Whether by design or just poor timing, the latest reports have Alfa Romeo presenting its highly-anticipated upcoming MINI rival to local dealers on March 18, just after the Geneva Motor Show where it was expected to debut. Following the first orders that will be taken in Italy in June and initial deliveries in September, the new Alfa hatch will be officially launched at the Paris Motor Show in October.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for: after scrapping the names Junior and Furiosa, Alfa Romeo will reportedly call its new entry-level model "MITO". The name is a combination of the cities Milano and Turino, where Alfa Romeo and Fiat are respectively based. Pre-production prototypes are just about ready but, according to reports, will have to be destroyed in compliance with new Italian laws – which means we won't be seeing any more Enzo-powered Ferrari 348s up for auction. The production MITO, meanwhile, will offer a range of engines starting with the base 1.4-liter four producing 95 or 105 horsepower, followed by turbocharged versions with 135 or 165 hp, topped by a 230-hp 1.8-liter turbo and a 120-hp 1.6-liter JTDM turbodiesel. A host of electronic wizardry will be offered, including a Ferrari-style Mannetino switch on the steering wheel, stability control, and Alfa's Q2 electronic differential, all in a package designed to ape the 8C Competizione – not a bad place to start.

[Source: Italiaspeed]