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.
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.