officially launched in June, the Alfa Mi.To should start reaching buyers in Italy and the largest European left-hand-drive markets from July. UK customers can expect to see it in right-hand-drive just before the end of the year. There’s a good chance it will be shown at London’s motor show in July. The new Alfa Mito, whose use of the first two letters of “Milan” and “Turin” mark the fact that is it designed in the first and built in the second, is based on highly modified Fiat Punto Abarth architecture. There had been much conjecture that the car would be called Junior, a name associated with past Alfas and widely used as a code-name during the car’s gestation. However, Alfa officials believe the tag would not work well in some markets.The Mito, available only as a three-door, has an all-new body design with design cues that refer directly to the Alfa 8C Competizione, which Alfa bosses now call their “icon of style and technology”. This new design style signals the beginning of a new Alfa generation that will grow rapidly as new models (starting with the Golf-sized 149) are launched towards the end of the decade.The exterior style picks up on the 8C’s generously rounded body sections, with round headlights and LED tail lights. It has a deep Alfa shield grille, and arrow-like bonnet swage lines straight from the 8C. The Mito sits on a generous 2510mm wheelbase that promises a roomy rear package. It is around 30mm longer than a Grande Punto at 4.06m, but 50mm lower to stress the low seating position and sporty character. The Mito, one of the market’s biggest superminis, will be launched with a choice of four turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, ranging in power between 90bhp and 155bhp. Alfa insiders aren’t keen to go into details, but the 90bhp unit is almost certain to be an Alfa version of the Fiat Group’s super-frugal 1.3-litre JTD four-cylinder engine, while the top-power launch engine is believed to be a 1.4-litre petrol turbo unit, related to performance versions of the Fiat Punto Abarth and Bravo but with special Alfa-only tuning packages that affect power, response and engine note. Alfa engineers are at pains to stress the different characters of Fiat and Alfa products, which they insist are on divergent courses.Once in production, Alfa is likely to launch a top performance version of the Mito, likely to be badged GTA, which insiders promise will have the most powerful engines in the sector. This promises an output even higher than the 190bhp-plus outputs of the Renault Clio Cup and Vauxhall Corsa VXR, currently the sector’s most powerful cars. Alfa’s entry is almost certain to be a powerful turbo, in line with the rest of the engine range. Alfa Romeo, aware that its past sales have been affected by poor reliability and patchy dealer performance, recently completed a radical overhaul of its own UK importing procedures. The company now has its own inspection centre that actually road tests every car. The company believes the Mito has the potential to lift UK volume from the present 7000 units towards 15,000, with more gains in prospect as extra new models — notably the 147 replacement, called 149 — come on stream. In the heady Alfasud days, Alfa’s UK volume for a time exceeded 30,000 units.

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Comments
7

14 March 2008

Wow, gorgeous, with true Alfa character, making the Audi A1 look even more like a cynical copy of the Mini. This is truly delicious, drawing on the past without it being in any way retro. And they've found a good name for it, too, Furiosa being way too furious and Junior way too my-first-Alfa. Alfa MiTo. Rather than Audi Me-Too.

14 March 2008

Truly Gorgeous. I love it on first sight. Delighted Alfa have managed to make it look better than most of the spyshots/artists impression renderings managed.

I would seriously consider downsizing from a 156 to own one of these!

Just as an aside: I like the name... but in French slang 'Mito' (spelled in exactly this way) is a word to describe someone who lies compulsively.

14 March 2008

Wow! This car looks gorgeous. The Punto is still stunning but this moves the game on. Only the Italians can design cars like this and this could just be the car Alfa needs, especially in the UK. Just hope this is finally an Alfa that drives as well as it looks and challenges the potential and inevitable class leader, the new Fiesta. Even if it didn't i know what i'd prefer and it ain't the Ford.

14 March 2008

A native Italian speaker tells me that "Mito" means 'Myth'.

15 March 2008

There's more....here in Japan, Mito is a sizeable coastal city, roughly the Ipswich of Japan.....

My understanding is that 'Junior', which we all like and would have been the most perfect name for the car, was passed over because after the 500 and 8C Competzione, Fiat management didn't want another retro name.

Seeing as this will be the first Alfa to be built in Turin, so it seems, it's also a politically expedient name for this new Italian Mini rival, one that has the added benefit of looking forward.

Like 'Twingo' which also seemed a bit mad when it appeared, doubtless we'll all soon get used to it, and all the Junior stuff will eventually be forgotten...or will it?

15 March 2008

The latest Alfas are all about looks and this one is no exception. It appears to have had the desired effect already, judging by previous replies.

But, they'll need to concentrate 100% on the driving experience if they're to win conquest sales from Clio and Corsa, especially at the top-end were the competition is particularly fierce.

Looks just ain't enough any more!!

17 March 2008

[quote pdmc]Just as an aside: I like the name... but in French slang 'Mito' (spelled in exactly this way) is a word to describe someone who lies compulsively.[/quote]

I like the looks, just a bit ironic that it's called 'compulsive liar', although I think it will sell well if the dealership experience and reliability are good. It can't fail, IT'S AN ALFA.

I think Junior wouldn't be too retro, but would be a good name to draw on history.

I think it should have been called 'Junior' because 'Mito' sounds a bit silly and just plain weird!

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