Those hoping for a Mini roadster based on the Superleggera concept may have to wait for a while to see whether it would materialize or not. Mini’s top executive, Peter Schwarzenbauer, said that parent BMW has yet to approve such version, but said he is pushing for the approval of the production model.
The UK’s Car magazine recently reported that a version of the Superleggera two-seat roadster would go into production in early 2018, this giving Mini a sporty boost. In January, AutoBild reported that BMW and Toyota are in talks over an entry-level car for Mini that would be dubbed as the Mini Minor.
Schwarzenbauer remarked has been a big fan of the Superleggera since it was unveiled in May 2014 at the Villa d’Este concourse d’elegance near Como, Italy. As for the possibility of a new entry-level Mini, he said that he doesn’t see “a smaller car than the current one.”
Schwarzenbauer said that for this year, they expect Mini to top the 303,030 vehicles sold in 2014, although they see its volume not to keep growing by 20 percent as it has in January and February. He said the first-quarter comparison is quite misleading since at the beginning of 2014, Mini phasing out the previous-generation Mini three-door.
He noted that the three-door Mini hatchback is outselling the recently launch five-door Mini. He said that the order inflow is 60 percent for the three-door and 40 percent for the five-door.
In the segment as a whole, however, five-doors account for between 70 percent and 80 percent of sales. Schwarzenbauer remarked that the brand needs an electric variant since it is an urban brand, noting that EVs are most suitable for cities. “Electrification of Mini is very important.”
The MINI Superleggera Vision has an exterior that smoothly merges with the interior through design, as visually separated by a surrounding shoulder line in polished aluminum. This shoulder line border results to an enclosing athletic element that completes the apparent elegance and generous surfaces of the vehicle’s exterior.
Meanwhile, the interior design of the Superleggera Vision celebrates classical coachwork construction, in terms of its styling as well as in terms of the appearance and feel of its materials. The interior also reflects how the Superleggera Vision came to life: by referring the important features – like the tube-shaped structural elements and the untreated aluminum sheeting -- and making them through a high-quality interpretation, especially in the dashboard.
The untreated aluminum sheeting is a result of leaving a single aluminum sheet in the appearance of a vehicle body sans a paint finish. These unpainted surfaces and spectacular hand craftsmanship of the dashboard both reflect the skilled artistry of the coachbuilders. This is also apparent on the doors and the three-spoke steering of Superleggera Vision. Interestingly, structural elements in the doors form a Union Jack, implicitly revealing the British origins of this car.
In addition, the Center Instrument in the middle of the instrument panel of the MINI Superleggera Vision features a touch-sensitive control element as well as two circular instruments with metal surrounds. Aside from the analog clock on the right, the cabin features a camera – activated by a second framed instrument -- integrated between the driver and front passenger seat, given occupants the capability to take pictures while on the road.