Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, says that no decision on the MINI Superleggera Vision Concept has been made. “But we haven’t made a decision yet. It’s an economically challenging project. I keep pushing for it because I think it would be extremely good for the brand,” says Schwarzenbauer.
Considered by many the concept car of 2014, the MINI Superleggera highlights potential new design cues for the brand such as a stretched hood, long wheelbase and short overhangs. Sources say, if approved, the Superleggera will either adopt the complex one-off plug-in technology featured in the design exercise (e-motor up front, combustion engine driving the rear wheels) or the front-wheel drive architecture seen in the MINI range. If the latter is chosen, MINI Superleggera will be driven by three and four-cylinder engines, with a top model S developing 189 horsepower.
MINI will reduce the lineup to five models, down from eight. The British brand plans to focus on the three-door and five-door version of its classic hatchback, as well as on the Countryman crossover and Clubman wagon. Last year, Schwarzenbauer says that niche models are not only too expensive to produce given their small sales, but they also take up a lot of the marketing budget. Small-volume models such as the MINI Roadster and Coupe as well as the Paceman, which together accounted for just over 8 percent of the brand’s sales last year.
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. Many classic MINI design cues have been carried over, including a hexagonal shaped grille, oval shaped headlamps, bonnet stripes and multi-spoke wheels.
If approved, Superleggera won’t arrive until 2018.