Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

MINI's Superleggera Vision: An Italian designed EV you can't have

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May 26, 2014

The one-off Superleggera Vision by Carrozzeria is a boutique piece shown off at the 2014 C...

The one-off Superleggera Vision by Carrozzeria is a boutique piece shown off at the 2014 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy

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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.

The bare center console is again an exercise in minimalism, playing off the unfinished loo...

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.

By using hand formed aluminum sheets Carrozzeria has produced a wonderfully sculpted, shor...

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.

At the back, Mini has not so subtly snuck Union Jacks into the taillights that are enclose...

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.

Source: BMW

About the Author
Angus MacKenzie Born on the cold, barren Canadian plains of Calgary, Alberta, Angus MacKenzie couldn’t decide between marketing, automotives or an entrepreneurial path - so he chose all three. When not writing, Angus has for the past six years been Editor-in-Chief for elemente, an internationally recognized architecture/design magazine.   All articles by Angus MacKenzie
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7 Comments

I think that is really cool. I think if there are enough people liking it and indicating that they would buy one, they would reconsider and put it into production? One can only hope.

I think it would compete with the Mazda MX 5 Miata and other similar size sports cars.

It would be really cool if Smart would be inspired by it and make a new Roadster. Wishful thinking but it is nice to dream about the possibility.

BigGoofyGuy
26th May, 2014 @ 08:35 am PDT

Why is it an "emergency brake"? It's the 'handbrake' or parking brake. (Or do you only park in an emergency?)

Ian Cameron
26th May, 2014 @ 06:40 pm PDT

Looks good (and very buildable) to me also.

Not too sure about the fin though, would rather see a flatter bulge with an extra brake light hidden or just a neat place to put the maker's logo (or both).

I wonder what range they predict? Being light, maybe 200-300 kms?

BUILD IT, PLEASE!

The Skud
26th May, 2014 @ 07:20 pm PDT

p.s.

That minimalist dash looks neat but where is the 'big screen' for navigation iPhone Blutooth use, etc?

Would somehow look strange with a TomTom or Garvin GPS hanging off the windscreen base.

The Skud
26th May, 2014 @ 07:26 pm PDT

@ The Skud

The place for the satnav is where the speedo is, with the speed shown as a 'watermark' on the map. Use the satnav to continuously calibrate the speedo signal and have the map guaranteed to be accurate regarding speed limits. Then use the fly-by-wire throttle to ensure that the speed limit was never exceeded and you take a whole load of stress out of the modern driving experience.

Where I live they have the most ridiculous speed limits and camouflage the speed cameras by painting them grey - result: go somewhere new and you get passed by all the locals who know where the cameras are. As for mobile patrols, there is a well established CB radio network which keeps people well informed.

Mel Tisdale
27th May, 2014 @ 04:44 am PDT

the steering wheel hub is the last place i'd put the speedometer. Instead, put it in the lower section of the windshield as a "heads up" display. I agree on the navigation screen, but add on a few extras to it.

How about some details on it?

notarichman
27th May, 2014 @ 06:49 am PDT

Halleluiah!!

At last, a genuinely attractive variant on the MINI theme- MINIs have got uglier and more grotesque with every iteration.

This car has beautiful lines, simplicity, and none of the nasty 'stick-on' kitsch of the car it is based on. The Union Jack lights and the dorsal fin could go, but hopefully this could be built.

bergamot69
27th May, 2014 @ 09:21 am PDT
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