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Supermini 'firsts'

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The Mito takes some of its styling cues from the 8C Competizione - the stunning supercar Alfa Romeo launched last year - which the company says 'is the technical and stylistic mould for all our cars in future'.

That's another way of attracting those young, sporty drivers that Alfa Romeo is looking for.

The shape of the side windows, headlights and LED tail-lights, as well as good aerodynamics, a low ride-height and a wide track all give the tiny Alfa a sporty, purposeful stance.

Looking the part is only half the battle. To attract those racy, fun-lovin' drivers, the Mito has to have the substance to back up the looks.

To do that, the Mito brings a few 'firsts' to the supermini market, one of which is a system called 'Alfa DNA'.

This system, controlled by a knob in front of the gearlever, allows the driver to select three different settings for the way he or she wants the car to drive. These alter the way the engine, brakes, steering, suspension and gearbox all respond.

From the DNA acronym, 'D' stands for 'Dynamic', which offers the driver a more involving, vigorous drive.

'N' stands for Normal', which is intended for more mundane town driving.

'A' is for 'All-weather', where conditions are slippery and grip might be impaired.

Six-speed gearboxes are another 'first' for the supermini market, and a twin-clutch, semi-automatic gearbox will be available for the car later.