Mini Superleggera Vision concept
The Mini is one of the world’s best known cars and, since acquiring it in the late 1990s, BMW has launched a staggering number of versions which stretch the design cues of both Alec Issigonis’s original, and Frank Stephenson’s modern replacement.
This one takes things a little further than even the aggressive little coupe we saw a couple of years ago. It’s called the Mini Superleggera Vision Concept, and it made its international debut at the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este in Italy.
It’s a collaborative effort between Mini’s design team – headed by Anders Warming – and Touring Superleggera, which was formed in 2006 to resurrect the ethos of legendary design house Carrozzeria Touring.
The result is this: a neat and nimble package that reflects the heydeys of British open top motoring.
BMW’s group design chief Adrian van Hooydonk said, “Touring Superleggera and Mini have much in common: both companies attach great importance to their history and this is something which defines their outward appearance to this day. What is more, they both emphasise iconic design and distinctive solutions. These elements are merged in the Mini Superleggera Vision to create an elegant automobile which interprets a British roadster under the influence of Italian style and hand craftsmanship.”
Warming added, “The Mini Superleggera Vision elegantly perpetuates what the Classic Mini started 55 years ago: reduction to the essentials. Its energetic, minimalistic design embodies the dynamic essence of an automobile. At the same time it creates unique emotional beauty in combining the past and future of the automotive industry, i.e. traditional coachwork craftsmanship and modern design styling. It was a pleasure for me to design a concept like this.”
There’s no doubt the car reflects the styling seen in things like the much-loved frog-eyed Sprite and MG Midgets, but other touches like the elegantly framed windshield, and off-side rear quarter Jaguar D-Type-style fin reflect other key styling influences.
The car is fully electric too which raises questions over weight – especially given that “superleggera” is Italian for “superlight” – and that electric powertrains and batteries are notoriously heavy. No weight figures were announced but, as it’s a concept only, it would only become a key consideration if BMW decides to put the car into production.
BMW says the interior is finished to a standard which celebrates the tradition and the essence of classic coachwork construction. Unpainted metal, black chrome and brown Sabbia leather trim abound – and the dashboard is made from a single piece of unpainted aluminium. The sporty bucket seats are covered in black leather as a nod to Mini’s motorsport pedigree.