Thanx for the nice welcome!
It's already some months ago but I'd like to share my nice little Alfa experience with you:
MiTo Training Days, 18. – 19.06.08
I could hardly believe it but it was real! The Alfa-MiTo-Blog had invited me to the International Training Days, to meet the MiTo in the metal together with the german dealers. Now I was standing at the gate to the legendary Alfa proving ground in Balocco. Then we drove in and passed some tracks with test cars making rounds: Look, a Ferrari! Was that really an 8C?
We arrived at the buildings where a crowd of dealers already enjoyed some tasty cakes. Then we went into an assembly hall which was decorated with several sketches and detail pictures of the MiTo. After a short intro movie it was spoken about the situation of Alfa Romeo on the german market at first. Then the MiTo went into focus.
This new model would mark the starting point of the new Alfa range: Cars that would be built around the old Alfa values again, with the 8C as an icon always in mind. Then a special guest hit the stage: Christopher Reitz, Alfa's new chief designer. He told us about the thoughts behind the MiTo's strong design elements and answered several questions from the audience. When it came to the GTA version, it got obvious he was very proud of the already finalised design. According to some voices from Alfa Germany it will appear "end of next year"...
Enough talk, now it was time to go out on the track! When we left the building a whole armada of MiTos in red, black and white was shining for contest. What a picture! It may sound a bit bland, but you really have to see this car in the metal! The front looks sharp and ready to go. Nothing of the feared fish eyes in sight! It may have this effect on some pictures but in reality the headlights appear a lot smaller. Good! The silhouette leads a curvy way to the back where the classy round lights form my personal highlight. So beautiful! The other cars (207, Clio, Corsa...) looked quite pale against it...
The MiTos were all specced as Distinctive and some had sport or leather seats. I specially loved these ones but all the different interiors looked very proud: Cockpit, steering wheel, door trims – everything quite sporty but classy at the same time. The carbon look dashboard had a very nice expression in bordeaux red, and normally that's not included in my fave colors.
After a speedy introduction lap as co-pilot of professional drivers we were allowed to enter the drivers seat. I instantly felt at home: Everything felt solid and reacted right the way I expected it from a sporty car. Steering, gear lever and pedals in good reach and with nice response. I have to admit, in the rush of excitement I didn't notice the position of the DNA switch, but the car went fast forward without a turbo lag, quite similar to big non-turbo engines. It went through the curves without swinging nor shaking. Well done! We went on to an all-weather test on a wet, slippery track and again there was nothing to complain about. The comfort for the driver was great and also the back seat felt good with 2 persons. With my 1.83 m I had absolutely no problems with head room.
The next day was reserved for sightseeing: The Mirafiori factory in Turin. Possible for the first time with the MiTo launch, we drove along the production line with a small train. Really interesting to observe a complete car production process! The lines were still quite empty but that should change until mid July. Everything appeared to be very tidy and trimmed to modern standards. We heard that every build process is automatically monitored by electronics and used for the quality controls. A good portion of the cars gets additionally tested on the factory's proving track. And there stood a huge armada in red sportpack trim, waiting for the green light. What a cool sight!
After the tour we spent some time at the Mirafiori Motor Village and studied the other Alfa models. Then it was time for the airport and we went back home. These two days in Balocco and Turin were gone way too fast, what stays is an unbelievable strong impression of Alfaland and anticipation of a really cool car!