The Mini Superleggera Vision: a British car in a tailored Italian suit
MINI Superleggera Vision. The car's body is made from hand-shaped aluminum panels. (Mini UK)
Published Monday, May 26, 2014 8:06AM EDT
(Relaxnews) - A show car that marries cutting-edge technology with centuries old craftsmanship, the Mini Superleggera Vision is what happens when an Italian coachbuilder is given free rein to reimagine a British icon.
Since BMW resurrected the Mini brand, the company has tried to stretch the car into different shapes, sizes and categories in order to extend its appeal, and sometimes with varying results.
However, there can be no questioning the decision to partner with Touring Superleggera, the legendary Milanese design studio and coachbuilder, on a special one-off lightweight roadster.
The result, revealed at this weekend's Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este classic car gathering, is a two-seater, open-top sports car, with a slightly extended wheelbase enclosed in a hand-shaped and formed aluminum body.
It is a car that pays homage to the history of the Mini and to British sports cars of the 1950s and 1960s, as well as to the work that Touring and other coachbuilders like it have been doing almost since the birth of the car itself.
"Mini and Touring both believe that proportions are the key factor of beauty, and share the same values of essentiality and innovation," says 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."
Under the hand-crafted skin and away from the premium quality leather of the interior is a 21st century all-electric drivetrain, the performance figures for which BMW isn't providing. But that's not surprising seeing as this car is focused almost 100 percent on looks.
This is the first Mini to officially get the Italian design treatment, however, it is the second time in two years that BMW has turned to an Italian design studio to create a stunning concept vehicle. Last year, the German carmaker partnered with Pininfarina to create the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé, a magnificent V12-engined luxury GT car compete with a fossilized wood interior.