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First details: Alfa’s 'MultiAir' MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde

New leaf: Alfa's MiTo flagship features an uprated 125kW 1.4-litre MultiAir turbo engine.

Piping-hot 125kW four-leaf clover model to top Alfa Romeo's new MiTo range

11 Sep 2009

IT WILL make its international debut at the Frankfurt motor show on September 15, but the most formidable version of Alfa Romeo’s recently released MiTo hatchback range – the curiously dubbed MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde (or four-leafed clover) – will not arrive in Australia for at least 12 months.

The flagship of the Fiat Punto-based MiTo range will be powered by a 125kW version of the Italian maker’s new 1.4-litre turbocharged ‘MultiAir’ four-cylinder petrol engine, which is claimed to return average (freeway) fuel consumption of just 4.8L/100km and CO2 emissions of 139g/km.

Alfa says the new MiTo QV, which will follow the lower-output MultiAir models on sale in Europe but is likely to be the only MultiAir-engined MiTo released here (in late 2010), delivers a class-leading weight-to-power ratio of 6.7kg/hp.

That’s almost 10 per cent up on the 114kW 1.4 TBi engine that powers the current MiTo Sport ($37,490), which was launched in Australia in July alongside the entry-level 88kW 1.4 TBi MiTo ($31,490), with the MiTo QV’s specific power output of 91kW per litre claimed to be the highest ever recorded by an Alfa model.

But the flagship MiTo’s circa-seven-second 0-100km/h acceleration time and low emissions are only part of the appeal of the Quadrifoglio Verde – a specification name that Alfa says has always been synonymous with heritage, racing and victory, but one under which it now aims to combine sportiness with environmental friendliness.

The MiTo QV rides on 17-inch satin titanium-finished wheels with a design based on the hoops of the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione supercar, with a similar colour gracing the car’s headlight frames and wing mirrors. Further, Alfa says “the dark finish of the headlight parabolas is achieved by a brand new metal sublimation technology”.

Unique Quadrifoglio interior features include an all-black colour scheme to eliminate reflections and distractions, a new sports seat fabric and white-backlit instruments.

More significantly, the MiTo QV’s chassis promises to be as advanced and responsive as its engine, by comprising a continuously adaptive electronic damping system developed with Magneti Marelli.

Alfa says the Dynamic Suspension system always ensures maximum ride quality while better restricting bodyroll and pitch, thereby improving both comfort and agility in all circumstances.

Three settings will be available – normal, all-weather and dynamic – with each damping control strategy linked under the ‘Alfa DNA’ system that comprises four electronically controlled shock absorbers, five accelerometric sensors, a control unit and an interface with the other on-board electronic systems.

Normal is claimed to combine response with the highest level of comfort, while in all-weather mode "the safety features are enhanced by continual interaction between the Vehicle Dynamic Control stability system, the steering and the suspension”.

The most performance-focussed setting (dynamic) is claimed to transform the MiTo QV into a true sportscar, and was developed at both the historic Balocco test track in Italy and at Germany’s Nurburgring.

Rounding out the Quadrifoglio ’s enhanced mechanical package is a new all-Italian six-speed manual transmission that Alfa says delivers short-throw shifts and uniform activation pressures, eliminates noise and vibration, and improves fuel economy by reducing friction and optimising gear ratios.

Developed by FPT and manufactured at the Verrone factory in Italy, the ‘next-generation’ C635 gearbox is said to be “the first result of a design philosophy aimed at improving driveability, consumption levels and production flexibility”.

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