The first thing you notice about the new Mini model is the Italian name. A precise marketing choice, or a stockpile, given that from a naming point of view the Mini range in its 16 years of new life by BMW has used practically all the existing declinations? Hard to say, but the choice of the Concorso d'Eleganza di Villa d'Este on Lake Como for its presentation suggests that the world of Italian luxury, the good life and design is considered the ideal cognitive framework for the new Anglo-German brand model.
The second thing you notice is that it is a beautiful objectthat just looking at it makes you want to drive it, on a winding road, with your hair in the wind and a blonde sitting next to you (or a dark-eyed brunette, for those with different sexual tastes from yours truly). High beltline, as is the custom now; large diameter rims, how car designers dream; a fin on the tail, like the iconic cars of the 1950s; strictly two-seater, as an exclusive adult toy should be.
Made by Milan-based coachbuilder Touringhandcrafted from aluminium sheet metal, the Mini Superleggera sets new quality standards in the small convertible sector. Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Design GroupHe called it 'an elegant car that interprets a British roadster under the influence of Italian style and craftsmanship'. Anders Warming, head of design for the Mini brandInstead, he speaks of 'a unique emotional beauty that combines the past and the future of the automotive industry, the tradition of coachbuilding with a modern design style'.
Aside from the fact that hearing BMW Germans talk about Italian-style cars makes one think of the typical Italian coffee shop sold by the Americans at Starbucks, it should be noted that this car seems almost a manifesto of pan-Europeanism, all that's missing is a bottle of French champagne in a cooler compartment and then we're there.
The Mini Superleggera is also named after its aluminium and carbon fibre chassis that keeps the weight under a tonne, with a low centre of gravity and great dynamism. It will be built on BMW's UKL modular platform on which the Bavarian brand already assembles the 1 Series, X1 and 2 Series Active Tourer. It will almost certainly opt for a hybrid powertrain, with a 1.5-litre endothermic unit at the front and an electric motor at the rear.
Markedly minimalist in style, the design of the cockpit is particularly elegant and striking. The eye inevitably falls on the main instrumentation, enclosed in a single touchscreen display in the centre of the dashboard. Several aluminium parts are left bare, as if to underline the quality of workmanship of Touring's craftsmen. Sand-coloured leather upholstery and chrome details effectively underline the aristocratic ambitions of the small convertible. Note some elements that recall the british union jackin the interior door panels and rear lights. Details that should communicate 'old england' and are instead a bit tacky, especially for the British.
The Mini Superleggera is expected to debut in 2019 with a list price that should not be far off the EUR 50,000 mark.