Former Head of MINI Design Anders Warming had a crazy idea in 2006: building a “Minarri”, a MINI Ferrari. Warming, former head of BMW Exterior design as well, and now boss of Rolls-Royce Design, has been toying with this idea for years, but nothing came to fruition until 2013. BMW was looking for a new partner to build a Vision car for Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and they turned to Touring Superleggera, the famed Italian coachbuilder. Adrian Van Hooydonk was potentially looking at another BMW-branded project, but Warming had other plans: a futuristic and expensive MINI. The story is revealed in Steve Saxty’s “BMW by Design” and “Hidden Gems” books.

Still Fresh 10 Years Later

The MINI Superleggera Vision is a concept car that combines the classic design of the British brand with the elegance of Italian craftsmanship. The result is a stunning roadster that blends tradition and innovation, performance and style. The car was unveiled at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in 2014, where it received a warm welcome from the public and the critics. The MINI Superleggera Vision is inspired by the iconic MINI Cooper, but also by the legendary Superleggera (super-light) construction technique developed by Carrozzeria Touring in the 1930s.

The body of the car is made of hand-crafted aluminum panels, which give it a sleek and aerodynamic shape. The front grille, the headlights and the tail lights are all LED-based, creating a modern and futuristic look. 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.

BMW Almost Built The Superleggera

For years, media, including ourselves, lobbied MINI and BMW to build the car. Despite the prospective steep cost of approximately 120,000 euros, the visionary MINI had the potential to be completely sold out. Kudos to the BMW Group, as they made a genuine effort to bring this car to life. They constructed a second, fully functional Superleggera and actively sought a manufacturer for series production.

Former head of R&D, Herbert Diess, went to motorcycle maker KTM to build car, but the MINI’s complexity put a stop to any further talks. Another obstacle in front of MINI’s Superleggera? The MINI range had too many models. Regrettably, the business plan failed to progress any further. Further insights into this project can be found in the “BMW by Design” book, providing additional details on the matter.

Even today, the MINI Superleggera Vision is a beautiful concept with modern Italian lines and futuristic tech that will absolutely sell even without any modifications. It’s a combination of retro and avant-garde design that we’ve been craving for years. There are also additional chapters in the book that cover other coachbuild projects. The three-volume boxed set will be available soon – at a pre-order price of $299.95/€270/£78.11. Alternatively, the principal book, “BMW by Design” is available immediately for $99.95/€90.02/£88.10; all with free shipping in USA, UK and EU.