Alfa Romeo is back with a bang at this year’s
The star of the show is the Alfa Romeo MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde – an exclusive version with a powerful 127 kW (1700 hp) 1.4 MultiAir TBi which will be brought to market after the launch of the other MultiAir engines. (This medium hot model will slot just beneath the super-quick GTA which is still to be launched.)
Once a symbol of some of Alfa Romeo’s sportiest cars, the “Quadrifoglio Verde” (four-leaf clover) now represents a new kind of sportiness that combines maximum driving pleasure with improved environmental qualities. This is shown by its outstanding weight/power ratio (6.7 kg/hp), ensuring top-class agility, and an exceptional category-leading specific power of 124 hp/litre. In addition, as far as the typical reduction in emissions and fuel consumption of downsizing is concerned, the 127 kW 1.4 MultiAir TBi records 139 g/km of CO2 and 4.8 l/100 km in the extra-urban cycle: figures you might expect from an economy car rather than a compact sports car that goes from 0 to 100 km/h in just over seven seconds.
Alongside the MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde is its even more frugal sibling, the revolutionary 100 kW MiTo MultiAir 1.4 TBi as well as the rest of the Alfa Romeo range including the Brera, the Spider, the 159 (saloon and Sportwagon) and the 8C Competizione Coupé and Spider supercars.
Designed to interact with the public, the exhibition area moves away from trade show traditions in favour of a more poetic stand. At the centre of it all are children, their world and their hopes for the future; a forward-looking brand knows how important it is to listen to its customers of tomorrow. So, there is a unique setup at Frankfurt that, while retaining Alfa Romeo’s classic values of design and technology, takes shape through the eyes of a child engineer building the future with a heightened sense of creativity.
Inspired by Meccano, the stand takes the form of a racetrack full of scale model cars where engineering games are combined with traditional Alfa Romeo themes such as asphalt and red paint. Huge plates of Meccano with lit-up holes – built to resemble the houses of a futuristic city – serve as a backdrop to the whole exhibition area. The enchanting scene is completed by huge mechanical lights hanging down to represent projects in the pipeline and the dreams yet to be realised by budding engineers. As a tribute to Meccano, the stand will feature the crane that appeared in the original 1908 set designed and patented by Frank Hornby. The innovative exhibition area lets you admire the latest Alfa Romeo technology from a different perspective – a recreational and poetic dimension that looks to the future through the eyes of the next generation of Alfisti.
MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde – world premiere
Available following the launch of the 78 and 100 kW MultiAir engines, the world premiere of the Alfa Romeo MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde with 127 kW 1.4 MultiAir TBi takes place in Frankfurt. The exclusive trim brings back a legendary symbol that over the years has appeared on some of Alfa Romeo’s sportiest cars. Having always been synonymous with heritage, racing and victory, the “Quadrifoglio Verde” (four-leaf clover) now represents a new kind of sportiness that combines maximum driving pleasure with improved environmental qualities.
Bearing the Quadrifoglio Verde is this MiTo with the most powerful 127 kW MultiAir engine and innovative solutions that accentuate the existing qualities of the model: hold, agility, active safety and driveability are heightened by an engine with one of the highest specific power values in the world and a chassis with features hitherto unthinkable for a car in this class.
This engine’s best feature is its outstanding weight/power ratio, which has always been one of the key factors behind Alfa Romeo’s success on the road and the racetrack. The class-leading ratio of 6.7 kg/hp is almost 10 per cent better than the already excellent performance of the current (non-MultiAir) 115 kW 1.4 TBi. At 124 hp/litre, this engine is also one of the world leaders in specific power. In fact, this is the highest value ever recorded for an Alfa car, affirming the excellent engineering heritage of the Alfa MiTo.
