Following a positive response to the Superleggera Vision Concept that was revealed last year at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, MINI is reportedly in the early stages of preparing a production version for a 2019 debut.
Intended to rival the Mazda MX-5 in both size, shape and sporting intent, the production Superleggera will differ in one crucial aspect - it will be transverse engined and drive the front wheels.
An all-wheel drive version could also eventuate for a high-performance JCW variant, given it will be built on the same UKL platform that underpins the next-generation MINI Countryman.
Speaking to the UK's Autocar, MINI chief Peter Schwarzenbauer said that the Superleggera's production offspring won't be a mere replacement for the now-discontinued (and unpopular) Roadster and Coupe:
“They don’t compare. The Superleggera is a serious sports car,” he said.
"The interest was tremendous when we showed this concept car. We are now working hard to get it on the street."
Schwarzenbauer's comments confirm rumours that circulated earlier this year, while a patent application for a two-door ragtop with near-identical styling to the Superleggera Vision indicates that the production car could look very similar to the crowd-pleasing concept - Union Jack tail lights and all.
Powertrains could range from the 75kW 1.2 litre three-cylinder that powers the MINI One hatch, to the 170kW 2.0 litre inline-four that propels the Cooper JCW hot hatch (which launched in Australia just this week).
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