Report: MINI Superleggera Approved for Production

Car Magazine is reporting that the MINI Superleggera concept car has been approved for production. If the news is true, that gorgeous concept car that has been making the rounds at auto shows over the past year will hit dealers around 2018. However with some key changes.

While the concept was a 100% electric rear wheel drive roadster, the production version will be built on the UKL platform that underpins all new MINIs. That means expect a front wheel drive drop-top in Cooper and Cooper S trim to start with JCW potentially joining the range later.

The recent leak of patent renderings gave us a clue that MINI was preparing for a production version. Luckily if those are anything to go by, it would seem that the MINI design team have retained the classic proportions and good looks that the Superleggera wowed us with.

  • kellywp

    Happy day!

  • FWD on a roadster = Fail Wheel Drive?

    So much for wanting one…

    • ulrichd

      I agree. FWD? What’s next, no manual?

      • Sub_R

        Did you guys really think BMW would make a different platform to base the Superleggera off of to make it RWD? And why wasn’t it a big deal with the current Roadster?

        • ulrichd

          There was an early rumor that it would be RWD and if you look at the sales of the roadster, vs the Miata, I would say it might have had an impact for the enthusiast buyer.

        • Maybe it would have an impact for enthusiasts who don’t live where it snows five months out of the year. FWD is a must for me, especially after a winter with nine feet of snow.

  • This will be interesting. I don’t see how they can put the current motors in there and keep the hood low. I’m going to enjoy watching this one unfold.

    • The JCW Roadster we had for a year was FWD (as it all performance MINIs). It was an incredible drive day after day and proved to be totally satisfying as a performance car.

  • chris94602

    if the silouette stays close to the prototype and they keep the interior uncluttered, I think it has a strong chance to become a collector’s item.

  • Nick Dawson

    So, as suspected, and assuming the report is accurate, the Superleggera concept is not going into production after all. Instead, BMW has approved a new conventional Roadster based on a modified version of the F57 Convertible UKL platform, using some styling elements from the Superleggera concept. No surprises there then.

    The five Superhero models will, therefore, be as follows:-

    1. F54 Clubman
    2. F55/F56 Hardtop
    3. F57/F58 Convertible/Roadster
    4. F60 Countryman
    5. F?? MINI Minor

    Sources within BMW have revealed that should the MINI Minor fail to make a business case for itself, the MINI Traveller, which has already undergone considerable development, will take its place.

    • Just a casual examination shows the hood of the Supperleggera to be about 4″ lower than that on the Cooper and S hardtops. I wonder how much of the concept can make it to production if it’s based on the convertible.

    • Martin

      Except that the MINOR has been cancelled a few days ago… (no reports yet on motoringfile.com)

      • Nick Dawson

        Thanks Martin. If that’s the case, I shall be very happy. I’ve never been enthusiastic about a MINI City Car – European roads are flooded with some very cleverly designed cheap and cheerful city cars, and I was always doubtful that MINI could make a viable business case for a premium City Car. I am, however, very enthusiastic about the Traveller which, if insider sources are correct, will now get the green light. By all accounts, the Traveller is, “A good looking thing”.

    • Jason

      That would be a strange decision, making a new roadster based off the F56 would be virtually the same as the last failed roadster attempt. The big draw for me for the Superleggera was that it looked like a real roadster.

      • Nick Dawson

        Jason – BMW has invested billions in developing the UKL1 scalable platform. It is inconceivable that they would approve a unique platform for a stand alone Roadster. The Superleggera concept was hand built using the patented, and very expensive, Superleggera construction method. If the article is accurate, it states that “the production version would have to be built on the UKL1 platform”. The F57 Convertible platform has already been re-engineered to reinstate the torsional rigidity lost by cutting the roof off the F56.

        Imagine opening both doors on a Convertible or Roadster, and you are presented with a big lump of metal at one end and a big lump of metal at the other, seemingly held together by a slender looking floor. The twisting that takes place is enormous, and so the sills and bulkheads have to be considerably beefed up. All the hard work has, therefore, already been done on the Convertible. The difference this time, is that BMW would like to give the Roadster uniquely styled external bodywork, to completely differentiate it from the Convertible. Personally, I don’t believe a Roadster is ever going to happen.

  • brian

    I’ve been a member of MotoringFile for years, so I hope to not get flamed for my opinion…

    This doesn’t seem like what the Superleggera was about. FWD? Same engines? I mean maybe if they built only 1 version as a halo car. But based on the renderings its gonna have the same mirrors as the other cars and a modified body in order to to look sort of like the Superlegerra. That’s not a halo car.

    I still own my original 2003 MCS (with HR sport suspension) which is just as good a driving experience as my 2014 Boxster (manual). I had a 2012 MCS for a while and a 2012 Z4 35i too (both manual transmission) ; all I can say is that the cars that BMW has had to do with are nowhere near as good as the original 2003 MINI or the Boxster in terms of driving satisfaction. Consider that the Z4 and Boxster cost the same, which makes absolutely no sense after you drive them. Sadly I don’t consider BMW a manufacturer of “Drivers” cars anymore and I think a lot of people feel the same now.

    • We welcome readers with different opinions. It makes for a lively and stimulating debate.

    • John McLauchlan

      While this is all wild speculation, I have to agree. Simply making a Roadster version of the F56 is a waste of time.

      I hope MINI understands that the appeal of the Superleggera is that it represents a departure from the current F56 “look”. Far more simplistic, clean, and classic inside and out. If they can deliver this on the UKL platform, then it has huge potential.

    • Martin

      Brian, yare almost totally right, i own/owned all of these cars too 😉 Except that the F56 could provide even more pleasure than your R53 and especially fitted with coilovers

    • Kev50027

      The newer Z4s really are not as much fun as the previous generation. I had a 2005 Z4 3.0 and loved it. Newer BMWs lack steering feel and road feel.

      • Martin

        Even the previous Z4 generation feels like you’re driving a boat …compared to the Boxster (all 3 generations) — IMHO

        • Kev50027

          I must disagree. Or at least, that was the roughest boat I’ve ever driven. Mine had the sport suspension and the larger wheels, and my rear end would literally leave the seat cushion on the highway when I hit a bump. It was anything but floaty. My 2011 MCS is quite a bit softer, despite having the sport package with larger wheels.

  • Chris Harte

    Such a good design. I do like most of all, how the rear comes together, and the stray from the front clam shell style bonnet. Would not mind that style bonnet on the newer cars either. Mainly to eliminate the seam between the front wings where they currently meet with the bonnet (saying hood would cause mass confusion because ragtop)

    Also I think this car as a 2 door sedan would be really awesome, something like the MINI interpretation of the elf/hornet, but with more 1602/2002 proportions – if you can picture it.