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Alfa Romeo brings TCT to SA

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IOL mot pic mar28 Alfa MiTo TCT 1

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Alfa MiTo now combines a MultiAir engine, dual-clutch transmission and stop-start function in one car.

Alfa Romeo’s new Twin Clutch Transmission - an automatic, dual dry-clutch, six-speed gearbox - is now available in the Mito, together with a MultiAir engine and idle-stop function - which, says Fiat Auto SA, makes it the first car on the market to combine all three.

Much like VW’s DSG, the new transmission actually has “two gearboxes” in parallel, each with its own clutch, so the next gear can be selected while the previous one is still engaged - the actual gearshift is a matter of simultaneously de-clutching one gearbox while engaging the clutch on the other.

Properly calibrated, it provides something very close to a seamless shift, and it’s much slicker than a conventional automatic transmission with a torque converter.

In fact, it can deliver better acceleration through the gears than even a manual set-up in all but the most expert hands. Fiat Auto quotes a 0-100 sprint time of 8.2 seconds (0.2 seconds better than the manual) for the 1.4-litre Mito with the 100kW, 230Nm Multi-Air engine while, at the same time, fuel consumption is down from 7.4 to 7.1 litres per 100km.

SMOOTH, EFFICIENT GEAR-CHANGES

The TCT transmission monitors input from the anti-lock braking system, engine control unit, DNA selector and the idle-stop system to move the shift points and set shift speed for the smoothest, most efficient gear-changes, either as an automatic transmission box or a manual sequential gearbox.

IOL mot pic mar28 Alfa MiTo TCT 2

A cutaway TCT gearbox with its dual clutches closest to the camera.

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The MiTo TCT is available in Alfa Romeo’s Distinctive trim level, which includes cruise control, ‘follow me home’ headlights, electrically adjustable mirrors, steering-wheel paddle controls, Blue&Me entertainment system, front fog lights, LED tail lights and 17” alloy rims shod with 215/45 radials.

As with all MiTos it has seven airbags as standard and an electronic stability programme that includes hill hold, anti-lock brakes, traction control, brake assist and dynamic steering torque.

The TCT joins a revised-for-2012 MiTo range that includes the Distinctive and the 125kW, 250Nm Quadrifoglio Verde and Quadrifoglio Verde Sport.

BOTTOM LINE

The Mito 1.4 Turbo Multiair Distinctive TCT costs R265 000.

All MiTos including the TCT come with a five-year or 150 000km warranty and a six-year or 90 000km service plan.

Service intervals are 30 000km.

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