MINI has revealed a striking concept for this weekend’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este that could offer a first look at a rumoured new roadster model.
Dubbed MINI Superleggera Vision, the new roadster concept is the result of a collaboration with Italian coachbuilders Touring Superleggera.
Officially crafted as a design exercise only, the Superleggera Vision could nonetheless be the first evidence that MINI is planning a hot new roadster to take on Mazda’s new MX-5.
(Although if such a model were to appear, we’d expect to see power again go to the front wheels, sharing its platform with the likewise rumoured BMW Z2.)
Details on the concept’s powerplant and dimensions have not been revealed, with MINI and its BMW masters preferring that fans focus, for now, on the looks.
BMW design boss Adrian van Hooydonk describes the roadster as an “elegant automobile which interprets a British roadster under the influence of Italian style and hand craftsmanship."
The front-end is all MINI, with the circular headlights and broad grille design that have dominated all of the BMW-era models in the range.
But through the profile, there is little to distinguish the Superleggera Vision as a MINI, showcasing instead a classic study in Italian simplicity.
The equally elegant rear is given a special styling trick as a tribute to MINI’s British heritage, integrating the nation’s Union Jack flag into the tail-light design.
The cockpit is a similarly spartan exercise in subtle styling, with a large aluminium dash dominated by only the classically styled three-spoke steering wheel and a modern digital display.
“MINI and Touring both believe that proportions are the key factor of beauty, and share the same values of essentiality and innovation” said Louis de Fabribeckers, Head of design of Touring Superleggera.
“In this car all unnecessary equipment or decoration is sacrificed, as performance is gained through lightness and efficiency of the bodywork and interior. The Italian touch is in the proportions and the typical waistline.”
Can we expect to see this MINI in production? Its designers aren’t saying, and truly it could be too great a challenge to market this very Italian roadster under the MINI banner… but we can hope.