This is a particularly important value because it proves the effectiveness of downsizing, aimed at producing high-tech engines to get better performance allied with sharp reductions in fuel consumption and emissions. Indeed, it is this latter area which provides the most surprising evidence of the technical level achieved: 4.8 l/100 km and 139 g/km of CO2 (in the extra-urban cycle) are closer to what you would expect from an economy car than a compact sports car that goes from 0 to 100 km/h in just over 7 seconds.
On the back of these exceptional power qualities and the unbeatable performance/consumption ratio, Alfa Romeo decided to give a sporty and technological feel to this Quadrifoglio Verde version with high-quality finishes, attention to detail and a raft of features. One example is the 17″ satin titanium-finished wheels (based on the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione supercar). The same colour is used for the headlight frames and the wing mirrors, while the dark finish of the headlight parabolas is achieved by a brand new metal sublimation technology. The interior also has a refined sporty feel thanks to the all-black environment that ensures no reflections or distractions while driving. The technological aspect of this car is further enhanced by the sporty fabric used to upholster the seats, the modern dashboard and the white lighting on the instrument panel.
It should also be stressed that Alfa Romeo has developed an innovative chassis upgrade to further emphasise the dynamic qualities of the MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde.
Competitive racing has always been a testing ground for new technologies, which have found their way from the world’s most famous racetracks to standard road cars. One example of this passage between two seemingly very different worlds is dynamic suspension. This system, which actively and continuously controls the electronic shock absorbers, was developed by combining Alfa Romeo road testing with the latest engineering techniques from Magneti Marelli.
So, using experience gained on the racetrack, the system allows the MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde to excel even further in terms of agility and handling, giving it exceptional driveability and unparalleled safety. The driver gets three benefits from the Dynamic Suspension system: comfort, safety and agility. Above all, the electronic shock absorbers adapt to the road conditions and control all the car’s movements. This guarantees maximum comfort and ensures that the unevenness of road surfaces is fully absorbed. In addition, the Dynamic Suspension system always ensures maximum grip and safety by actively responding to all road conditions. Finally, because roll and pitch are more restricted in all conditions, there is better stability and cornering that adds to the undoubted agility of the Alfa Romeo MiTo.
The suspension interacts perfectly with the three different control strategies of the Alfa DNA system. In “Normal”, agility is combined with a higher level of comfort, whereas in “All Weather”, the safety features are enhanced by continual interaction between the Vehicle Dynamic Control stability system, the steering and the suspension. Finally, in “Dynamic”, the MiTo becomes a true sports car clinging to the ground and fit for any road: it is no coincidence that the system was developed at the historic Balocco test track and round the corners of the Nurburgring. So, thanks to the hard work of Alfa Romeo and Magneti Marelli, the car is responsive and reliable when you turn the steering wheel or put your foot on the accelerator.
The innovative Dynamic Suspension system is made up of four electronically controlled shock absorbers, five accelerometric sensors, a control unit and an interface with Alfa DNA for the different settings and with the other on-board electronic systems. Its main feature is to actively and continuously control the response of the shock absorbers, which adapt depending on the movement of the car and the road conditions, as well as the driving style. To sum up, the Dynamic Suspension system better protects passengers from uneven road surfaces thanks to an effective filtering and optimises comfort by recognising an obstacle (such as a bump or a hole) and adapting suspension behaviour accordingly. The system also ensures better cornering by altering damping distribution of the four shock absorbers, enhancing handling and hold thanks to advanced lateral dynamic control. What’s more, the Dynamic Suspension system manages longitudinal dynamic control by adjusting the movement of the chassis during acceleration, braking and gear changes, and by integrating perfectly with the Vehicle Dynamic Control, steering and braking systems.
The new six-speed C635 gearbox
The technological qualities of the Alfa Romeo MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde are further enhanced by the next-generation C635 gearbox. Developed by FPT and manufactured at the Verrone factory in Italy, this groundbreaking mechanical unit is the first result of a design philosophy aimed at improving driveability, consumption levels and production flexibility.
As far as driveability is concerned, the new gearbox ensures clean and swift changes with very short selection movements, uniform activation pressures, no noise and no vibrations. In addition, modern design and construction techniques help to significantly reduce consumption levels thanks to less friction and the best possible gear ratios.
