We had our first look at the "too hot for America" Alfa Romeo MiTo compact at the 2008 British International Motor Show and were impressed, if not a little disappointed that we'd never get to drive one. Now that Fiat Group is looking to seriously bring the Alfa Romeo brand to the colonies, we feel it's time for a second look at a hot variant of this hatch.
The Alfa Romeo MiTo GTA (Gran Turismo Alleggerito) goes on a carbon fiber diet, reducing weight and boosting the power-to-weight ratio. The ultra-light carbon fiber is used in the tailgate spoiler, the roof, and the mirror fairings; while aluminum is used to reduce weight in areas where the composites can't--for example, the braking system, suspension, and some parts of the chassis. The body has been stiffened and reinforced at where Alfa's engineers deemed necessary. The end result is a MiTo that is not only lighter for better acceleration, but is also specifically lighter where it counts, lowering the center of gravity and sharpening the handling.
But Alfa Romeo couldn't just reduce the weight and leave well enough alone. Tucked under the hood is a 1.75-liter, 240-horsepower four-cylinder engine with turbocharged direct-injection and in the wheel wells is an Alfa D.N.A. system that controls the responsiveness of the steering and suspension, larger 19-inch wheels wrapped around four-piston monoblock Brembo brakes, and new high-performance tires specially developed by Pirelli.
Outside, the MiTo GTA receives the requisite more-aggressive front air dam and a body kit meant to increase downforce, while echoing the curves of the dead sexy Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. Inside the cockpit, drivers are treated to a RadioNav color display that displays navigation information, configuration information associated with the Alfa D.N.A. system, various indicators such as the engine oil temperature, turbocharger pressure, throttle valve opening percentage, and acceleration trends and G-forces in real time.
Hello? Mazdaspeed3? If the Alfa Romeo MiTo GTA's ever hits North American shores, it'll be knocking on your door for hot-hatch supremacy.