In normal “diesel speak”, the 1.6-liter oil-burner under our test car's hood would be regarded as a small technical masterpiece. Sadly, these past few years diesel engines have evolved quite a lot, and this can be regarded only as bad news for our little Alfa. Considering it sports a rating of no less than 120 horsepower at 3750 rpm and a humongous torque of 320Nm (236 lb ft), which is quite impressive for an engine of this displacement, the JTDm we got to drive is much less impressive than you would expect. No, we're not talking about the sensation of speed every time we floored it, we're talking about how less good it looks on paper compared to its number one rival.
We suspect the main difference comes from the weight - 1280 kilograms or 2822 pounds for the MiTo 1.6 JTDm compared to only 1165 kilograms or 2568 pounds for the Mini Cooper D. This basically means that, at least on paper, the differences are pretty steep. Let's see now, both cars have a modern and petite common rail engine with just 1.6 liters of displacement. Both share a 0-100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) acceleration of 9.9 seconds. So, where are the differences, you may ask?
Well, the Mini achieves the same naught to 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint with 10 horsepower and a staggering 80 Nm (59 lb ft) of torque less than the MiTo. Not to mention the fact that, at least on paper we must stress, the Cooper D uses 3.9 liters of fuel to cover every 100 kilometers (US 60.3 mpg), compared to the “massive” 4.8 liters (US 49 mpg) used by the MiTo.
In conclusion, the engine under the MiTo 1.6 JTDm's hood is mighty impressive, as long if it powers a car with a substantially less amount of weight. Either it's the weight, or maybe Italian test drivers used the “All-weather” mode to check the acceleration and the “Dynamic” mode to check the medium fuel consumption. Other than that, the six-speed manual transmission is pretty precise (except maybe from second to third at times) and the fact that it uses cables means the engine doesn't make the stick shiver at idle almost at all. Continue reading