We've already seen the first official shots of the new MiTo, but that doesn't mean the testing is over. Our spies caught this barely disguised version undergoing final development tweaks at the famous Nurburgring circuit in Germany. ( AE )
Even with the black tape covering the bodywork it is easy to see the influence of the company's 8C Competitzione supercar. At the front is the same bold grille and oval headlamps, while at the rear it gets circular LED lamps.
The stylish Alfa is part of a two-pronged attack on the successful MINI by parent company Fiat. With the funky 500 it has the perfect rivals for lower specification versions of the British-built supermini, while the sporty MiTo will go head-to-head with the powerful Cooper and S models.
By evaluating the newcomer at the Nurburgring it's clear that the Italians company is serious about matching the MINI for driveing fun. The front-wheel drive chassis will feature a hi-tech electronic control system called DNA - Dynamic, Normal and All-weather. This will control the responsive of the throttle, steering, brakes and gearbox to suit different conditions.
Underneath the bonnet will be a range of engines familiar to owners of the Fiat Grande Punto and Bravo. Included will be the turbocharged 1.4-litre T-JET petrol and 1.9-litre JTD oil-burner. Power outputs should range from 90bhp to 155bhp.
Initially the MiTo will be available with a three-door bodyshell, with a five-door arriving shortly after the launch. Company bosses are also considering estate and convertible versions.
Officially unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in September, the first UK versions of the baby Alfa will hit showrooms in January priced from around ?12,000.