TRC-Marangoni, an Italian tuning specialist that has for years been in the lucrative business of making appearance and power upgrade packages for luxury cars, knows a thing or two about making an already highly attractive mass-produced vehicle even more desirable. However, it is this tuning program for the new Alfa Romeo Mi.To warmed-up hatchback that really shows-off the Italian brand’s customization prowess.
The idea behind the fairly new Alfa Romeo Mi.To. ultra-compact hatchback was that young and not particularly wealthy people craving for the much more expensive Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione super car would buy the hot hatchback for starters with a chance to become Alfa’s loyal customers in the future. Like many gateway drugs, the Mi.To. offers a lot of satisfaction at fairly affordable price, but, as tolerance sets in, leaves you craving for more and more finally leading you to a local dealership with a huge loan in your hand and wind in your pocket.
The Italian tuning studio TRC-Marangoni takes the idea even further, trying to sell the modified version of the hatch to those dreaming about another Italian wonder-car: the relatively new Ferrari F430 Scuderia super-coupe. On the other hand, the tuning package may become (at least a temporary) cure for those who already own the Mi.To. long enough to outgrow its potential, but still not capable of financing a more expensive sports car.
First of all, the Italian tuner has equipped the tiny car with a new body kit. Clearly inspired by the F430, the kit features a new front bumper with a pair of larger air intakes that bring the vehicle closer to the MiTo GTA Concept that was unveiled before the production version. Not sure how functional the air intakes are, but, featuring fine mesh grille inserts, they at least look like offering better cooling both for the tiny 1.4-liter engine and the front brakes that seem to be left stock.
The new side skirts and a rear bumper with an integrated carbon-fiber rear diffuser with holes large enough to fit TRC-Marangoni’s custom quad-pipe exhaust system, too, make a lot stronger impression than the factory-installed ones.
A pair of Lamborghini-style guillotine doors, a suspension lowering kit and a graffiti-like two-tone paintjob almost finish the picture with a final touch applied courtesy of red-rubber, low profile tires fitting the black-colored 18-inch alloy wheels.
To make the car closer to its source of inspiration, TRC-Marangoni’s engineers tuned Mi.To.’s 1.4-liter T-Jet engine from 155hp to much more impressive 220hp. Although I somehow doubt that the engine upgrade package increases the motor’s life expectancy in any way, you may still find the increase in power quite impressive considering how lightweight and nimble that hatchback is. All in all, I must admit that the kit, with its racy look and bad-ass attitude, is a rare example of a tuning package that actually makes the base vehicle look a lot better than the production version of an initially great concept that was neutered by all those focus groups and executive meetings.
If I was one of proud owners of a MiTo, I think I would go for the package right now.
See also: 2008 Alfa GT Cloverleaf Q2 Edition (UK)