Mini is finally spicing things up, and we couldn’t be happier about it. The automaker is reportedly giving the green light to the Mini Superleggera Vision Concept from last summer’s Villa D’Este Concours d’Elegance. Yes, the cool sportster is headed for production and could hit showrooms by 2018, first in Europe, and then fingers crossed, here in the U.S.
The Mini Superleggera is an electric powered two-seater speedster, but don’t confuse it with the current Mini Roadster. It’s simply a Mini Cooper hardtop turned into a convertible. The Superleggera is a sports car right off the bat.
The sportster’s production version will reportedly keep most of its concept car feel. It will get a lower ride height than the roadster, for better handling. Plating on the grille gives it sporty character, while three-dimensional bonnet stripes emboss the hood, leading to polished aluminum accents. MINI shares the creative design process, a collaboration between MINI and Touring Superleggera, in the video below.
As far an engine goes, the Superleggera is likely to be powered by BMW’s current 1.5- and 2.0-liter three- and four-cylinder engines.
The new Mini two-seater will face some tough competition when it arrives in 2018. Mazda just started producing its new MX-5 Miata, the world’s top selling two-seater, due to arrive later this year. Mazda is also building a version for Fiat, both of which will be rear-wheel drive. BMW also just confirmed it’s planning its new Z4 by 2020, which will likely be a collaboration with Toyota. As if this weren’t enough, the entire two-seater sports car market is shrinking, as the market for compact SUVs and trucks heats up. So it will interesting to see what shapes up in the next few years, so stay tuned.
Meanwhile, Mini is downsizing its overall model range from eight to five vehicles. It plans to focus on five ‘super hero’ models that could include plug-in hybrid versions.