Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The latest new features of the Alfa Romeo MiTo

A desire to be ahead of its time is encoded in the DNA of the Alfa Romeo MiTo. After being the first car to offer the revolutionary MultiAir engine, it is now the first car on the market to offer an innovative dual dry clutch automatic transmission (DDCT) teamed with Start&Stop, the system that temporarily switches off the engine when the car is stationary. In addition, still focusing on the theme of technological innovation, the MiTo model introduces the brand new “Blue&Me–TomTom”, the latest version of the Blue&Me system.

“Alfa TCT”

The innovative “Alfa TCT” - the latest automatic dual dry clutch 6-speed transmission - will be debuting in Geneva on the Alfa Romeo MiTo.
Developed and produced by FPT, Fiat Powertrain Technologies, this new device is part of a modern family of 6-speed gearboxes (C635) that was launched - in the mechanical version - on the 170 HP MiTo 1.4 MultiAir Turbo petrol. Now it's the turn of the “Alfa TCT” teamed with MultiAir engines with Start&Stop system fitted as standard: indeed, the Alfa Romeo MiTo is the first car on the market to combine these three innovative technologies. Available from next spring, visitors to the show will be able to admire a 135 HP MiTo 1.4 MultiAir Turbo petrol with “Alfa TCT” and gear levers incorporated into the steering wheel (optional).
The new device, conceptually, consists of two gearboxes in parallel, each with its own clutch, which allows the selection and engagement of the subsequent gear while the previous one is still engaged. The gear is therefore changed with a simple gradual switch of the corresponding clutches, guaranteeing continuous torque delivery and therefore traction. The result is a driving comfort and sporty feeling well above those offered by conventional automatic transmissions (with torque converter), as proven by greater speed of gear shift, the possibility of selecting between manual or automatic mode and a near-zero power loss during the gear change. In addition, the purchasing, servicing and running costs are limited, while fuel consumption is reduced, thanks also to the implementation of the Start&Stop system, up to 10% less than a traditional automatic hydraulic transmission with torque converter.
Specifically, the “Alfa TCT” features the largest number of interactions with the vehicle's systems available on the market. Indeed, its operation interacts with the steering wheel, the brake and accelerator controls, the Alfa DNA selector, the Start&Stop system, the ABS, the engine and the inclinometer (slope detector to engage the Hill Holder and disable Start&Stop on activation).
Other peculiar features of the new “Alfa TCT” are its flexibility of application, thanks to the compact size of its components, and the fact that it is a dual dry clutch (the type of clutch that guarantees the highest degree of efficiency in terms of fuel consumption among all automatic transmissions). If we compare "Dry" clutches with oil bath ("Wet") ones, we can safely say that the former dissipate energy only during the actual slipping phase of the gear change and on pick-up, whereas wet clutches, which always operate in an oil bath, introduce losses due to viscous friction such as those of conventional automatic transmissions even when they are not in operation. What's more, they require forced cooling with oil and therefore continuous energy expenditure to drive the dedicated oil pump (absent in the case of "Dry" clutches). Moreover, a "Wet" automatic transmission requires approximately 4.8 litres more oil than the "Dry" version, again for reasons of clutch cooling (in this way, weight is added and losses due to splashing increase). When all these effects are added together, a “Alfa TCT” is found to be approximately 6% more efficient than the corresponding "Wet" one in terms of consumption. Last but not least, the advantages of the "Dry" clutch include the lower cost and the increased ease of installation.
Lastly, it should be remembered that the new “Alfa TCT” boasts a generous 23 public patents split into 3 areas: gearbox control, gearbox mechanics and gearbox actuator.


The “Blue&Me–TomTom” is much more than a portable satellite navigation device. It is a genuine infotelematic system which combines practical use with the complete integration with the vehicle's existing systems. It is the result of a partnership between Fiat Group Automobiles and TomTom, the European leader in portable navigation systems, and integrates with the other systems in the car thanks to the versatility of the Blue&Me system, developed in conjunction with Magneti Marelli.
Thanks to a practical 4.3” colour touch-screen and a simple and intuitive graphic interface, you can control the navigation functions, your telephone and the information typically displayed only on the trip computer, such as fuel consumption levels and autonomy.
The complete integration of the Blue&Me-TomTom is also a valid support for safety: the control of the features via the controls on the steering wheel and voice commands, the position at the centre of the dashboard which is easy to reach and visible, the electricity supply integrated into the support.
Moreover, it can be transferred for other uses like any other portable device. The “Blue&Me–TomTom” on the Alfa Romeo MiTo also offers “IQ route” technology, to find the best route considering the date and time of travel, calculated on a database that contains traffic information on a statistical basis.
Thanks to the TomTom Home web application customised for Alfa Romeo, further features will readily become available. These include the on-line updating of maps and "MapShare”, the large internet community with over 5 million registered users who can share the information on maps in real time.
Compared to a normal portable satellite navigation system, the "Blue&Me-TomTom" also incorporates the exclusive “Car Menu” to let you display information on the car and all connected devices:
- “Fuel Efficiency”: real-time information on your driving style and suggestions for reducing environmental impact and optimising consumption by changing gear and accelerating appropriately to suit the nature of the route;
- All trip information on a single screen: distance travelled, consumption and range;
- Fuel reserve warning and directions to the nearest filling station;
- Places of interest, Alfa Romeo service centres and LPG filling stations;
- Management of the mobile phone connected to Blue&Me: dialling the number on the touch screen, call management, information, contacts and last call log.

Blue&Me-TomTom for the Alfa Romeo Mito is, in short, a genuine "window of communication with the vehicle” to allow the exploitation of its full potential and to improve your driving style in complete safety and maximum comfort.
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