MINI's Superleggera Vision: An Italian designed EV you can't have
Upon first glance, the MINI Superleggera Vision features a design taking inspiration from Bentley, the Jaguar F-type, Aston Martin and various Porsche 911 iterations. With a Jaguar D-type styled dorsal fin on the trunk, the concept speedster isn’t actually designed by MINI at all, but rather by Touring Superleggera.
Superleggera, was a term invented by coachworks firm Carrozzeria Touring to describe the company's "super light" designs. The nameplate has found its way onto a number of performance and collectible vehicles including Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martin and, most recently, Alfa Romeo’s stunning Disco Volante.
This impressive design history helps to explain the car’s un-MINI like aesthetic qualities. The one-off by Superleggera Vision by Carrozzeria isn’t a production exercise, but rather a boutique piece to show off at the 2014 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este that took place this past weekend on the shores of Lake Como in Italy.
Being a one-off isn’t the only unconventional aspect about the Superleggera Vision; the concept also features an all electric drivetrain. However, BMW isn’t divulging specifics on what the vehicle's exact power abilities might be.
The cockpit features a bare aluminum dashboard with the most minimal of gaugework and dials. The speedometer resides by itself on the steering column, while the modified centralized instrument cluster features an analog clock and an interactive digital element. The bare center console is again an exercise in minimalism, playing off the unfinished look of the matte aluminum dashboard.
Since the thing is electric there’s no shifter to clutter the console, just a few switch fittings and what looks to be an emergency brake. The remainder of the interior features copious amounts of leather, tubular door inserts in the shape of the Union Jack, and old-school black leather bucket seats.
As for the exterior, this is where the house of Carrozzeria shines. By using hand formed aluminum sheets the bespoke designer has produced a wonderfully sculpted, shortish roadster that evokes a number of design influences and eras. Nose on, you get MINI, Jaguar and Aston Martin, but from the side there’s a half-door and flowing lines reminiscent of a Bentley. At the back, MINI has not so subtly snuck a Union Jack design into the taillights that are enclosed in a beautifully finished tail section.
To my eyes, the tiny dorsal fin that worked wonderfully on the iconic Jaguar D-types unfortunately looks forced and out of place on the concept. However, the overall proportions and design execution surrounding the Superleggera Vision make for a car that I think BMW should really consider producing at some point … but only if the Italians get to oversee the finished design.