The top Alfa Romeo Mito variant is the Veloce hot hatch model. Jonathan Crouch checks it out.
The famous Quadrifoglio Verde badge is not one that Alfa Romeo uses lightly. Reserved for Alfa models with real sporting intent, it's a symbol that has gained genuine respect in the automotive world down the years. Today, it features on the MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde, a car that adheres closely to Alfa Romeo's sporting traditions while also providing a glimpse into its high tech future.
Ten Second Review
Alfa now uses a 'Veloce' badge for this high performance version of its Mito supermini. With 170bhp from its highly advanced 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, the car is no slouch but 47mpg combined economy helps keep costs under control too. Active suspension features amongst a long list of high-tech systems.
Though the fastest version of Alfa Romeo's Mito no longer wears an evocative 'Quadrifoglio Verde' cloverleaf badge, its still as desirable as before, complete with 170bhp 1.4-litre MultiAir turbo engine and advanced Alfa TCT paddleshift auto transmission. This is the car the Mito was always destined to be.
Before the hottest version of the Mito came on the scene, the last Alfa Romeo that you would definitely classify as a hot hatchback was the 147 GTA. That car crammed Alfa's charismatic 3.2-litre V6 engine into the compact 147 family hatch and channelled its 250bhp directly to front wheels. With none of the clever suspension and stability control technology that have been developed more recently to keep powerful front wheel drive cars going where you point them, the GTA didn't really add up. It was a wild and largely ungratifying showing from a car that now resembles a Neanderthal's club next to the high precision sniper rifle of the MiTo Veloce. Power for the Mito Veloce comes from Alfa's hugely impressive 1.4-litre MultiAir petrol engine. In this guise, the unit uses a turbocharger to enhance the power generated by its advanced combustion process and the end result is 170bhp. There's 250Nm of torque as well, helping this Latin hot hatch to a 0-62mph sprint time of 7.3s and a 136mph top speed. That's pretty good going for a 1.4-litre supermini.
Design and Build
Already one of the more exciting superminis to look at, the Mito is only going to attract more attention in Veloce guise. The styling has been updated to reflect the brand's Giulia flagship and on this top Mito, is generally beefed up to reflect the car's sporting prowess with more aggressive bumpers, 17" alloy wheels, special Veloce wing mirrors and a liberal smattering of Veloce badges inside and out. Alfa Romeos are supposed to be entertaining to drive and the Mito seeks to underline its sporting intentions with its DNA (Dynamic - Normal - All Weather) system. The technology normally adapts the steering, throttle response and stability control according to the driver's preferences but with this Veloce model, it also tweaks the settings of the Active Suspension system. The DNA switch can be set in Normal, Dynamic or All-Weather modes to help drivers get the most out of their vehicle in all conditions. Also built in are a hill hold function and Alfa's Q2 technology that acts like a limited slip differential to divert engine torque to the wheel that has the grip to use it.
Market and Model
The Veloce version of the Mito is the flagship model and this is reflected in the price. £20,500 is a lot for a high powered supermini but Alfa would point out that this particular model is brimming with technology while offering lower running costs that the majority of its rivals. Equipment levels are high but you'd expect nothing less at this price. Buyers get 18-inch, darkened five-hole alloy wheels; an Alfa Active Suspension system; Brembo brakes with four-piston front brake callipers (finished in red); plus an upgraded Uconnect 5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation, DAB and Bluetooth connectivity and twin chromed exhaust tail pipes. The range of options available on the Veloce includes the Visibility Pack (£310); dual-zone climate control (£450); an electric sunroof (£750); an eight-speaker BOSE audio system (£675) and Sabelt Alcantara Sports seats with carbon fibre shells (£2,000).
Cost of Ownership
The MultiAir engine technology is as strong on fuel economy as it is on performance. Considering its 170bhp power output, the fact that the Veloce can return 47mpg on the combined cycle is remarkable and the 139g/km CO2 emissions aren't bad either. The MiTo's residual values aren't as strong as the MINI's but it does perform better on the used market than many mainstream superminis.
Alfa Romeo's Mito does the trendy, urban supermini thing in convincing fashion but can it produce the goods as a hot hatchback? The Veloce model is the answer to that question and it seems to be in the affirmative. The turbocharged MultiAir engine achieves a first rate set of performance and economy figures while Alfa has taken care to add the necessary aggression to the car's styling along with a collection of high-tech driver aids. You'd like one.