Mito – Bravo Alfa!
It’s common knowledge that to own an Alfa is a rite of passage for every passionate lover of cars. Exactly why that is held to be a universal truth is not so easy to explain. Apart from their historical unreliability and the notoriously inadequate finish and build quality of even some recent launches from the classic brand, in our opinion, some recent Alfas have been downright clunky. The bubble-butted Alfasud was a rustbucket that haunted many a teenage dream with financial woe and crushing disappointment (my own included). The 156 was dull and the 159 was better but lacked a defining ‘Alfa’-factor. The Brera and the GT are undoubtedly pretty, but until the 8C Competizione finally went into production a couple of years ago, it looked like the company that brought us the breathtaking Type 33 Stradale and the Montreal had settled onto the weakly-lit plateau of uncharacteristic mediocrity. But something happened with the launch of the first genuine supercar from Alfa for a couple of decades – and it is the revolution wrought by the 8C’s staggering beauty that is encoded in the Mito’s accessible blend of sensuality and affordability.
The launch of the three basic versions of the Mito in January this year caused a stir amongst Italian car obsessives, primarily because the company’s aim to produce the sportiest compact car ever just might have been achieved. You can see the sweeping, triangular lines of the 8C in the little car’s face and flank, and reports are that the looks are reflected in the driving experience. The launch this week of the Mito GTA concept, which is due to be unveiled at the Geneva show in a couple of weeks’ time, is a further demonstration of Alfa’s continued commitment to cars with sporty soul and innovation. In line with the famous GTA (Gran Turismo Alleggerito) signature, (Alleggerito means reduced weight in Italian), according to Alfa’s press releases the Mito GTA Concept prioritises weight reduction and an optimum power-to-weight ratio. They’ve lightened the car considerably and lowered its centre of gravity by making components such as the tailgate spoiler, roof and mirror fairings in carbon-fibre; while aluminium is to be used extensively in the braking system, suspension, and some parts of the chassis. The compact new petrol engine employs advanced tech including direct injection, dual variable valve timing, state-of-the-art turbocharging and advanced electronic management systems. Alfa reckon the 1.8 litres will produce around 240 BHP. Under-floor aerodynamics have been improved, and the entire car has been lowered by 20mm and the comprehensively revised chassis boasts an ‘active’ suspension system, which counteracts the transfer of load under acceleration, stiffening the rear end and maximising traction. The suspension also interacts with the braking system and steering to obtain the most efficient control of vehicle dynamics imaginable.
Evolution is rarely a smooth, gradual process. Sometimes it takes a bold leap like the 8C to infiltrate the bloodline of an automotive legend. The repackaging of the essence of a true Italian supercar in a little runabout whose efficiency and affordability chimes with the times is the most exciting development to hit our streets in some considerable time.
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