MINI Superleggera™ Vision – timeless beauty that blends the traditional with the modern.
MINI celebrates the meeting of the time-honoured and the contemporary at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2014 with a very special concept: the MINI Superleggera™ Vision. This exclusive interpretation of an open-top two-seater was created by MINI and Touring Superleggera, the tradition-steeped design and coach building house based in Milan. The MINI Superleggera™ Vision is on the one hand a classic roadster, a compact and agile two-seater and on the other hand its electric drivetrain gives the car distinctly modern driving dynamics.
Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design on the concept: "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. What is more, they both emphasise 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."
British design with an Italian accent - the exterior design.
"The MINI Superleggera™ Vision elegantly perpetuates what the Classic Mini started 55 years ago: reduction to the essentials. Its energetic, minimalistic design embodies the dynamic essence of an automobile. The perfectly balanced proportions indicate at first glance what the electrically powered MINI Superleggera™ Vision has to offer in terms of a driving experience: the stretched bonnet, long wheelbase and short overhangs convey pure driving fun. As in every MINI, the wheels are set widely on the body, promising a high degree of agility. The passenger cell is slightly set back, further underscoring the car's dynamic impression.
The front of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision features the traditional MINI design icons: two circular headlights and a hexagonal grille define the unmistakable front section. There are also striking classic sports car elements such as a wide track and distinctively curved wheel arches that give the front a dynamic presence. The inlaid bonnet harks back to classic British roadsters of bygone days.
Classic coachwork construction in a cutting-edge interpretation.
The striking element of the side view is the characteristic “Touring” line. Surrounded by tight, seamless surfaces, it traces a precise, vibrant movement from the front wheels through to the rear.
There are very few gaps in the body since it is constructed from large sheets of metal. The result is a closed look that conveys high-quality elegance. The specially developed exterior paint finish Como Blue, almost liquid in effect, stands for both classic and modern style. The elaborate rims and the elegant exterior mirrors in long-hole look complete with a mirror base in polished aluminium add exclusive accentuations at the side.
The highlight of the flat, wide rear is the unusual lights: designed in the form of a Union Jack divided in two, they combine functionality and symbolism in a way never seen before. In this way they express the British roots of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision while at the same time emphasising the modern LED technology as already used in the new MINI. A chrome bar demarcates the rear lights at the centre of the rear, making this area a classic British jewellery icon.
Echoing the exterior - the interior design.
The exterior and interior design of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision merge seamlessly. Only a surrounding shoulder line in polished aluminium visually separates the exterior and interior from each other. The border creates an encircling, sporty gesture that consistently perpetuates the clear elegance and generous surfaces of the exterior.
The interior design celebrates the tradition and the essence of classic coachwork construction. The generously sized unpainted surfaces and the clearly visible hand craftsmanship of the dashboard go together to reflect the skilled artistry of the coachbuilders. The doors and the sporty 3-spoke steering wheel likewise reveal the traditional method of construction. The structural elements in the doors form a Union Jack, discreetly indicating the British origins of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision.
The Centre Instrument in the middle of the instrument panel draws on MINI design styling and has been extended for the MINI Superleggera™ Vision to include a touch-sensitive control element and two circular instruments with metal surrounds on the right. In addition to the analogue clock on the far right, the second framed instrument activates the camera which is integrated between the driver and front passenger seat. It has the function of capturing those particularly worthwhile moments on the road.
Classic and modern to equal degrees - colour and material design.
The classic materials aluminium and leather in a virtually untreated state define the reduced aesthetics of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision in the interior. The structural elements in the doors and centre console are finished in high-quality black chrome, exclusively set apart from the aluminium surfaces and the raw, matt textured paint finish in the footwell area. The sporty bucket seats are reminiscent of bygone MINI motor racing achievements and are covered in high-quality black leather. True to the MINI Motto "Hide & Reveal", accentuations in Misty Magenta provide a touch of Italian flair in tongue-in-cheek MINI style in concealed spots such as the two hot air outlets under the instrument panel and inside the door openings in the structural elements of the doors.
Coachbuilding in 2014.
Since 1926, Touring Superleggera is forerunner of advanced automotive design and custom coachbuilding. The company is one of the rare firms offering the whole in-house productive cycle from the first sketch, all the way through surface engineering and structural analysis, style models and prototypes, to turn-key, low-volume production of special bodywork.
“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. He continues: “This project also shows MINIs attention to preserving and nurturing the skills of craftsmanship incorporated in modern coach building.” The MINI Superleggera™ Vision epitomises the potential of “Carrozzeria” in today’s automobile industry: blending creativity and flexibility with rigor and respect of high standards. The result is a car of classic beauty that is also state of the art.
About Touring Superleggera
Since 1926, Touring Superleggera is an iconic name of Italian “Carrozzeria”. From the very beginning, the Touring design is hallmarked by perfect proportions, purity, integrity, simplicity result in timeless sporty elegance. Touring used wind tunnel tests as early as in the 30s and patented the “Superleggera” construction system, featuring aluminium body panels over a light and stiff tubular steel frame. Significant Touring designs span from the flamboyant 1931 Villa d’Este winner Isotta Fraschini “Flying Star” spider to the Ferrari 166 Touring „Barchetta", the Maserati 3500, the first Lamborghini ever, the 350-400GT. Another iconic automobile is due to Touring: the Aston Martin DB4, followed by the DB5 and 6, manufactured in Newport Pagnell under license for the Superleggera bodywork system. Recent models include the Maserati Bellagio Fastback and the two-seater Touring Berlinetta winner of the “Best Supercar of the Year” award in 2009.
In 2010 came the acclaimed Bentley Continental Flying Star, manufactured with the endorsement of Bentley Motors, followed by the Gumpert Tornante (2011), a superfast GT commissioned by the German extreme sports car specialist. In 2012 Touring celebrated a masterpiece from its rich heritage, taking inspiration from the Alfa C52 Disco Volante of sixty years before. The innovative, breathtaking Alfa Romeo Disco Volante, built by hand in a limited run of up to eight units, won the coveted Design Award at Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este 2013.
The 2014 MINI Superleggera™ Vision is the first project ever made in cooperation with MINI.