The Alfa Romeo Mito has received a lukewarm reception for the way it rides and drives, but the company is hoping its hot GTA version will add more than a touch of sparkle to the line-up.
For now, it is billed as a concept car, although we expect the production version to be near-identical when it goes on sale by early 2010.
The GTA puts the emphasis on cutting weight in order to enhance performance, and will be substantially lighter than the standard car through the extensive use of carbonfibre and aluminium components.
There's also a new 235bhp 1.75-litre turbocharged petrol engine designed by Alfa's parent company Fiat. Although no top speed figure has been released, the new speedo runs to an impressive and unlikely 300kph (about 186mph).
The Mito GTA has also been lowered 20mm below that of the standard car and uses Alfa's Q2 technology, which mimics a mechanical limited-slip differential to increase traction.
Other features include more direct steering and an active suspension system that controls the car's body via the shock absorbers.
It also has Alfa's DNA system, which allows the driver to alter the car's behaviour between Dynamic, Normal and All Weather.
The brakes are made of cast iron and aluminium, reducing weight by 15-20%.
Details that are unlikely to make production include the rear compartment for crash helmets and a fire extinguisher, which are included merely to emphasise the car's sporty nature.
Prices for the production car have yet to be announced, but the GTA is expected to be around 2000 less than the Mini JCW - giving it a price of about 19,000.
Alfa Romeo Mito GTA video
• The Alfa Romeo Mito GTA at the Geneva motor show