Mini offers best of British... and Italy
The Superleggera Vision could be a precursor to a lightweight roadster in the vein of the Mazda MX-5.

Mini has unveiled a stylish new roadster concept which has tongues wagging that the BMW-owned marque may soon offer a nippy, lightweight drop-top in the vein of the popular Mazda MX-5.

Dubbed the Mini Superleggera Vision and created in partnership with prestige Italian coach and design firm Touring Superleggera, the concept made its debut at the annual Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este classic car event on the shores of Lake Como, Italy.

Though Minis may not be quite as British as they once were, maximum effort has been put in to give the Superleggera Vision a hefty dose of Pommy personality to go with its Euro style.

Or, as the company puts it, "modern Britishness meets Italian flair".

Designers have aimed to make the car's performance capabilities abundantly clear from first glance, with the use of a stretched bonnet, long wheelbase, short overhangs and wheels set wide on the body for agility.

It maintains Mini hallmarks such as circular headlights and hexagonal grille and bonnet stripes, while other aspects such as the inlaid bonnet and curved wheel arches recall classic British sports cars from times past.

But the most striking nod to Blighty - and, arguably the coolest - are the taillights, each made to look like a Union Jack cut in half.

The interior is decidedly more Italian, with virtually untreated- looking leather combining with an aluminium dashboard and tube shapes meant to reflect "how the automobile was created".

Considering the company's performance claims with the car, the concept has a twist under the bonnet. Although exact details are yet to be revealed, it's been confirmed the Superleggera Vision has an electrical power train.

Should something similar to the concept go into production it would mark a significant expansion of the Mini brand, which has already introduced various convertible, coupe and roadster variants to the standard Mini, plus the SUV-like Countryman.

And considering BMW's reputation for producing Minis with outrageously fun handling, it's hard not to cross our fingers and hope this isn't just a one-off idea.

The West Australian

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