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BMW marries time and tradition in Mini Superleggera Vision

Concept combines classic roadster with electric drivetrain

Published: May 24, 2014, 5:00 AM
Updated: July 7, 2018, 8:01 PM

Mini Superleggera concept 1

BMW Group is bringing a very special Mini concept to this weekend's Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este 2014: the Mini Superleggera Vision. An open-top two-seater created by Mini and Milan-based coach builder Touring Superleggera, it features an electric drivetrain that turns traditional coachwork and authentic Brit styling into a thoroughly modern Mini.

"Touring Superleggera and Mini have much in common: both companies attach great importance to their history and this is something  which defines their outward appearance to this day," said Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice-president, BMW Group Design. "What is more, they both emphasize iconic design and distinctive solutions. These elements  are merged in the MINI Superleggera Vision to create an elegant  automobile which interprets a British roadster under the influence of  Italian style and hand craftsmanship."

A long hood, long wheelbase, and short overhangs give the Superleggera a unique look, but the wide-set wheels promise the usual Mini fun quotient.

Vision features iconic Mini circular headlights and hexagonal grille and embossed hood stripes. The closed radiator grille offers a clue to the car's electric motor: it's closed. A side Touring line "embodies both the high art of coachwork building and classic esthetics," according to BMW. Touring Superleggera shapes large aluminum sheets by hand, creating tight, seamless surfaces and a gapless body a machine would be hard-pressed (no pun intended) to match.

The specially developed "Como Blue" paint appears almost liquid, flowing among the elaborate rims and polished aluminum mirrors bases. A striking fin gives the rear its extravagant look. 

Inside, the Superleggera Vision features touch-sensitive control elements and circular instruments, an analog clock, and an integrated camera. Aluminum and leather feature prominently.

"We are delighted that MINI wanted to stimulate an independent  initiative and particularly Italian design for the first time," says  Piero Mancardi, CEO of Touring Superleggera. "This project also shows Mini's attention to preserving and nurturing the skills of craftsmanship incorporated in modern coach building." We're not sure exactly what he meant by "stimulate," but we're pretty stimulated by it too.