MINI Making the Case for Superleggera Production

This week, Autocar decided  there’s still hope that the Superleggera will enter production. While enthusiasts probably begin to grow frustrated by these rumors, Autocar’s take is based on an actual conversation with BMW Board member, Peter Schwarzenbauer. But reading the article, the more interesting tidbits do not concern the concept we all love, but rather the rest of the MINI lineup.

What Business Case for the Superleggera?

The best way to explain the subsequent turns of event regarding a hypothetical production approval for the Superleggera is the difficulty in building a business case. Many of you know that MINI’s margins are rather thin, and given their renewed focus with the FXX lineup, the addition of any new model will be carefully considered.

While very little is known of the business case for the Superleggera, from Schwarzenbauer’s point of view it is very clear that this concept will not be a replacement for the beloved Twins. For him, the Superleggera is to be a serious high-performance vehicle. Reading the comments of our readers and talking with the MINI Community, this vision appears to be in line with the expectations of MINI enthusiasts.

At this point, the BMW Group knows what the Superleggera is meant to be. The unanswered questions to solve the business case surround pricing, value proposition, target market, and economies of scale. At a high level, if MINI can find positive answers to “What is the product?,” “How do we build it?,” and “How do we sell it?,” the likeliness of the Superleggera hitting showrooms will be high.

On the plus side, even if this concept never enters production, we will obviously see some of its design cues land in future MINIs (i.e. LCI and yet to unveiled FXX cars). Schwarzenbauer says it best: “There are several design topics you’ll see in the future from the Superleggera. The interior is really reduced to the max and this is something that fits in well at MINI. Look at the dash on a 1959 car; there’s nothing on it.”

The Five Superhero MINIs Identified

For those of you new to this topic, this has nothing to do with the upcoming Adam Sandler flop, Pixels. As mentioned many times in the past, MINI’s strategy is to have a very focused lineup with the FXX generation. During his talk with Autocar, Schwarzenbauer reiterated this vision and shed some light on these superheros.

The upcoming Clubman and Countryman make two of them. The Hardtop two-door and four-door make another one. Despite what Schwarzenbauer indicated, our assumption is that the Convertible will be another declination of the Hardtop as opposed to being a standalone superhero. Hopefully the Paceman will be gone for good, and that leaves two spots. Superlegerra? Rocketman? No one knows, but we sure would like to see both models join the lineup.

P90144326_clubman

On the Clubman and Countryman

Schwarzenbauer also shared interesting insights about the upcoming F54 and F60. The F54 will be unveiled in Berlin later in June (only two weeks to go!!) and according to the Board Member, it will be a significant departure from the R54: “The Clubman is the next big step in Mini’s history. I think it’s by far the best-looking Mini ever made, and it’s also very practical. It will be the coolest kid on the block. The only thing it has in common with the current car is the split rear doors.”

He also confirmed what MotoringFile has been reporting for a couple of years; the new Countryman will be an “authentic SUV.”

This is great information from someone high-up within the BMW Group. As we said many times before, this new generation of MINIs is more interesting than ever.

  • oldsbear

    Regarding the Clubman — silver(?)/dark red — photo: that’s a very pretty profile, but is there an actual tire between wheel and ground? Maybe this model drives on alloy….

    • lavardera

      flat tires is the new black

  • Nick Dawson

    A high ranking insider recently revealed that should Rocketman – aka MINI Minor – fail to make a business case for itself, the F58 MINI Traveller MPV is waiting in the wings to take its place as the fifth superhero model. The same source described F58 as being, ” a good looking thing”.

    • Sub_R

      What a surprise, more interest in larger vehicles.

    • While I have no info on the Traveller, I’m not convinced that it would be the next choice. Given that the US is MINI’s largest market (for now) and that BMW USA didn’t move forward on the 2 series GT, that doesn’t bode well for the Traveller. And while the rumor mill has been very quiet on this potential model, what about a MINI Sedan a la BMW Gran Coupe?

      • Nick Dawson

        The MINI Sedan was the first F-series MINI variant not to escape the cuts imposed by the board. With the MINI retro style, there is a limit to how far one can push the outside of the envelope!

      • They didn’t take the 2GT because of the potential to erode brand value. It also falls well outside of the market BMW serves in the US.

      • Forgot my point… I believe that a larger MPV MINI doesn’t do either of those things and could be sold in the US.

      • Nick Dawson

        To avoid any misunderstanding, I should clarify that the proposed MINI Traveller MPV is based on the 2-series Active Tourer, not the 7-seat Gran Tourer, but will be smaller than the AT owing to the MINI’s shrink-wrapped bodywork. Peter Schwarzenbauer has publicly declared that no future MINI will be larger than the forthcoming F60 Countryman.

  • Jeff H

    When are the 8/9 speed transmissions coming?

  • Lee

    Still not sure why they don’t just make this a Triumph since they own that brand also. Then they can concentrate on making more huge MINI vehicles and not let the smallness of the Superlegera get in the way.