BMW chose this weekend’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este to unveil its planned MX-5 rivalling open top Mini in concept form. Called the Mini Superleggera Vision, the stunning concept has been designed in co-operation with the iconic Italian design house to incorporate modern Britishness with added Italian flair.
Held beside Lake Como, north of Milan, the annual vintage and classic car competition has often seen BMW bring futuristic concepts designed in partnership with Italian coachbuilders. Along with the smooth body panels and contrasting sharp pinch-lines, are features that clearly emulate the Mini’s British heritage. Taillights and interior door handles shaped like the Union Flag are joined by a tail fin and curved windscreen, harking back to British classics like the Jaguar D-type.
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Modern touches include a carbonfibre front splitter, bulging arches and large 19inch multi-spoke wheels – though these have been designed to resemble the original Minilites. BMW claims the short overhangs and long, swooping bonnet emphasise the concept’s focus on driving fun, whilst an interior featuring only the bare essentials maintain that driver-centric aura.
Capturing the spirit of traditional coachwork design, the normal Mini’s selection of buttons and dials are contained within a centrally mounted screen and single speedo, and an untreated aluminium dash is surrounded by soft brown leather in typically classic form.
Whilst the design is clearly vintage, what’s under the bonnet is very much modern day. BMW has not disclosed specific details, but has confirmed that the Superleggera Vision is fully electric. BMW’s electric i3 and hybrid i8 both feature a raft of electronic tech, so a zero-emission open top sports car is entirely possible.
The potential MX-5 rival could possibly inspire a future Mini Roadster replacement, but BMW is remaining tight-lipped at this point in time.