2010 Alfa Romeo MiTo Multiair priced at £15,165

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

Prices will start from £15,165 for the Alfa Romeo Mitos equipped with Fiat's innovative new Multiair engine that will arrive at UK showrooms in the spring. The entry-level Multiair model is the base 135bhp 1.4-liter turbocharged unit while at the top of the range, we find the 170bhp version of the same engine.

The car will carry the Cloverleaf badge and cost £17,895. Meanwhile, the 118bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged non-Multiair Mito costs from £12,745. For the 135bhp version, you can opt for either Lusso or the more luxurious Veloce trim.

The extra equipment on the Cloverleaf model includes unique 17-inch alloys, a darkened headlining, a revised steering wheel design, new wing mirrors and special Cloverleaf badging. Other models that will soon be given Fiat's Multiair technology include the Fiat Punto Evo and an as-yet-unspecified Chrysler model.

Multiair eliminates the throttle butterfly and what's more remarkable about it is that it has a completely new take on how a camshaft actuates the intake valves. It also has the technology to subtly vary the timing of the valve openings.

As a result, power and torque increase by 10% over an equivalent non-Multiair engine, while also decreasing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by the same amount. The Alfa Romeo Mito Multiair is available to order now.

The key element to why the MiTo offers sporting ride and handling is the layout of its suspension. While the front has the MacPherson suspension, the rear follows a semi-independent layout and has a torsion beam. In order to highlight that the MiTo offers prompt response and provides control and stability even when facing extreme conditions, the width of the front track measures 1,483 mm while the rear is 1,475 mm, making it the widest in its class.

To enhance the handling performance of the tyres, the width of the wheel rims was ensured to be relative to the size of its tyres. The MiTo offers what appears to a sporting yet flexible ride.

In addition, since the torsion beam has a high torsional stiffness, it can function like an anti-roll bar and thus make sure that it helps in maximizing the swiftness of its response while giving ideal roll performance. The suspension of the MiTo has a unique feature.

These are the coilover springs that have been placed inside the dampers on the front and its rear. They act as a counterpart to the main spring under extension travel with the objective of increasing the response of the chassis and reducing its roll. All models however come with the special telescopic dual-acting hydraulic dampers as standard.

Press Release

NEW ALFA MITO MULTIAIR IN UK

The Alfa Romeo MiTo is already a global success story. Sold in 34 countries and on five different continents, it has won wide acclaim for its unprecedented fusion of head-turning high end style, engineering flair, dynamic performance and driving pleasure.

And now, Alfa has moved the game on again, bringing revolutionary MultiAir technology and a raft of technical innovations to the world's sportiest compact car. The evolution underlines the company's on-going commitment to reconcile lower emissions and fuel consumption with higher performance and driver satisfaction for an increasingly extensive, smart and environmentally aware audience.

The new Euro 5-ready 1.4-litre MultiAir engine, developed and patented by Fiat Powertrain Technologies (FPT), made its international debut in the MiTo late last year, and is initially offered in two turbocharged forms for the UK market. The 135bhp version of the unit powers the £15,165 Lusso and £16,135 Veloce, while the range-topping £17,895 Cloverleaf - an auspicious return for the iconic badge close to every Alfista's heart - boasts 170bhp and a 0-62mph time of just 7.5 seconds, but a combined fuel consumption of 47.1 mpg.

In addition to MultiAir, the new MiTo range showcases a broad spectrum of innovative technologies, including active suspension on the Cloverleaf (a first for this class of car), the emission-reducing Start&Stop system across the range, and Alfa Romeo DNA. Derived from racing, this three-mode electronic system communicates with the engine, brakes, steering, suspension (on MiTo Cloverleaf), and transmission, allowing the driver to adjust the responses of the car to suit driving style and road conditions.

