Called the MINI Superleggera Vision, the two-seat Mini concept made its world premiere in 2014 at the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake Como in Italy.
Described as blending contemporary Britishness with traditional Italian design flair, the MINI Superleggera Vision is heavily rumored to point to a new open-top MINI model that aims to be more successful than the current MINI Roadster. The new roadster is also rumored to hint at future MINI design and even uses an electric drivetrain that insiders suggest is a development of that used by the BMW i3.
The new Mini was conceived, created and produced in a project between its Munich-based design department and Touring Superleggera’s coach building works in Milan. The former led the styling of the low slung two seater, while the latter undertook its traditional hand shaped metal sheet construction.
“The Superleggera perpetuates what the classic Mini started 55 years ago: reduction to the essentials. Its minimalistic design embodies the dynamic essence of an automobile. It combines the past and future with traditional coachwork craftsmanship and modern styling,” says Anders Warming, head of MINI design. Many classic MINI design cues have been carried over, including a hexagonal shaped grille, oval shaped headlamps, bonnet stripes and multi-spoke wheels. They are combined with a series of traditional styling touches found on a long history of Touring Superleggera models.
The Superleggera Vision boasts classic roadster proportions with a long probing nose, cabin set well back within the wheelbase and a rear end with minimal overhang. The unique interior uses a single untreated sheet of aluminum for the rounded dashboard fascia and large centrally mounted monitor that harks back to the instrument panel used on the original Mini.
It remains unclear whether the VISION will be built in series production. CAR magazine published a story on the MINI Superleggera Concept being approved for production starting in 2018. Twenty four hours later, MINI Chief Peter Schwarzenbauer says a roadster based on the Superleggera concept for the MINI brand was not approved and the board has not decided whether to add a “mini MINI” that would be built with Toyota. Schwarzenbauer said the Superleggera would be a “great addition to the MINI range” but added: “I cannot confirm that it has been approved yet.” Schwarzenbauer also said that Mini needs an electric variant because it is an urban brand and EVs are most suitable for cities. “Electrification of Mini is very important. We are working on that, but I cannot confirm when and what,” he said. With a smaller package, MINI needs to find the perfect spot to place the large battery pack. “Finding available space in a car as small as the Mini is not easy,” Schwarzenbauer said.
The MINI Superleggera Vision Concept has been highly praised by the automotive world, so it won’t surprise us if a slightly revised version would eventually be approved for production. Fingers crossed.
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