Published on Tuesday 18 June 2013 08:30
The famous Quadrifoglio Verde badge is not one that Alfa Romeo uses lightly. Reserved for Alfa models with real sporting intent, it's a symbol that has gained genuine respect in the automotive world down the years. Today, it features on the MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde, a car that adheres closely to Alfa Romeo's sporting traditions while also providing a glimpse into its high tech future.
Ten Second Review
Alfa's evocative Quadrifoglio Verde badge pops up on this high performance version of the MiTo supermini. With 170bhp from its highly advanced 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, the car is no slouch but 47mpg combined economy helps keep costs under control too. Active suspension features amongst a long list of high-tech systems on Quadrifoglio Verde.
Legend has it that shortly before the 1923 Targa Florio motor race in Sicily, Alfa Romeo driver Udo Sivocci found a four leaf clover by the roadside. Hoping for good luck, he persuaded his team to paint a Quadrifoglio Verde symbol on his Alfa Romeo RL. Sure enough, he won the race, scoring Alfa Romeo's first major international victory and from that day on, the Quadrifoglio Verde symbol has appeared on Alfa Romeo racing cars around the world. Away from the racetrack, the Quadrifoglio Verde badge has also graced a number of memorable Alfa Romeo production cars including the 8C Competizione supercar. The MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde is in good company.
Before this car came on the scene, the last Alfa Romeo that you would definitely classify as a hot hatchback was the 147 GTA. That car crammed Alfa's charismatic 3.2-litre V6 engine into the compact 147 family hatch and channelled its 250bhp directly to front wheels. With none of the clever suspension and stability control technology that have been developed more recently to keep powerful front wheel drive cars going where you point them, the GTA didn't really add up. It was a wild and largely ungratifying showing from a car that now resembles a Neanderthal's club next to the high precision sniper rifle of the MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde.
Power for the Quadrifoglio Verde version of the MiTo comes from Alfa's hugely impressive 1.4-litre MultiAir petrol engine. In this guise, the unit uses a turbocharger to enhance the power generated by its advanced combustion process and the end result is 170bhp. There's 250Nm of torque as well, helping the Quadrifoglio Verde to a 0-60mph sprint time of 7.5s and a 136mph top speed. That's pretty good going for a 1.4-litre supermini.
Design and Build
Already one of the more exciting superminis to look at, the MiTo is only going to attract more attention in Quadrifoglio Verde guise. The styling is generally beefed up to reflect the car's sporting prowess with more aggressive bumpers, 17" alloy wheels, special Quadrifoglio Verde wing mirrors and a liberal smattering of Quadrifoglio Verde badges inside and out.
Alfa Romeos are supposed to be entertaining to drive and the MiTo seeks to underline its sporting intentions with its DNA (Dynamic - Normal - All Weather) system. The technology normally adapts the MiTo's steering, throttle response and stability control according to the driver's preferences but with this Quadrifoglio Verde model, it also tweaks the settings of the Active Suspension system. The DNA switch can be set in Normal, Dynamic or All-Weather modes to help drivers get the most out of their vehicle in all conditions. Also built in are a hill hold function and Alfa's Q2 technology that acts like a limited slip differential to divert engine torque to the wheel that has the grip to use it.
Market and Model
The Quadrifoglio Verde version of the MiTo is second only to the hardcore GTA that Alfa has in the pipeline and this is reflected in the price. Around £18,000 is a lot for a high powered supermini but Alfa would point out that this particular model is brimming with technology while offering lower running costs that the majority of its rivals. It undercuts the MINI Cooper S and that is one of the key cars that Alfa will have set its sights on. The key question will be whether this MiTo can match the MINI's desirability factor in the eyes of fashion-conscious buyers.
Equipment levels are high but you'd expect nothing less at this price. There's remote central locking, air-conditioning, electric windows, a trip computer and the Blue&Me hands free system with voice recognition and a media player with USB port. There's a healthy safety provision that includes seven airbags plus a whole host of electronic driver aids. These include ABS brakes, EBD brakeforce distribution, VDC Vehicle Dynamic Control and ASR anti-skid control.
Cost of Ownership
The MultiAir engine technology is as strong on fuel economy as it is on performance. Considering its 170bhp power output, the fact that the Quadrifoglio Verde can return 47mpg on the combined cycle is remarkable and the 139g/km CO2 emissions aren't bad either. The MiTo's residual values aren't as strong as the MINI's but it does perform better on the used market than many mainstream superminis.
Alfa Romeo's MiTo does the trendy, urban supermini thing in convincing fashion but can it produce the goods as a hot hatchback? The Quadrifoglio Verde model is the answer to that question and it seems to be in the affirmative. The turbocharged MultiAir engine achieves a first rate set of performance and economy figures while Alfa has taken care to add the necessary aggression to the car's styling along with a collection of high-tech driver aids. This should prove to be a model worthy of the famous Quadrifoglio Verde badge.