Alfa's Electronic Q2 limited slip differential heads a number of dynamic driver aids, including a long list of safety systems. Together with the MacPherson strut/torsion beam suspension layout, these all help deliver the handling dynamics and sure-footed road holding capabilities you'd expect from an Alfa, whatever the road. Designed to satisfy the highest Euro NCAP crash safety rating, the MiTo also offers optimum passive safety.

The model's high level of engineering integrity can also be appreciated through the series of improvements that have further increased the quality of the Alfa MiTo. Improvements embrace the interior finish, trim combinations, and gearchange quality (the lever on the MiTo Cloverleaf has been shortened by 2.5 centimetres) as well as modifications to the steering, suspension and braking systems.

WHY MULTIAIR?

The Holy Grail for any engineering endeavour is to have your cake and eat it - to unify seemingly incompatible goals. For the Fiat Group's engine designers, FPT, the quest has been clear cut: how to deliver high performance and driveablity while, at the same time, significantly reducing emissions and fuel consumption.

The key to achieving this is well understood. It requires taking more precise control of the quantity and characteristics of the air drawn into the cylinders in the combustion cycle. There are numerous electro-mechanical variable valve timing systems in production today that seek to achieve this. But because they usually have only two operating regimes, they are severely limited by the degree of flexibility they can exercise in the valve opening schedules.

MultiAir eliminates these compromises by metering the direct air charge at the cylinder inlet ports with an advanced electro-hydraulic actuation and control system that has no fewer than five basic parameters, and the ability to optimally adjust valve timing and lift between them to exactly suit different engine speeds and loads, ensuring strong low- and mid-range torque and vigorous top-end power, combined with good economy and low emissions.

This is a transformational technology comparable to the introduction of FPT’s common rail fueling for diesels, but the principles behind it are as simple as they are ingenious. MultiAir engines have just one camshaft with three lobes allocated to each cylinder. The first two control the two exhaust valves in the conventional way, while the third defines the maximum possible lift and opening duration of the two inlet valves. It also acts on a small piston that sends engine oil, via pressurised hydraulic channels, to additional pistons located just above the inlet valves.

Four solenoid valves - one for each cylinder under individual control from the Magneti Marelli ECU engine management system - can be opened at any point during the inlet valve's movement to bleed off the oil. Varying the oil flow instantly and precisely controls the opening and closing of the valves between the parameter extremes mechanically described by the camshaft lobe for optimum results.

MultiAir can even open the inlet valve twice in one intake stroke, when running at low speeds and loads around town, to create more swirl of the intake mixture, enabling it to burn more completely.

MultiAir strategies

When the solenoid valve is closed, the oil in the hydraulic chamber behaves like a solid body and acts on the intake valves in accordance with the profile of the cam lobe.
When the solenoid valve is open, the hydraulic chamber and the intake valves are de-coupled; the valves no longer follow the cam profile.
By controlling the solenoid closing period, various optimal intake valve opening schedules can be realised.
MULTIAIR IN ACTION

Different strategies can be employed to optimise combustion efficiency, according to varying driving situations -

FULL LIFT - for maximum power, the Solenoid Valve is always closed and full valve opening is achieved by completely following the mechanical cam, which was specifically designed to maximise power at high engine speed; i.e: motorway driving.

EIVC (Early Intake Valve Closing)- for low-rpm torque, the Solenoid Valve is opened near the end of the cam profile, leading to early intake valve closing. This eliminates unwanted backflow into the manifold and maximises the air mass trapped in the cylinders; i.e: during acceleration.

LIVO (Late Intake Valve Opening) - in engine part-load, the Solenoid Valve is opened earlier causing partial valve openings to control the trapped air mass as a function of the required torque.

PARTIAL LOAD - the intake valves can be partially opened by closing the Solenoid Valve once the mechanical cam action has already started. In this case the air stream into the cylinder is faster and results in higher in-cylinder turbulence; i.e: at engine start up or idling.

MULTI-LIFT - Multiple opening strategies are used to enhance turbulence and combustion rate at very low loads. The advantage is a significant reduction in fuel consumption and emissions in the urban cycle; i.e: city driving.

