MINI Execs Want to Build the Superleggera Concept

Love the MINI Superleggera concept? You’re not alone. We’re fans here at MotoringFile, and for obvious reasons. The concept is an exciting view of what else a MINI can be when it reaches beyond its hatch roots. Yet concept cars can be fickle lovers. When a car is as conceptual as it is beautiful, it often simply passes in the current of a car company’s forward progress.

However the MINI Superleggera is looking very likely to actually see some production form. In an interview with Auto News’ Luca Ciferri, MINI head Peter Schwarzenbauer expressed his unabashed enthusiasm for this new vision of what a MINI can be. He also hinted to real-world production likelihood and there’s even a price floating around: $35,000 euros. Given how EU to US pricing typically works we’d expect something around the $40k + mark if this figure holds true.


“It was love of at first sight,” Schwarzenbauer told me with some tears in his eyes, which he could not take off the stunning concept while we spoke. “With cars it is like with people: the first seven seconds are crucial. I needed much less than that to fall in love with the Superleggera concept.”

Mini parent BMW Group typically uses the word “Vision” for true concept vehicles that offer small details of what’s to come next. The Mini Superleggera Vision seems to be an exception to that rule.

BMW executives already has a starting price in mind: 35,000 euros.

There is no doubt in my mind that when it comes time for the BMW Group to decide whether to make the car the vote will be a loud and clear, “YES!”

So the obvious concept car caveats apply. Many details will be different. That lack of a-pillars would be the first to change in a production model. The tail fin is likely to get lopped (which is a shame, if you ask me). Yet as with previous MINI concepts, we’ll likely see the main attitude and proportions of the car see the light of day.

I’m sure for many readers here, the real eye-popping moment is that price. Is there a market for a $40,000+ two-seater? Yes, obviously there is, however I think that the lament of this community would be that it’s a very different market segment than helped build MINI as a brand in the first place. As MINI continues its move up-market, and its evolution away from some of what many consider core values to the brand as we know it, what does that up-market move in cars like this sacrifice in middle-market accessibility?

Yet when I think about it from a different angle, this particular $40,000+ halo two-seater has the potential to extend the brand’s presence and market reach in a way that none of the existing models really can (even though models like the Roadster and the Paceman have tried). It pushes the boundaries of what a MINI can be up into a space that’s both exclusive and highly profitable. The business case is easy to make. The open question, I think, is will this rising tide eventually lift the price on all the boats in the MINI lineup? As MINI’s small car competitors have gotten more and more premium since the MINI’s debut, it would seem some sort of strategic vision would be in order. It would appear then, at least if the Superlaggera is any indication, that MINI is planning to double down on premium. That move could, quite literally, come at a price.

  • sugurunishioka

    Bring it on!

  • Andy

    The coupe… yes, build that, it’s an awesome car. The roadster… cool, but please get rid of that tail fin (my opinion) it looks corny and takes away from the sleekness of the entire car. The taillights and interior door handles totally rock.

  • Spa2k

    Funny typo in the headline: Superlaggera. Does that mean you think it will be slow? At this price level, I want 300 hp!

  • Dan

    Did I read somewhere here or from another source that this vehicle may be electric and rear wheel driven?

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      We’ve reported that but we’re hearing that’s strictly for the concept.

      • scamper

        Sounds like they need to hear some squeaky wheels then. Electric! As an option, at least. Fiat and VW both offer either on a single platform, so… But I’m aware it all comes down to numbers. I’ll keep squeaking.

  • oldsbear

    It’s sad to think my R56 may be the last MINI I can afford.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godzilla Soundzilla

    I paid more than $40k for my JCW Coupe. Yes, there are people who want a premium, sporty two-seater and are willing to pay more for exclusivity. Keep the fin and let people who don’t like it buy a delete kit. :-)

  • BudD

    Excise the fin and it may be good to go!

  • crabbyolddad

    Is the market ready to support a $40K sports car? Given that the price point is decidedly above the Miata, right where the MR2 and S2000 used to be, I am not too certain, especially given the general sales decline that Mini has been going through lately.

    • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

      MINI hasn’t had a sales decline as much as they’ve had supply issues. You can’t sell a car you don’t have. Our understanding is that demand is far out-pacing production. Unfortunately there have been production set-backs and recalls, which we’ve covered here on MotoringFile, and that’s reflected in the sales numbers for recent months. So to assert that the F56 is not selling well on its own merits would be premature. Who knows. Maybe it won’t, but it’s too soon to tell. It’ll be a few months before that picture emerges and I wouldn’t be surprised if they start having record breaking months later this year.

      • http://twitter.com/matthewwanderer Matthew

        I think if @crabbyolddad would have mentioned the relatively lackluster sales of the Coupe, Roadster, Paceman and even the GP2 his concern about how well the Superleggara might sell at $40k in production form are valid.

        • Mark Smith

          It all depends on where the particular dealer that is selling these kinds of models are. Here in Fairfield County CT. MINI’s like these perform magic tricks. Roadsters fly, Goodwoods (1 manual trans. equipped) disappeared, GP2’s vanished (We were lucky to actually sell 002), Paceman’s run, and Coupe’s are snapped up by 84 year old women (No joke. A JCW of all things!).

        • http://twitter.com/matthewwanderer Matthew

          I’ll take your word for it, but BMW/MINI’s scoreboard tells a much different story.

          BTW, very interesting about the manual Goodwood. I’ve not seen nor read anything about that being a possibility. Add a factory sunroof and sport suspension and….

  • Chilly

    As nice as this concept is there’s no way (imho) that’s its worth more than $40k! I’d rather buy a Miata and have a chunk of change left over.

    • Kurtster

      Then you would have a Miata. Just like a million other people.

      • Chilly

        Fine with me. By the way, I see more MINI’s in the greater Boston area than I do Miata’s.

        • Scott Eaves

          That’s because people over 6″ can’t fit in Miatas. Or S2000’s for that matter.

          I tried to fit in a Miata and an S2000 and couldn’t get the door shut due to lack of leg room.

        • Mark Smith

          $40,000 is inexpensive for a car that people see shades of Aston Martin and Austin Healey in.

        • Chilly

          Guess I must need a new eye exam because I don’t see that at all.

  • is

    dat price

  • NoHoR56

    The original Boxster was about $40,000 in 1997. You can easily spec a MINI in the mid-$30,000’s so it’s not that far up there.

  • Lee

    I really like this car, but can you make a car without doors like 9′ high on the sides per the current crash regulations? That would kill it right there for me.

  • lemelou

    WILL BUY.

  • scamper

    This needs to happen. Just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in.

  • Johnny Boots

    You have an option for just about everything when you build a mini, why not just leave the fin on the option list so we can leave the Hate at home…