NAIAS 2015| When MINI Heritage Coheres With Italian Design
Combine British character with Italian craftsmanship, and what do you get?
Last year, the BMW Group celebrated the meeting of the time-honoured and contemporary Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este with a very special concept: the MINI Superleggera Vision. And at the Detroit Auto Show 2015, the Germans Automaker showed off its beautiful concept again.
Estelle Morris, a British Politician used to say: “If you invent the MINI Cooper, pour all your energy and passion into it and it gets made, you should be on a roll.” And yet, this ultimate two-seater concept is somewhat a journey of re-discovering the basics of quality driving with an electric-powered speedster that’s light, sharp and agile. A car that makes Touring Superleggera something to be proud of. A car to show you the elegance, with a unique sporting edge.
British born. Italian tailored.
Everyone I know either loves the MINI or thinks it’s a cute car; however, not all of them envy it as much as their dream cars. “MINI Cooper has its own heritage. And we want to make it a legend,” said a BMW’s designer.
Therefore, BMW has decided to once again use the Italian house to design a car that will bring the same revolution as well as the original MINI 55 years ago. This concept is a hint for what we will see from future models of the company: the tradition of classic coachwork construction with the MINI’s authentic British styling to create timeless aesthetic appeal.
The MINI Superleggera Vision presents traditional MINI design on a classic Speedster bonnet, with the iconic round headlights and hexagonal grille. Plating on the grille gives it sporting character, while three-dimensional bonnet stripes emboss the hood, leading to polished aluminium accents. A wide stance and muscular wheel arches contrast against sleek aluminum mirrors and rims, finished off in eye-catching Como Blue paint.
“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 emphasize 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 influences of Italian style and hand craftsmanship,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President of BMW Group Design.
Classic, but also Futuristic
The MINI Superleggera Vision cuts a standout silhouette, synthesizing unconventional design elements from both MINI and Touring Superleggera. The wheels are pushed to the corners, delivering go-kart agility. The body is crafted by hand with smooth aluminium sheets moulded over a frame of lightweight aluminium tubes, while a “Touring line” runs from the front wheels to the fin-shaped rear. From behind, the striking rear lights form a two-part LED Union Jack, separated by a sparkling chrome bar. The perfectly balanced proportions draw a wave to the past, as you roar into the future.
Inside the car, the framework stays uncovered, but touches of luxury appear throughout. The instrument panel is built from a single aluminum sheet in which the iconic MINI Centre Instrument rests. British racing heritage is clear throughout, with doors structured in a Union Jack design and bucket-shape black leather sport-seats, Italian flair meets MINI attitude. “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 tough is in the proportions and the typical waistline,” said Louis de Fabribeckers, Head of design of Touring Superleggera.
The MINI Superleggera Vision epitomizes the potential of “Carrozzeria” in today’s automobile industry: blending creativity and flexibility with rigor and respect of high standards. And here is the result: a car of classic beauty that is also state-of-the-art.