Alfa Romeo Mito and Mini Cooper in the test

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Alfa Romeo Mito and Mini Cooper in the test
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Anyone who fills squared blocks with page-long cost bills before buying a car or measures trunk with a folding rule just shakes them Head: 20,000 euros for dwarfs like the Mini Cooper or Alfa Romeo Mito with a few standard extras - simply inconceivable for utility optimizers. Even thick lists of surcharges for chrome trim rings, mirror caps and decor sets do not catapult the two of them to the top of the many-car-for-the-money charts. It looks different in the sympathy ranking, where M ini since 2001 with nostalgic charm that has taken the hearts and purse of everyone by storm, for whom size is not a question of centimeters.

The Alfa Romeo Mito simmering Italian sports car tradition

A recipe that has also been used by the Alfa Romeo Mito followed. With an arrow-shaped radiator scudetto, massive wheel arches and an impressive collection of analog clocks, Alfa's offspring simmered decades of Italian sports car tradition on a 2.50 meter wheelbase. And if he shows up in the national motorsport Rosso, even status-conscious Ferrariists will forgive him if yellow-black horse stickers get lost on the fenders. All the more so since there is a world first under its bonnet: The Multiair hydraulic valve train does not require an intake camshaft and promises an optimal opening for every cylinder and load condition. The omission of an efficiency-inhibiting throttle valve should also reduce consumption by ten percent - with an increase in performance of the same order of magnitude.

The Mini Cooper cannot keep up with the Multiair-Mito in the test

Thanks to the 1.0 bar boost pressure of the Garett turbo, it barely reaches 100 hp per liter. The Alfa pulls with passionate pronunciation and tight torque just above idling speed Romeo Mitoits British counterparty from the start. The gap becomes even greater when the standard driving dynamics control DNA (dynamics, normal, all-weather) sets the accelerator characteristic curve, ESP coordination and pull-through to attack at the touch of a button. In position D, 206 Nm (otherwise 180) are almost free of turbo holes. Compared to the charged Multiair engine, the Mini Cooper vacuum cleaner looks as innovative as the glockenspiel in Big Ben. Although only 15 HP weaker, the brave 1.6-liter has to stretch to over 4,000 rpm in order not to lose sight of the chrome-rimmed LED taillights of the Alfa. In view of the fiery temperament, even the additional Mito consumption of 0.2 liters /100 km seems justified.

The Alfa Romeo Mito does not throw itself into the bends as relishly as the Mni Cooper

However, test consumption of almost nine liters is absolute for dwarves with start-stop systems seen not particularly glorious. Where performance counts less, the tide turns in favor of the Mini: On a tight course, the Briton implements the commands of his direct and low-impact steering as jaggedly as Buckingham guards use their rifles. In addition, it barely pushes over the front wheels, even in fast turns, and can be easily lifted around the corner with short accelerator puffs without the ESP releasing the reins. The chassis with multi-link rear axle, which is still unrivaled for small cars, is therefore forgiven for the fact that short bumps in particular penetrate to the occupants. Although the two hundredweight heavier Mito also turns in spontaneously and drives safely, it is nowhere near as relish as it throws itself into the meandering country roads.

The trunk test is won by the Alfa Romeo Mito

In addition to the diffuse steering and its top-heaviness, the greater side tilt and the higher seating position prevent it from melting together of driver and machine as in the Mini. Cross joint stucking and violent vertical movements are also at the expense of comfort. What is even more annoying on bad roads are the permanent creaking noises of the actually lovingly designed interior. The quality impression is also undermined by the gearshift lever, which is nowhere near as precise as you would like it to be. After all, 36 extra centimeters in the Alfa Romeo Mito ( the Alfa Romeo Mito Multiair in the driving report ) for an adequate luggage space, whereas the tiny compartment in the Mini Cooper suggests the back seat is the same to leave folded down. Those who have to thread themselves into row two, on the other hand, should be reminded of a middle seat in the low-cost airline in both cases. The Cooper interior is also largely made of hard plasticsome unworthy details like the climate controls with Lego feel. However, it consistently refuses to comment acoustically on the quality of the road surface. Quirky design ideas such as porthole speedometers or toggle switch bars still look fresh.

The Alfa Romeo Mito cannot make use of its lower base price

Thanks to the thin roof posts, the Mini Cooper can be easily overlooked and without a parking beeper in a confined space maneuver. With the Alfa Romeo Mito installed at the rear, however, it is advisable to order the distance sensors (310 euros) at the same time. The advantage of its lower base price is shrinking mainly because air conditioning or aluminum rims are charged separately. The bottom line is that the great engine remains the Alfa Romeo Mito's only trump card. Ambitious mini drivers, on the other hand, only want the turbo boost of the Cooper S version that goes well with the bustling handling, which again burdens the budget with almost 4,000 euros. But, as I said, you should leave the checkered math pad in the drawer anyway.

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