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.
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