MultiAir makes the difference: 1.4 TB MultiAir 135bhp compared to the 1.4 TB 120bhp

CO2 reduced by over 10%
Max power increased by 12.5%
Acceleration (0-62mph) reduced by up 0.4 seconds
Better throttle response, less turbo lag
Fuel consumption reduced by up to 10%
THE NEXT GENERATION - MULTIAIR ENGINES

The MiTo's new range of MultiAir engines are based on the Fiat Group’s established 1.4-litre ‘FIRE’ block. The MultiAir top-end is modular and designed to be fitted to existing engines. From launch, the engine has been available with three power outputs, starting with the 105bhp non-turbo unit. For the UK market, however, the choice for Alfa Romeo customers is between the two turbocharged versions.

Striking an unbeatable balance between spirited, sporty performance and fine economy, the 135bhp version of this engine that powers the MiTo Lusso and Veloce is outstandingly flexible and responsive and pulls vigorously from low engine speeds, posting a class-leading 0-62mph time of 8.4 seconds and a top speed of 129mph. This excellent performance dovetails perfectly with respect for the environment, reflected in CO2 emissions of just 129 g/km and a combined fuel consumption of 50.4 mpg.

The 170bhp MultiAir powerplant fitted exclusively to the range-topping Cloverleaf is even more exceptional, with a specific power output of 124bhp/litre which is not only a first for this class of car but also the highest value ever recorded for a production Alfa. Combined with a new fast-shifting, short-travel six-speed gearbox, the Cloverleaf's powertrain exemplifies the philosophy of downsizing: producing hi-tech turbocharged engines to increase performance while slashing fuel consumption and emissions. The results achieved by this strategy are impressive by any standard. A CO2 figure of 139 g/km and 59mpg over the extra-urban cycle are closer to what you might expect from a small city car than a sporty hatchback capable of sprinting from 0-62 mph in 7.5 seconds and powering on to 136mph.

This MiTo Cloverleaf MultiAir's 170bhp engine gives it a class-leading power/weight ratio of 6.7 kg/hp which is almost 10% better than the already excellent performance of the current 155 bhp 1.4 TB. Peak power of 170bhp is developed at 5,500rpm, and is supported by up to 184lb.ft of torque at 2,500rpm, delivering 47.1mpg on the combined cycle.

These statistics are particularly significant because they prove the effectiveness of downsizing to produce high-tech engines with better performance allied to sharp reductions in fuel consumption and emissions, giving the MiTo Cloverleaf an unbeatable performance/consumption ratio.

DRIVING DYNAMICS

Key to the sporting handling and ride characteristics of the MiTo is its suspension layout: MacPherson struts at the front and a semi-independent layout with torsion beam at the rear. To emphasise the promptness of response, stability and control, even under extreme conditions, MiTo’s track widths are among the widest in the segment – 1483mm front and 1475mm rear. The wheel rims are also wide in relation to the size of the tyres in order to optimise the latter’s handling performance. The MiTo also has a sporting yet pliant ride, and the torsion beam features high torsional stiffness to enable it to also act as an anti-roll bar, thereby ensuring optimum roll performance and helping maximise the promptness of response.

The most distinctive feature of the MiTo's suspension is that the front and rear dampers feature coilover springs fitted inside the damper that act in parallel with the main spring during extension travel, with the main purpose of reducing roll and increasing chassis response. Special dual-acting telescopic hydraulic dampers are fitted as standard on all versions.

DNA

The MiTo's innovative DNA system offers three distinct 'vehicle personalities' tailored to driving style and the prevailing road characteristics and conditions: Dynamic (sporting), Normal (suburban/town driving) and All weather (maximum safety, especially in low-grip conditions). A three-position switch, situated beside the gearlever, alters the throttle response and steering set-up for the different driving environments. In Dynamic mode, the throttle response is quicker, the steering is sharper and the handling is more direct. For icy and loose surface environments the All Weather mode provides a more gentle response.

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