Beneath styling inspired by Alfa's 8C Competizione supercar sits a reworked Punto/Corsa platform. As with other Mitos, the Cloverleaf is front-wheel drive and rides on MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam at the back. Even the Cloverleaf’s 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder 16-value engine is basically the same unit that powers all petrol Mitos.
However, much has changed in the details. The most interesting is Multiair, in essence a form of variable valve timing working on the inlet. The difference with Multiair is that the system is electro-hydraulic, rather than purely mechanical, which allows for far greater control. Whereas most conventional variable valve timing systems switch between two settings, Multiair has five, one of which opens and closes the inlet valves twice in a single cycle. It can also operate different strategies on a cylinder-by-cylinder basis.
The result, says Alfa, is 12 percent more power, 11 percent less CO2 and a 10 percent drop in fuel consumption for the Multiair 135 (which replaces the TB120). For the Cloverleaf, which replaces the TB155, read 10 percent more power, nine per cent less CO2 and an eight per cent fall in consumption. Multiair-equipped Mitos also benefit from stop-start technology.
The Cloverleaf is the only Mito to receive adjustable dampers. The active system fitted to the Cloverleaf (Synaptic Damping Control) uses electrically controlled valves to adjust the damping force automatically based on readings from five sensors. It can also be adjusted manually from the cabin using the DNA switch. The Cloverleaf is also the only Mito to get revised mapping for the electrically assisted steering, again controlled by DNA.
Although the old TB155 had a gearbox with six ratios (lower-powered Mitos have five), it wasn’t an especially enjoyable gearbox to use. However, the Cloverleaf comes with an all-new six-speed gearbox that will also appear in other Alfa models.
One other technical revision to the Mito range not represented on the Cloverleaf but available on the Multiair 135 is the option of a twin-clutch six-speed automatic gearbox.