Alfa Romeo MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde
The Alfa MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde is an incredibly striking super-mini with a turbo-charged 170bhp 1.4-litre MutliAir engine, dynamic suspension and a wealth of options, and we think it looks attractive from all angles. Is it masculine or feminine? It’s impossible to tell, but it certainly received a volley of admiring glances and comments wherever it went.
It’s much more than a pretty face, though. The Quadrifoglio Verde’s MultiAir engine dynamically controls air intake in response to the engine’s need. According to Alfa Romeo, this means you get a 10-35 per cent power increase, up to 15 per cent more torque at low revs, and up to a 10 per cent reduction in fuel consumption. Given the increasing cost of motoring, this smart engine is as attractive as the MiTo’s exterior.
ON THE ROAD
The MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde is equipped with Alfa’s DNA system, which is essentially a toggle switch that engages one of three modes: Dynamic, Normal and All weather, hence DNA. Normal is the default option, and to engage Dynamic or All Weather mode you simply move the toggle switch backwards or forwards and hold it for one second.
The Alfa MiTo looks striking and sporty without being vulgar
In Normal mode, the throttle response is dull and you need to give it 2,500 revs just to move it, otherwise very little happens. This isn’t too bad if you’re pottering around post-industrial Lancashire towns where the traffic and pace of life is sedate, but not if you’re driving in the southeast where the driving style is more aggressive and movement must be instant if you don’t want someone smashing in to the back of you.
Once you reach 3,000rpm the turbo kicks in and a decent and progressive boost propels you on your way. The boost isn’t exhilarating, but even in Normal mode you can still have fun on country A and B roads if you keep the revs above 3,000rpm. When you hit 5,000rpm you need to shift up to maintain momentum.
Switch to Dynamic mode and you’re in for a completely different experience. The change threw us back in our seats as the mode kicked in, unshackling the throttle response. Dynamic mode gives you a free and lively throttle that loves to rev. The exhaust becomes a lot louder, too; not more aggressive – the MiTo doesn’t roar - just louder. The instrument panel display also changes to show turbo pressure, and you get decent, grin-widening acceleration from 2,000rpm. Indeed, it’s only when you engage Dynamic mode that you realise the extent to which Normal mode constrains the Quadrifoglio Verde.
All Weather mode doesn’t seem to do anything except change the display on the instrument panel, but that’s because its job is to prevent you skidding off the road in poor weather conditions. An unseasonably warm couple of summer days meant we happily ignored the All Weather mode until the heavens opened and transformed the M6 in to a makeshift skid-pan. Visibility was so poor and the M6 so waterlogged that our All Weather mode test simply consisted of pushing our nose to the windscreen and praying. The Quadrifoglio Verde behaved perfectly throughout, and never felt unsafe, giving us confidence in this least-exciting mode.
Alfa's DNA system lets you change to the Sportier Dynamic mode or the safer All Weather mode
Dynamic mode certainly gives you the most fun if you’re a keen driver, and you’ll have it in Dynamic mode more often than not, if only to avoid the initial 2,500 revs of nothingness offered by Normal mode. Dynamic mode unshackles the Quadrifoglio Verde’s engine and reminds your wallet where your wages went. Even so, Normal mode is perfect for free-flowing motorways and dual carriageways; places where the liveliness and higher fuel consumption of Dynamic mode isn’t necessary.