February 24, 2009 If cars are purposefully given facial features to help personalise them to the public (they are), then we're not sure what to make of Alfa Romeo's high performance concept Alfa MiTo GTA which has a not-so-charming visage reminiscent of a berserker warrior. The famous GTA (Gran Turismo Alleggerito) signature indicates a lightweight (Alleggerito means reduced weight in Italian) sports throughbred, and the MiTo GTA boasts massively increased horsepower (from 155 bhp to 240 bhp), along with a dramatic, though unspecified, weight reduction brought about by a diet of carbon fibre and aluminium.
Considerable work has gone into lowering the vehicle’s centre of gravity; thus certain components such as the tailgate spoiler, roof and mirror fairings are in carbon-fibre; while aluminium is used extensively in the braking system, suspension, and some parts of the chassis.
Under the bonnet, an exciting new petrol engine, very much in keeping with the pre-requisites of downsizing, environmental awareness, and the offer of high power and efficiency in return for low weight and optimised packaging, powers the new GTA Concept.
Designed by Fiat Powertrain Technologies and exploiting the vast experience gained in the production of Twin Spark and Alfa V6 road and race engines, the compact new petrol engine employs advanced technical solutions including direct injection, dual variable valve timing, state-of-the-art turbocharging and advanced electronic management systems to produce a remarkable 240bhp from just 1742cc.
Under-floor aerodynamics have been a particular concern, while the entire car has been lowered by some 20mm. Front suspension employs new geometry with aluminium leading arms, while the rear suspension has all-new bushings, and the comprehensively revised chassis boasts an ‘active’ suspension system, (advanced damper control), which counteracts the transfer of load under acceleration, stiffening the rear end and maximising traction. The suspension also interacts with the braking system and steering to obtain the most efficient control of vehicle dynamics, while a ‘Sky-Hook’ function ensures an excellent level of passenger comfort under conditions of everyday use.
Expect to see this mini projectile on sale sooner or later, as its sporting prowess is likely to be a significant improvement over the standard and already sport MiTo thanks to the radically improved power-to-weight ratio.
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