From £11,894
The Mito TwinAir sounds great and looks good, but Alfa's claimed 67.3mpg may prove too difficult to touch

Our Verdict

Alfa Romeo Mito

The Alfa Romeo Mito is a usable, fun package, but the DNA system frustrates

18 July 2012

What is it?

Alfa Romeo has broadened the appeal of its Mito model by adding Fiat's very own 875cc turbocharged TwinAir engine to the line-up.

As a recap, the two-cylinder engine - previously only available on the Fiat 500, Punto and Panda - produces up to 84bhp and, when fitted to the Alfa, achieves a claimed economy figure of 67.3mpg with 98g/km CO2 tailpipe emissions.

Alfa Romeo estimates that the new TwinAir model will make up 38 per cent of Mito sales and hopes to attract a new wave of customers; those for whom the Fiat 500 TwinAir is too small, so says Alfa.

What's it like?

Fitting the Alfa Romeo Mito with a TwinAir unit certainly has its advantages. For one, the car now sounds brilliant under heavy throttle loads and accelerates particularly smoothly all the way to its 108mph top speed.

As we're used to now, this Alfa features the firm's DNA setup, which allows the driver to choose between Dynamic, Normal and All-weather driving modes; D weights up the steering and engages the TwinAir's full 84bhp and 107lb ft, while N and A limit the car's power to 78bhp and 77lb ft.

Driven on the motorway, the Mito TwinAir settles into a steady 70mph cruise at 3000rpm. The engine offers flexible performance and NVH levels are very good; much has been done to the engine to ensure its smoothness including fitting a 'state-of-the-art flywheel', according to the Italian marque.

Opting between each of the car's driver settings (D, N and A) is no longer a guessing game of how the car has altered its personality. Flick the car into D and the Mito TwinAir's steering weights up instantly and the extra 6bhp and 30lb ft surge makes progress more sporting. The car's engine note also becomes raspier and louder, if a little intrusive into the cabin. N and A driving modes feel too restrained for motorway conditions and B-road blasts, being better suited to the city.

In D-mode and driven on twisty tarmac, the Mito turns in keenly, but does suffer from understeer when pushed; the Mito's front-end is some 10 per cent lighter than a four-pot equivalent Mito and this shows. Steering is also on the numb side and offers little driver feedback. That said, body roll is kept in check.

The six-speed gearbox doesn't inspire quick shifts (something you'll be doing lots of up hills) thanks to a soggy-feeling gear transition, not helped by the car's long gearstick.

Inside the TwinAir's cabin, the seating position is good thanks to plenty of adjustment to the seats and the steering wheel. Our test car came in Distinctive trim, plus optional tinsel including leather seats, an upgraded stereo and dual zone climate control.

Should I buy one?

Our test route involving mixed driving conditions (mainly motorway and B-roads in both D and N driving modes) revealed that you'll have to tread particularly carefully to achieve anywhere near the quoted 67.3mpg figure; in fact, 29.1mpg was our test car's verdict. Of course with a run-in engine (this one had only 700 miles down) and a light right foot, up to 40mpg should be achievable.

The Mito does, however, sound great, look good and is road tax and London Congestion Charge exempt. BIK, too, is just 10 per cent, some way better than its Audi A1, Mini and Citroen DS3 competitors at 13 per cent.

Alex Kertsen

Alfa Romeo Mito TwinAir

Price: £15,350, as tested £17,795; 0-62mph: 12.5sec; Top speed: 108mph; Economy: 67.3mpg (combined); CO2: 98g/km; Kerb weight: 1130kg; Engine: 2cyls, 875cc, turbocharged; Power: 84bhp at 5500rpm; Torque: 107lb ft at 2000rpm; Gearbox: 6-speed manual

Join the debate

Comments
32

18 July 2012

I am truely impressed. when i started reading i wondered if Autocar would have got the economy down into the 30s for this wierd little engine, but you have excelled yourselves. 29!

I get more than that from an S2000! And that would be subject to over £400 road tax if based on the same system as the tax free Alfa.

Do Autocar issue an award to the engineers who have tricked the EU tests by the greatest margin? If so the Fiat engineers of this set up must be on to a sure thing.

18 July 2012

I used to average 27mpg from a twin turbo BMW 335i and easily managed 35mpg on a motorway cruise!  An average of 29mpg from this test is shocking and, even with a light right foot, 40 mpg is very poor.

19 July 2012

ewanmac76 wrote:

I used to average 27mpg from a twin turbo BMW 335i and easily managed 35mpg on a motorway cruise!  An average of 29mpg from this test is shocking and, even with a light right foot, 40 mpg is very poor.

I quite agree - this figure alone would mark the car down to a one star rating straight away in my book. Autocar need to get real instead of just discounting these sort of factors.


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

18 July 2012

These tiny capacity turbo petrols will never get anywhere near their claimed mpg, and it's not even as if you're getting extra performance for the extra consumption.

I'm sure it's the lack of torque that kills economy in the real world.

Maybe they could add cylinder deactivation to make it a one cylinder (like a dumper truck) and then the official combined mpg would be in the 100's!

24 July 2012

I've been waiting for this car to come out for some time,lets get the fuel consumtion out of the way first by saying who in their right mind cares. What we've got is a wonderfully revvy engine with a sound that under acceleration must be heard to be believed,truly amazing if the MiTo only did 20mpg I'd still take pleasure in owning one. Sometimes you have to remember that the MiTo is first and formost a car for someone who enjoys the sheer pleasure of driving rather than counting the cost of driving leave that to people who put a cost to everything yet know the worth of nothing

25 July 2012

ianp55 wrote:

I've been waiting for this car to come out for some time,lets get the fuel consumtion out of the way first by saying who in their right mind cares. What we've got is a wonderfully revvy engine with a sound that under acceleration must be heard to be believed,truly amazing if the MiTo only did 20mpg I'd still take pleasure in owning one. Sometimes you have to remember that the MiTo is first and formost a car for someone who enjoys the sheer pleasure of driving rather than counting the cost of driving leave that to people who put a cost to everything yet know the worth of nothing

See toptidy's post above.

18 July 2012

I think it looks brilliant, especially with those great engines.

18 July 2012

A 700 mile engine will never show representitive performance or economy

I have a FIAT 500 Twinair and it takes 1,500 miles at least, for the engine to start giving its best and thrashing it for 20 miles when new will never give good economy. I understand that the engine is mapped to give a "running in" period for the first 1,000 miles.

I average 44 with the FIAT over mixed driving conditions, over 50MPG is achieveable, but I want to actually get there!

I went over the Wrynose and Hardnott passes at the weekend and the economy was hardly affected, the different noise this engine makes made everyone turn around to see what was coming!

The oeverall review is better than I expected from Autocar

18 July 2012

I have a Passat 2.0 Tdi 4motion estate (not exciting but I live in a snowy part of the UK).

It averages 46 mpg mixed and will do easily high 50's if driven like a vicar.

'50 MPG' possible still doesn't sound great.

18 July 2012

TeutonicDiesel wrote:

I have a Passat 2.0 Tdi 4motion estate (not exciting but I live in a snowy part of the UK).

It averages 46 mpg mixed and will do easily high 50's if driven like a vicar.

'50 MPG' possible still doesn't sound great.

Quite. My 1.5 tonne VX Astra Tourer (160) gave me 56.3mpg on my 42 mile commute this morning (reckon 60mpg is just about poss) - albeit, it has done 24,000 miles. 

 

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