You can trust Alfa Romeo to cause a stir: its Mito compact hatch has done just that since its launch. Style-wise it's pleased fans of the marque; there are numerous nods to Alfas from the past, and it's this feeling the Italian car maker wants to mine further with its high performance Cloverleaf model.
Unmistakably an Alfa Romeo even without its badges, the Mito is not like your average compact tin box on wheels. Taking many of its design cues from the 8C supercar, the Mito squeezes the same headlight and grille arrangement onto a much smaller car. It is a design that people either love or hate, and that's all part of its charm.
Alfa Romeo hopes that charm offensive can be turned up a notch with the Cloverleaf variant. Boasting a 170 horsepower version of its acclaimed Multiair petrol engine, the car with most of Alfa's racing heritage on its shoulders aims to take a shot at the likes of Mini's Cooper sub brand.
And Alfa's engineers have been working hard to make it happen. This is no marketing vehicle in the literal sense. Further suspension, steering and brake tuning over the standard Multiair models - themselves no slouches - has seen the Cloverleaf car sport a purposeful bodykit and demonstrate an impressive level of performance.
Granted, there a few rough edges in its performance, but for the most part the car offers a welcome alternative to cars that appear to have been honed on the track and not the road. The result is not the bone-shaking ride associated with said rivals and a rewarding, real world ownership experience. And the car's Multiair engine is gem; remember, this is 'only' a 1.4-litre turbo unit.
Our verdict on the Alfa Romeo Mito 1.4 MultiAir TB 170bhp Cloverleaf
In Cloverleaf form Alfa's Mito compact hatch delivers an appealing mix of style and ability. It's not perfect, but what it does it does it well. The electronically adjustable ride is no gimmick, and genuinely adds value to the ownership experience. As does the 1.4 Multiair engine, which cleverly delivers a considerable slug of power and supermini-rivalling economy.