Alfa Romeos are beautiful cars, there's no denying that. With almost no exception, every decade has spawned a truly special, more-than-gorgeous model for the hardcore Alfisti out there. In the last decade, that model has most likely been the 8C Competizione. Penned by Wolfgang Egger, the retro-modern 8C and its open top "Spider" sibling, have turned quite a lot of onlookers' hearts into prisoners.
With such a great hit on their hands, the guys in charge at Alfa realized they must be on to something. Corroborated with the fact that they didn't have any competitor to the highly-successful "by BMW" Mini resurrection, a somewhat peculiar decision was made. DNA samples were taken from the 8C Competizione and then mixed with those of the Fiat Grande Punto. We'll cover more of the "DNA" concept later on into our test drive, by the way.
When BMW launched the new MINI brand in 2001 there weren't that many people who envisioned the world's first premium small car to benefit from a great deal of sales success. Well, apparently it did, therefore convincing other premium or near-premium carmakers to jump on the bandwagon.
The first to come up with a real competitor to challenge the Mini's success was Alfa Romeo, with the funky-named MiTo. Launched in 2008, it quickly became obvious that the model is more than just a Fiat Grande Punto with an Alfa 8C Competizione body kit. Apart from being an abbreviation made out of Milano and Torino (the Italian cities where it was designed and built, respectively), the name "MiTo" is also a play of words, since in Italian it means "myth". Kind of neat, huh?
Well, not entirely. A year before the official launch of the car, a naming competition for it was held in all major European countries. A lot of people voted and the MiTo was very close to be named "Furiosa", since that was the winning name in the aforementioned contest. Apparently, the big decision-makers at Alfa did not quite like it and determined that "MiTo" would be more fitting.
With these said, we took a MiTo in Alfetta red to test drive in order to see what's all the fuss about with the tiny but furious Italian hatchback. Since its other two competitors were missing at the time of our test drive (we're talking about the Audi A1 and the Citroen DS3, ed), our only way of comparing the MiTo with a somewhat similar car was to put it up against the Mini, a version of which we also tested the past week. So, let's see how the MiTo 1.6 JTD stacks up against its rival.