MINI and Touring Superleggera, the tradition-steeped design and coach building house based in Milan, have brought the MINI Superleggera™ Vision to the UK for the first time at the highly exclusive Salon Privé.
The MINI SuperleggeraTM Vision is on the one hand a classic roadster – a compact and agile two-seater – expressing the most minimalist and emotional style of motoring; and on the other hand its electric drivetrain gives the car distinctly modern driving dynamics.
In collaboration with MINI, Touring SuperleggeraTM has designed and built an elaborately crafted, unique model which blends the tradition of classic coachwork construction with the MINI’s authentic British styling to create timeless aesthetic appeal.
British design with an Italian accent – the exterior design.
“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,” says Anders Warming, Head of MINI Design.
The perfectly balanced proportions indicate at first glance what the electrically powered MINI Superleggera™ Vision has to offer in terms of a driving experience: the stretched bonnet, long wheelbase and cool, short overhangs convey pure driving fun. As in every MINI, the wheels are set widely on the body, promising a high degree of agility. The passenger cell is slightly set back, further underscoring the car’s dynamic impression.
The front of the MINI SuperleggeraTM Vision features the traditional MINI design icons: two circular headlights and a hexagonal grille define the unmistakable front section, providing a contemporary interpretation of features which have become firmly established over decades. There are also striking classic sports car elements such as a wide track and distinctively curved wheel arches that give the front a dynamic presence. The classic MINI bonnet stripes are three-dimensionally embossed and run on into high-quality polished aluminum accents.
Meanwhile the horizontal rib look of the radiator grille adds a classic sporty touch. The fact that it is closed is a discreet indication of the car’s electric motor. The two fog lights echo the circular contours of the headlamps, providing a smaller interpretation of them in the radiator grille. The air inlets are also circular, giving the front section a distinctive touch. A flat front splitter made of carbon fibre closes off the front to the road, thereby underscoring the car’s sporty statement down to the last detail.
Classic coachwork construction in a cutting-edge interpretation.
The striking element of the side view is the characteristic “Touring” line. It embodies both the high art of coachwork building and classic aesthetics. Surrounded by tight, seamless surfaces, it traces a precise, vibrant movement from the front wheels through to the rear. This reflects the great craftsmanship and longstanding experience of Touring Superleggera in area of body construction: ever since it was founded the company has stood for fine, light sports car bodies. To this day, Touring Superleggera™ shapes large aluminium sheets by hand using the most performing frame structures.
There are very few gaps in the body since it is constructed from large sheets of metal. The result is a closed look that conveys high-quality elegance. The specially developed exterior paint finish Como Blue, almost liquid in effect, stands for both classic and modern style. It particularly underlines the refined Italian touch of the MINI SuperleggeraTM Vision. The elaborate rims and the elegant exterior mirrors in long-hole look complete with a mirror base in polished aluminium add exclusive accentuations at the side.
Meanwhile the striking fin defines the look of the rear, adding a touch of extravagance. It gives the MINI SuperleggeraTM Vision a particular longitudinal dynamics while at the same time embodying the unconventional air of both MINI and Touring Superleggera. Like the “Touring” line at the side, it is modeled with enormous precision. The highlight of the flat, wide rear is the unusual lights: designed in the form of a Union Jack divided in two, they combine functionality and symbolism in a way never seen before.
Echoing the exterior – the interior design.
The exterior and interior design of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision merge seamlessly. Only a surrounding shoulder line in polished aluminium visually separates the exterior and interior from each other. The border creates an encircling, sporty gesture that consistently perpetuates the clear elegance and generous surfaces of the exterior.
In its styling and in the look and feel of its materials, the interior design celebrates the tradition and the essence of classic coachwork construction. It reflects how the automobile was created: the essential features are quoted – the untreated aluminium sheeting and the tube-shaped structural elements – and they are made visible in the interior by means of a high-quality interpretation. This is most striking in the dashboard. The latter is created from a single aluminium sheet and has been left in the state the automobile body would look like without a paint finish. The generously sized unpainted surfaces and the clearly visible hand craftsmanship of the dashboard go together to reflect the skilled artistry of the coachbuilders.
The Center Instrument in the middle of the instrument panel draws on MINI design styling and has been extended for the MINI SuperleggeraTM Vision to include a touch-sensitive control element and two circular instruments with metal surrounds on the right.