14 March 2008

It’s the Alfa Meato!

Mi.To, actually. Meet the baby Alfa with the troubled name

Alfa MiTo

Say a curiously abbreviated Hel.Lo to the Alfa Romeo Mi.To, the car with the most troubled name since the Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince.

The Mi.To is the new baby Alfa, set to launch this summer as a rival to the Mini and upcoming Audi A1. Known as Junior during its development - in part because Alfa is pitching it as a reborn AlfaSud - Alfa then ran an international survey to choose the name, giving punters from around the world a choice of several evocative Italian monikers.

The public chose Furiosa. But, in true non-democratic spirit, the Alfa chiefs decided to ditch that and go with Mi.To. Yes, Mi.To. As in the first two letters of Milan and Turin (erm, Torino) - the little Alfa being designed in the first city and built in the second.

Phew. With that out the way, let's have a look at the car that Alfa hopes will double its sales in the UK. The Mi.To (still hating that name) sits on a modified Grande Punto platform, and measures 406cm from nose to tail - some 36cm longer than the Mini.

The Mi.To's unmistakeably Alfa-ish styling borrows heavily from the 8C, with a bulging nose, big rounded arches and circular rear headlamps. It's a design language that we'll see more of in the next few years from Alfa when the 149 arrives. Though we've not had a chance to look in the cabin yet, Alfa promises 'top-quality materials and the closest attention to detail'. We expect spun gold thread and cashmere upholstery.

Alfa is staying coy on engine details, but expect four turbocharged petrol and diesel units from launch. The highest-powered variant could be the Fiat Group's 1.4-litre petrol engine tuned to about 155bhp. However, a hotter GTA version will follow, pushing the Mi.To up to fighting weight with the Vauxhall Corsa VXR and Clio 197.

Good news indeed, but we're still struggling to work out how to pronounce the damn thing. Mitto? Me-too? Meato? We're going with the last one. Sounds like a new brand of dog food.

Now share it...

What do you think?

This service is provided by Disqus and is subject to their privacy policy and terms of use. Please read Top Gear's code of conduct (link below) before posting.