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Alfa Romeo readying mid-level MiTo Veloce

by Mark Kleis

Alfa Romeo recently unveiled its high-performance MiTo GTA at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, but it appears as though the MiTo range will soon grow by at least one more model. To fill the gap between the standard MiTo and the hottest GTA model, Alfa Romeo will reportedly introduce a new Veloce model.

Although the Veloce won't offer the all out performance of the GTA, the mid-grade hatch promises better all-around performance than the base car. Underhood, the Veloce model will use a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, cranking out 180 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque. That added grunt should be enough to get the stylish hatch from 0-60 in about 7.5 seconds with a top speed lifted to 133 mph.

To ensure the Veloce stops and handles better than the base car, Alfa will equip the new model with upgraded brakes and suspension, as well as larger 18-inch wheels. An aggressive body kit will also be in the mix.

Despite its minor performance upgrades - compared to the GTA - model, the Veloce will reportedly use plastic and carbon fiber for pieces like the rear hatch, roof and spoiler to keep weight down and the car's center of gravity low.

Sales for the new MiTo Veloce model could start as early as the latter half of this year - but the current status of the car is still up in the air at Alfa.