Its appearance in the Alfa MiTo 127 kW 1.4 MultiAir TBi marks the debut of a modern family of gearboxes adapted for a broad range of models.
Alfa MiTo 1.4 MultiAir – overview
Alfa Romeo, always a byword for sophisticated engineering and high-performance engines, proudly presents the revolutionary MultiAir system, developed and patented by FPT – Fiat Powertrain Technologies.
The head of this revolutionary family is the MultiAir 1.4 engine, which makes its global debut on the Alfa Romeo MiTo model and is offered at this stage with 3 different power levels (78 kW, 100 kW and 127 kW), all Euro 5-ready.
At launch, the first two MultiAir power units fitted to the Alfa Romeo MiTo are the 100 kW 1.4 and the 78 kW 1.4, available across the current range. This will be followed by the 127 kW 1.4 MultiAir TBi, which will complete the Alfa Romeo MiTo petrol engine range and be available on the brand new and unique Quadrifoglio Verde model. This broad product range will enable the MiTo to meet the needs of a growing and increasingly savvy public, who are rewarding the Alfa Romeo city car with excellent sales figures.
The 100 kW 1.4 TBi guarantees the Alfa Romeo MiTo all the performance and temperament of a sporty, well-balanced car designed for customers who are concerned about driveability and good fuel economy. The torque delivery of the 100 kW engine is optimum under all conditions and ensures outstanding pick-up performance and vigorous thrust at all revs, setting a new benchmark for petrol engines. The new 100 kW power unit’s top speed and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h are at the very top of the city car category.
This brand new engine, designed to work in conjunction with the Alfa DNA system, allows the excellent dynamic attributes of the Alfa MiTo to be exploited to the full. This makes long trips pleasant and comfortable, but also guarantees plenty of thrills on more demanding stretches of road, the natural terrain of any Alfa Romeo, due to the well-balanced weight/power ratio and excellent responsiveness.
Excellent performance is combined with respect for the environment and good fuel economy. This excellence is reflected in particularly low CO2 emissions, equal to 129 g/km, with a combined fuel consumption of just 5.6 litres every 100 km.
Balance and temperament are also attributes of the 78 kW 1.4 power unit. This engine sits in the middle of its reference market, where it represents the best choice. The 78 kW MultiAir adheres to Euro 5 regulations and tops its reference market in terms of maximum power and driveability. It also keeps the driver fully involved, making the Alfa MiTo a real star of city traffic, ensuring full safety and easy driving under all conditions.
In addition, the MiTo achieves excellent performance through the top-of-the-range 127 kW MultiAir version available on the exclusive Quadrifoglio Verde model. This marks the reappearance of one of the historical symbols most dear to Alfa aficionados throughout the world, who are passionate about the glorious past of a brand that has made racing and motorsport a real trademark.
The new MultiAir engines are built in Termoli at the FPT plant. Right from the development stage, they have been designed to further enhance Alfa DNA, the system that allows the personality of the Alfa Romeo MiTo to be adapted to the driver’s needs and to different road conditions.
The sporty nature and technological features of these new engines are evident from the characteristic Alfa Romeo sound, which is as engaging when driving quickly as it is relaxing on extra-urban or city journeys.
The Start&Stop system, making its debut on an Alfa Romeo, comes as standard with the three MiTo MultiAir petrol engines. It temporarily turns off the engine and then restarts it to ensure reduced fuel consumption and low noise levels in the passenger compartment when the device is at work. In these situations, which are typical of heavy traffic in urban areas and when stopped at traffic lights, when the control strategy permits, the system automatically cuts out the engine in order to reduce fuel consumption and emissions by up to 10% for an urban route.
