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Mini Superleggera Vision debuts

Perfect vision: Mini collaborated with Italian coach-builders Touring Superleggera in the design of the Superleggera Vision concept.

Possible future roadster design previewed by Mini Superleggera Vision concept

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Mini logo26 May 2014

MINI has hinted at a desire to add another sporty roadster to its burgeoning line-up by unveiling the Superleggera Vision concept over the weekend at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on Lake Como in Italy.

Designed in collaboration with Milan-based coach-builder Touring Superleggera, the striking two- seater features a rounded front end design, with circular headlights and a gaping hexagonal grille that ensures it maintains the current Mini design flavour.

Enhancing the roadster look is a long bonnet, long wheelbase, short overhangs, frameless wrap- around windscreen and a low-slung stance, while wheels that are set wide on the body make for “a high degree of agility”.

A circular theme is evident at the front, with the fog-lights carrying a similar shape to the headlights, while the circular air inlets feature on either side of the carbon-fibre front splitter.

Another nod to the BMW-owned brand's heritage includes the bonnet stripes that are three- dimensionally embossed rather than just decals.

Mini says there are very few gaps in the body of the roadster thanks to the large aluminium sheets used by Superleggera in construction, while the sills are made from carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP).

The curvy tail end features some unusual styling elements, including a fin that sits prominently in the centre of the boot lid, as well as quirky LED tail-lights that resemble the Union Jack split in two thanks to the placement of the licence plate and two polished chrome bars.

The smooth, uncomplicated lines of the exterior continue in the cabin, with the hand-crafted dash covered in untreated aluminium sheeting, a three-spoke steering wheel, and more Union Jack styling elements, this time as black chrome grab handles in the door panels.

An unmistakeable Mini element is the circular instrument cluster sitting atop the centre stack, albeit a more modern take on the theme with a touch-sensitive control element as well as an integrated camera.

Virtually untreated leather is a feature of the cabin, with the darker colour of the bucket seats contrasting with the tan leather on door panels and transmission tunnel, while the footwell area is finished in matte-textured paint.

Mini has given very little away about the powertrain, only confirming that the Superleggera is an electric vehicle.

BMW Group senior vice president of design Adrian van Hooydonk said the collaboration with Touring Superleggera has produced a concept that references Mini's past while looking toward the future.

“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,” he said.

“What is more, they both emphasise iconic design and distinctive solutions. These elements are merged in the MINI SuperleggeraTM Vision to create an elegant automobile which interprets a British roadster under the influence of Italian style and hand craftsmanship.” Mini has previously said it intends to expand its range with new body-styles and variants following the introduction of the third-generation Cooper hatch that arrived in Australia in April.

If the Superlegera Vision gets the green light for production, it could bolster Mini's already bulging line-up and become the BMW-owned brand's answer to the Mazda MX-5.

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