Alfa Romeo MiTo Twin Air Progessive

| November 24, 2012 | 0 Comments


MiTo Twin Air

To those of you not familiar with American Football, the nickname the ‘ Purple People Eaters ‘ won’t mean much to you. But for those grid iron fans who know their football history, this was the name given to the legendary defensive line of the Minnesota Vikings, from the late 1960’s though to the late 1970’s, when the Vikings played in four Superbowls. They weren’t the biggest or heaviest defensive line in football, where size & strength is supposed to be everything. But they sure knew how to make up for this perceived handicap, with their speed, agility & stamina. Even though they lost all four Superbowls, including one to the ‘ Steel Curtain, ‘ Pittsburgh Steelers, the names Alan Page, Carl Eller, Jim Marshall & Gary Larsen, will forever be known in American football circles, as the’ Purple People Eaters.’ Why have I told this story ? Read on.

I took delivery of a purple Alfa Romeo MiTo Twin Air in November. With it’s tiny 875 cc engine, it shouldn’t really be a match for the more powerful engines out there. Fiats Twin Air engine is available in both the Fiat 500 & Chrysler Ypsilon. But it is in the Alfa MiTo that the engine really shines, as the MiTo & Twin Air are made for each other. The main reason for putting the Twin Air in any car, is to lower emissions, in this case to 98g/km & lower BIK, in the Twin Air to 10%. Alfas claimed fuel economy on the combined of 67.3 mpg is also impressive. However, driving the MiTo in Dynamic mode as I discovered, seriously reduces this, in my case to under 35 mpg, as this is the mode which offers the driver the most fun & in a small car for me, it’s all about fun. The fun actually comes from the Twin Airs impressive low down torque, peaking at 145Nm at just 2000 rpm, with power of 84 bhp at 5,500 rpm. To balance this power which uses fuel ,the Twin Air does have Stop/Start & just like in the Ypsilon, this will save you a few quid, although you do have to depress the clutch all the way down to re engage the engine, or you may like me be stuck at the lights looking like a fool.
Alfas Twin Air comes with a six speed manual gear box. The 0-62 mph time of 12.5 seconds isn’t great & if you’re not careful you can run out of revs through each gear change unless driven in Dynamic mode. The problem with this as I’ve already touched on, is that the Twin Air needs to be driven & that means lower fuel economy.
It handles brilliantly & you can really appreciate the go-kart feel with it’s light steering, supple suspension & of course it’s small stature. Anybody who glimpsed me driving the MiTo the week I tested it could, be forgiven for thinking that with my driving style, that I was a bona fide boy racer, twenty five years too late !
The MiTo comes in five trim levels. The basic model is Progression, then Sprint, Distinctive, Sportiva & Quatrofoglio Verde. The entry level MiTo Progession with a 1400 cc engine, costs just £12,500 otr, whilst the cheapest Twin Air model the Sprint, is a bit more, at £14150. But, the 1.4 unit has emissions of 130g/km & a BIK of 17%, much higher than the Twin Air. Also, the Sprint model adds the following  impressive additional equipment over the Progression; Alarm system, VDC with hill holder, 16″ sports alloys, the clever VDC switch offering Dynamic, Natural & All Weather drive options, Blue&Me Bluetooth hands free system with voice recognition & media player with USB port & Aux in A steering wheel with remote controls, leather gear knob, multifunction display, electric & heated wing mirrors, cruise control, car radio with audi CD & MP3 player & double aerial, rear spoiler, front fog lights & a 12v plug. A substantil list for an additional £1650 !
The MiTo is practical as well. It’s certainly way ahead of the Fiat 500 as small family motor, being both longer & offering real adult rear passenger space with a decent deep boot of 270 litres. Entry & exit is hampered by the 3 door body style, although the long awaited 5 door MiTo may arrive in 2013. The interior fittings are well designed & there is a quality feel to them. The only thing lacking any quality, is the cheap glove box. Front & rear seats are surprisingly comfortable & again Alfa have spent some time making these a design statement. With eleven colours, including purple available & other options to personalise your MiTo, Alfa have perhaps got even closer to the Mini in producing a cute but sexy small car & it’s no surprise to me that even Audi felt the need to compete in this category by launching the A1, to try & pinch MIni & Alfas thunder.
The Twin Air is the pick of engines for the MiTo. It may well be a little noisy around town, but to balance this, it’s quiet at 75 mph on the motorway, where it also offers comfortable cruising. The MiTo Twin Air is a real winner & as I found out, it’s an engine that really punches above it’s weight, just like the ‘ Purple People Eaters.’
A  Brett Favre & not a Christian Ponder 4/5 !

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Category: Alfa Romeo

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