Moreover, the Gear Shift Indicator (GSI) linked to the Start&Stop system is a kind of co-pilot that discreetly advises drivers when they should change gear, leading to a more fuel-efficient use of the engine. For example, the GSI may suggest shifting to a higher gear, by means of a signal on the instrument panel, in order to allow the engine to combust a leaner mixture, i.e. containing less fuel, or to change down a gear to make best use of the available torque. The device is permanently active when the Alfa DNA selector is set to “Normal” or “All Weather” in order to ensure a smooth and comfortable drive while also aiming to save fuel and significantly reduce emissions.
The introduction of the new MultiAir engines also coincides with a fresh range of colours for the MiTo, a successful model that is already sold in 34 countries throughout the world and five different continents. It can already be ordered in the new metallic shade Tornado Blue, which will complement the already extensive array of exterior colours.
The model’s level of engineering can also be appreciated due to a series of improvements that have further increased the quality of the Alfa Romeo MiTo. These improvements affect the interior finishes, couplings, gear manoeuvrability due to shortening the lever to 2.5 centimetres and also the steering and suspension system, which has been recalibrated.
All the secrets of MultiAir technology
Alfa Romeo proudly introduces MultiAir technology to the world on its latest creation, the Alfa Romeo MiTo. The head of the new family is the MultiAir 1.4 engine, available in three different power levels on the model: 78 kW, 100 kW and 127 kW.
This marks a significant generational leap compared to current petrol engines, as occurred in 1997 with the Common Rail technology applied to diesel power units and introduced to the world for the first time on the Alfa Romeo 156. Now the ‘sportiest city car ever’ picks up the baton and marks a true leap forward in technology: the MultiAir system takes the controlled ignition engine to previously unthinkable levels of efficiency. This is achieved due to the principle underpinning this new technology: the possibility of continuously adjusting the main elements that guarantee optimum combustion at any speed and under all driving conditions.
In particular, the possibility of managing the opportune moment for opening and closing the intake valve has optimised the engine’s volumetric efficiency, bringing benefits in terms of maximum torque delivery, particularly at low revs: compared with a conventional 88 kW TBi engine, the same engine with MultiAir achieves an increase in maximum power (100 kW) without penalising torque and response at low revs (5,000 rpm).
The introduction of MultiAir technology therefore makes the Alfa Romeo MiTo even more agile and nippy due to the power and torque increases possible with the new power units. The engines also ensure a significant reduction in fuel consumption and toxic emissions, with benefits in terms of running costs and respect for the environment.
For example, the flexibility and responsiveness guaranteed by the MultiAir system make it possible to manage engine load by means of the intake valves, eliminating the use of the throttle valve to benefit combustion efficiency at partial loads and therefore reduce fuel consumption. Suffice it to say that the same power unit reduces fuel consumption over an NEDC cycle by up to 10% compared with a conventional 88 kW 1.4 TBi engine.
The new power units represent a significant point of departure from the current petrol engine scene. For example, compared with a conventional petrol engine of the same capacity, MultiAir provides an increase in power (up to 10%) and torque (up to 15%), in addition to a significant reduction in fuel consumption (up to 10%) and emissions of CO 2 (up to 10%), particulate (up to 40%) and NOx (up to 60%).
At the heart of MultiAir is a new electrohydraulic valve management system that allows a reduction in fuel consumption (by controlling air directly via the engine intake valves, without using the throttle) and harmful emissions (via combustion control). As befits a flag-bearer for the downsizing concept, MultiAir is a versatile technology that is easily applied to all petrol engines and may potentially be developed for diesel engines.
Load management by means of the intake valves also means that combustion can be optimised even on motorways. The area within which the mixture is made richer has been greatly reduced by exploiting characteristics of the technology: the air-fuel ratio is still stoichiometric at 150 km/h, for example, ensuring a greatly reduced specific consumption.
Finally, the new generation of MultiAir engines has been designed to enhance the car setup options available via the Alfa DNA selector to ensure the most effective response to the driver’s expectations and the different road conditions, adjusting its performance via a different torque curve, accelerator sensitivity and overboost management.