Official: Neither Superleggera or MINI Minor Confirmed

Yesterday the typically reliable Car magazine indicated that MINI’s Superleggera Roadster concept had been approved for a 2018 production date. Today the typically reliable Automotive News says not so fast. According to the industry publication:

BMW has not approved a roadster based on the Superleggera concept for its Mini brand and has not decided whether to add a “mini Mini” that would be built with Toyota, Mini’s top executive, Peter Schwarzenbauer, said.

P90151081-MINI Superleggera Vision Roadster Concept

Schwarzenbauer, BMW’s board member in charge of Mini, said the Superleggera would be a “great addition to the Mini range” but added: “I cannot confirm that it has been approved yet.”

Reportedly Schwarzenbauer is “still pushing” to get the Superleggera into production. Avery good sign considering he is ultimately responsible for the brand.

P90150968-MINI Superleggera Vision Roadster Concept

Our take on this is simple. Given the language here we would expect that the Superleggera is currently undergoing final engineering and sales feasibility studies that should support the case for product. Expect to hear more shortly.

MINI E

The MINI Minor’s Future Uncertain While The Future of Electrification is Bright

According to the same article MINI has not decided whether to add a “mini Mini” that would be built with Toyota. However what is mentioned is the need for the brand to offer an electric vehicle.

Schwarzenbauer also said that Mini needs an electric variant because it is an urban brand and EVs are most suitable for cities. “Electrification of Mini is very important. We are working on that, but I cannot confirm when and what,” he said.

Mini needs to find a spot for an EV battery pack that is not in the trunk or in the engine bay. “Finding available space in a car as small as the Mini is not easy,” Schwarzenbauer said

Given the language here we can’t help but wonder if the MINI Minor might get shelved in favor of a larger fully electric version of an existing car such as the soon to be released Clubman. Of all MINIs it stands a chance of having the room for a battery pack while appealing to a wide number of consumers. We know that MINI has been working on a plugin hybrid version of the Clubman and potentially the Countryman for quite some time. A full electric version would seem like a natural next step.

  • Nick Dawson

    And it doesn’t stop there. According to Christopher Wehner, head of product management for small and mid-size vehicles, BMW is “Still in discussion whether the next generation 1-Series will be front or rear-wheel drive”. What is certain is that there will be variety of xDrive four-wheel-drive models because, “Four-wheel-drive is so important for Europe, US and China”.

  • The game tape suggests that the a two-seater Superleggera will be a very hard sell. MINI pretty much tried that with the Roadster (and by extension the Coupe), and the Convertible out-sold the Roadster nearly every reporting quarter.

    • Joe Yeti

      Too bad Mini has killed the GREAT Roadster!

    • anchoright

      I could see a Model C in my future. Maybe I’ll wait to see if the Mini Minor happens first before considering the switch.

      • ulrichd

        Same here. If the Model C will be as beautiful as the Tesla S and come in around $40K or less it will be my next car. I check in here every once in a while to hear about Rocketman/Minor news but it looks like the pulse is getting weaker. A Coupe version of the new Miata might get some consideration.

    • KH

      One reason the roadster and coupe sold so poorly, in my opinion, is that it was essentially the exact same car from the belt line down, except with even less room for no real reason. If people are going to go two seater, it should be for stunning good looks, and, I’m really hoping here — for rear wheel drive.

  • tobi

    . “Finding available space in a car as small as the Mini is not easy,”

    -sure. a car as small as the mini. -_-

    • “Mini needs to find a spot for an EV battery pack that is not in the trunk or in the engine bay. ‘Finding available space in a car as small as the Mini is not easy,’ Schwarzenbauer said.”

      That’s a puzzling remark given Tesla’s battery packaging solution. Assuming that particular design is now up for grabs*, the result would be consistent with MINI’s desired driving dynamic.