Some cars are meant to be DRIVEN. Some are meant to be admired with a glass of wine while others are designed to eat away the miles. Some are the meant to showcase your wealth and opulence of fine taste. But a few elite models are meant to be lusted after by petrol heads and on lookers alike…
MINI did a real sneaky with the unveiling of MINI Superleggera Vision Concept with the press release, images and video all going live on late Friday evening on the 23rd May 2014. Where was my invite to Italy???
Two of the most stylish nations in the world met together to design a British roadster with Italian flair
Before you start moaning that Superleggera is only for Lamborghini therefore it’s not a real Superleggera. Superleggera means ‘Super Light’ to which it is with aluminium body panels & Carbon fibre chassis and the coach building company who made it is called Superleggera.
Here is a quick history into Superleggera – Started in 1926, Touring Superleggera is forerunner of advanced automotive design and custom coachbuilding. The company is one of the rare firms offering the whole in-house productive cycle from the first sketch, all the way through surface engineering and structural analysis, style models and prototypes, to turn-key, low-volume production of special bodywork.
The company was located just north of Milan, near Alfa Romeo, Italian Citroën, and the former Isotta-Fraschini plant.
Carrozzeria Touring licensed the Superleggera construction system to Aston Martin, who designed and manufactured Superleggera chassis for the DB4 and DB5. Several other manufacturers created automobiles using Carozzeria Touring’s Superleggera chassis construction technology. Notable examples include:
Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Mille Miglia
Alfa Romeo 1900 Super Sprint
Alfa Romeo 2600
Aston Martin DB4, DB5 and Lagonda Rapide
BMW 328 Touring Roadster
Ferraris 166, 195, 212 and 340 models
Lancia Flaminia Convertible
With any great automotive design, anyone has to instantly recognise what is from a glance.
The front of the concept gives it away instantly with the round headlights but from the back I would have no clue to what it could be. Honestly from a distance it could be anything from Jaguar D-type to Marcos Mantis
The design language of the model is very minimalist with just surface creases to emphasis the contours and body line as coach builder Superleggera hand shaped sheet aluminium for the body. The deep lustrous paint is called Como Blue which really brings out the body lines and exposed aluminium touches.
Being a man of finer details there are a few you might miss with the bonnet stripes not actually being bonnet stripes but inlaid bonnet harks a small homage to British of yesteryears. Fuel cap on the front wing is another sporting touch to old racers, while that rear fin is such a Jaguar D-type detail.
There is going to be no question that you have been passed by a British car as the tail lights form the Union Jake.
This model doesn’t seem to be for posers but an out-and-out performance model with the exposed cross braces on the doors and smerk inducing BOOST button the steering wheel. Reading through the press release there was quick mention of an electric motor!
Hmmm will MINI receive the same engine setup from the i8 which shares the same 3 pot engine.
I have always been a sucker from carbon fibre and the concept doesn’t disappoint with a carbon splitter to cut the air infront while the two circular holes in the front bumper are designed to feed the engine air.
This coach building theme is carried on with interior as an infusion of exposed aluminium, Sabbia coloured leather and a digital console make for a real merging of form and function.
To enter this beauty you either literally jump into it or press the open button by the leather wrapped roll bars (I would personally choose to jump in). Whilst you’re in your in, as I don’t think I would want to leave as the seats are a hybrid mix of classic roadster and racing bucket seat with a four point harness.
Now where do I put my driving gloves and shades?
Before I wrote this article I watched a video by Jay Leno on Steve McQueen’s 1956 Jaguar XKSS a real race car for the road. It is definitely worth a watch as it shows what roadsters are meant to be and I think MINI hit the nail on the head with getting Superleggera to build the concept. But MINI could have got it horrible wrong like the Lamborghini 5-95 Zagato.
There is always air of will they or wont they build it with any concept but this concept raises a few more questions than answers…
Will MINI make the F56 bumper look as gooooooodddd as this concept!!!
Is this concept a look into the future? New MINI Roadster? Is this another Concept which wont see the light of day?
BMW tends to do that quite often with the insatiable BMW Z4 Zagato which should be been built
I want to hear your opinions on this concept – Do you like or loathe it?
Next Blog Post: The Last Dash: MINI Lakes Run
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I really like the Superleggera concept. There is a viscereal minimalism and wonderful exterior lines to it. The interior is so simple and elegant. It is an instant classic. I love my MINI Roadster, but this is completely different beast. Let hope this concept will become reality, even if it’s only for the wealthy ones.