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Alfa's hot MiTo Quadrifoglio hits Australia

Mighty Mito: The diminutive 1.4-litre Mito Quadrifoglio might have small lungs but its performance will blow you away.

MiTo Quadrifoglio debuts Alfa's latest MultiAir technology in a punchy 125kW hatch

16 Jul 2010

ALFA ROMEO’S hottest MiTo hatch, the Quadrifoglio, has arrived in Australia armed with parent company Fiat’s innovative MultiAir engine technology and active suspension.

Using a combination of turbo induction and precise electro-hydraulic valvetrain control, the Quadrifoglio’s 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine packs 125kW – 11kW or about 10 per cent more than the current Mito performance variant, the Sport.

Topping the range at a sharp $34,990, the MiTo Quadrifoglio is expected to arrive in Australia at the rate of between 10 and 15 units per month – and Alfa importer Ateco expects to sell every one.

That price undercuts the MiTo Sport’s $37,490, but Alfa Romeo Australia public relations manager Edward Rowe said that anomaly would be rectified in an announcement next week.

The hard-to-pronounce Quadrifoglio nameplate translates in a roundabout way to 'four-leaf clover', which is the traditional designation of sporting Alfas.

The MultiAir engine's peak power of 125kW represents a specific output of more than 92kW per litre. It is also the first Alfa to feature idle-stop technology.

Torque output is similarly impressive, feeding 250Nm through a six-speed gearbox in sport mode, and 230Nm at all other times.

All this power and torque is achieved whilst sipping just 6.0 litres of petrol per 100km, and emitting just 139gm of carbon dioxide from the twin tailpipes.

26 center imageLeft: Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio. Bottom: Alfa Romeo MultiAir engine.

Alfa Romeo Australia’s general manager Andrei Zaitzev said that if MultiAir was the only technical innovation in the new Mito, it would still make it one of the most significant technical advances to arrive in Australia this year.

Alfa’s DNA (Dynamic, Normal and All-weather) system of selecting drivetrain and suspension pre-sets is complemented by standard-fit active suspension, which uses five accelerometers to monitor the vehicle’s movement and continuously adjusts each shock absorber independently.

Depending on which position the DNA controller is set to by the driver, the active suspension changes its working parameters, for example firming up in the Dynamic setting to complement this mode’s quicker throttle response and sharper steering.

The Milanese manufacturer claims that the Turin-built Mito Quadrifoglio is the first car in its segment to offer active suspension as standard.

Mr Zaitev said this dynamic adaptive suspension brought technology “normally associated with cars that measure their prices in fractions of a million dollars into a new market sector for affordable cars”.

The Quadrifoglio also gets 18-inch grey alloy wheels, matching brushed titanium-look headlight surrounds and door mirror covers and an all-black interior with white instrument panel lighting, designed to reduce reflections and distractions while driving.

Compared to the Mini Cooper S, the little Alfa’s completes the 0-100km/h drag in 7.5 seconds, half a second slower than the Mini, and its top speed is 219km/h – 9km/h under that of its rival.

The Italian claws back points in the environmental stakes though, using 0.3L/100km less fuel and emitting 7g/km less CO2 the British-built, German-funded, French-powered Mini.

Alfa celebrated its 100th birthday this year on June 24, with the Quadrifoglio heading up a long line of sporting models, right from the first Alfa Romeo, the G1 – the last remaining example of which resides in Australia.

Mr Zaitzev said the MiTo range would continue to grow.

“The Mito Quadrifoglio does not complete the MiTo range it is just the next step with more versions set to debut new technology and features and ensure the Mito is as technically advanced as it is chic and stylish.”

It is unlikely that an even hotter MiTo based on the 179kW GTA concept from the 2009 Geneva motor show will become production reality, but the range is being hampered by the lack of an automatic and would benefit from the introduction of Fiat’s TCT (twin clutch transmission).

So far, 140 MiTos have found homes in Australia this year. It is Alfa’s second-best seller after the 159, of which 248 have been sold.

With sales down 12 per cent on this time last year and most of its models in run-out, Alfa is hoping that the Giulietta, which arrives here later this year, will improve matters for 2011.

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