We started the economy run at the Brussels Midi station...our former test car, the Panda TwinAir, also participated in the run...
After our drive to the French capital with the Panda TwinAir, the dynamic PR people of Fiat decided to have an "encore" by organising a full blown economy run to Paris with 3 Twin Air powered cars of the Group: the Panda, the Fiat Punto and last but not least the Alfa MiTo.
Having driven the Panda, (actually, the car participating in the run was our former test car) and having tested the Punto, (a test report of this very car which participated in the run will appear soon) we opted for the Mito.
The drive to Paris produced quite astonishing consumption figures...just read on!
Hans Knol ten Bensel
We started off at the Brussels South station, (see photo above) and after some rather light morning traffic we hit the "autoroute" to Paris at Drogenbos. We drove the MiTo in the "Normal" mode, settling for a cruising speed of some 90 kph.
Cruising quietly to Paris, with a consumption of just 4 litres/100 km.
The engine hum is almost inaudible at this speed, and overall were pleasantly surprised by the pleasing sound and smoothness of the unit.
State-of-the art flywheel technology helps to achieve this uncanny smoothness, together with sophisticated engine mounting.
Needless to say that the engine itself is well built. It sports amongst other things a counter-rotating balancing shaft.
This was our workplace for the economy drive...a very enjoyable one!
Efficiency with variable inlet valve lift...
Let's just recall here that MultiAir is an electro hydraulic valve actuation technology, which actually controls the air intake with variable valve lift and makes a trottle valve superfluous. This technology now also finds it way in the twin cylinder TwinAir.
As it avoids pumping losses and reacts more directly, greater efficiency is achieved.
This MultiAir technology was already patented by Fiat in 2002, and introduced on the 2009 Geneva Show on the ...Alfa MiTo!
This is the now well known 1.4 litre MultiAir engine which is built in Termoli at the Fiat Powertrain Technology factory. Actually, this engine is now also built in the USA at the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance in Dundee, Michigan, and finds its way in the north American version of the 500.
Almost there, a few hundred metres from the "Motor Village" at the Rond Point des Champs Elysées...
How it works...
The valve tappet (cam follower) is moved by a mechanical intake cam, and is connected to the intake valve via a hydraulic chamber, controlled by an on/off solenoid valve, which stays normally open.
Varying pressure in the chamber will affect the amplitude of the valve opening.
It is of course easier said than done to develop this into mass production, and Fiat worked more than a decade on it.
The Vice President of Fiat Powertrain Research and Development Rinaldo Rinolfi led the team who developed the technology.
Arriving in Paris in style: the lines of our Alfa blend marvelously wih the architecture of the "Terrazza Fiat" at the Paris Motor Village
Cruising gently on the autoroute, we were able to enjoy the creature comfort of the MiTo, and we must admit that quiet cruising is very restful indeed. We just could admire the beautiful and characteristic instruments and dials, and saviour that inimitable Alfa ambiance in the well finished cockpit.
We could park our stylish Alfa in front of the Motor Village in Paris... with the Panda behind...
In the meantime, the fuel gauge just refused to go down, as we consumed at constant speeds only some 3.6 to 4.1 litres on 100 km. The gauge needle barely moved during the first 100 km.
We kept driving theMiTo in the "normal" mode, (see photo above, with the motorway toll ticket next to it) keeping constant speeds on the motorway, maintaining the trottle constant when going uphill, but letting the car gain speed freely when going downhill. In dense Paris city traffic, we kept de revs between 1400 and 2000 rpm, avoiding too brisk accelerations, but being no sluggard either.
The counters and the display show it clearly: our consumption on the run was 4,9 litres/100 km, which is very creditable indeed for a car weighing some 1200 kg..
Overall consumption on the whole run was some 4.9 litres, which is admirable considering the weight of the Alfa and the absence of any "eco" mode on our car.
It just proves what modern petrol engines, and in this case the marvelous TwinAir engine, are capable of nowadays...
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Victory drink at the Motor Village in Paris: an exhibition of Formula 1, its history, its drivers and last but not least its famous cars was held at the date of our arrival... a report of this grand exhibition will follow soon in these columns...
The PR people of Fiat Group, Wim Willems and Dominique Fontignies, thought of everything, including a healthy breakfast at the Midi Station.
During the leasurely drive, we could enjoy fully the creature comfort of the Alfa...