MiTo is epitome of cool

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 January, 2012, 12:00am


The Alfa Romeo MiTo is one of the most attractive cars in Hong Kong, particularly in red. Launched in 2008 as the Italian marque's answer to the BMW Mini and Audi's A1, the three-door, five-seater MiTo has a shield-shaped grille, sculpted V-shaped bonnet and clear lens, and teardrop headlamps inspired by the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione.

Built on the same platform as Fiat's Grande Punto, the MiTo is named to represent the cities of Milan, where it was designed, and Torino, or Turin, where it was made, and means 'myth' in Italian.

Aimed at 'young, cool drivers', the super-mini is rare in Hong Kong, but the front-wheel-drive hatchback has looked impressive in the Gloucester Road showroom of the marque's latest representative, Swire Motors, which sells a 1.4-litre version for HK$269,888.

The interior is neat with a carbon fibre-look dashboard, hooded, sporty dials and a central console with a satin finish. A 'DNA' variable-drive switch alters the throttle response and steering to Dynamic, Normal and All Weather modes, while the Electronic Q2 limited slip differential enhances handling and roadholding, Alfa Romeo says. The 135-horsepower engine manages 230Nm of torque and is linked to a six-speed twin-clutch transmission to reach 100km/h in just over eight seconds and a top speed of 207 km/h, the marque says.

The MiTo is equipped with Vehicle Dynamic Control, Alfa Romeo's electronic stability system that is designed to switch on under extreme conditions. The MSR (Motor Schleppmoment Regelung) also 'cuts in when a gear is shifted down abruptly under conditions of low grip', the marque says. 'This device restores torque to the engine to prevent loss of control as a result of lock.'

The VDC monitors tyre grip in longitudinal and lateral directions, Alfa Romeo says.

'If the car slides, it cuts in to restore directionality and ride stability by braking the appropriate wheel individually and reducing engine power.'

A hill-holder prevents the MiTo from slipping back backwards in slow uphill manoeuvres.