TopGear.com23 May 2014

It’s the Mini Superleggera concept

This insane lightweight speedster is bound for the swanky Villa d’Este concourse

Press your red trousers, internet, because concourse season is upon us. Which spurred Mini to team up with legendary coachbuilders, Touring Superleggera, and create this one-off EV speedster... thing.

But unlike most concepts, which have loosely tangible purposes like previewing styling ideas, the Mini Superleggera Vision seems to have been built for absolutely no reason beyond some lawn ornamentation at Villa d'Este. A bit like those retrogasmic efforts from BMW we got excited about last month.

So, the facts. The Vision's been put together like a proper superleggera (translation: superlight). That means that there's an alloy spaceframe (lots of thin alloy tubes) chassis, which is covered in large hand-beaten alloy sheets - that explains why there aren't any panels gaps.

Louis de Fabribeckers, Head of design of Touring Superleggera, says: "In this car all unnecessary equipment or decoration is sacrificed, as performance is gained through lightness and efficiency of the bodywork and interior. The Italian touch is in the proportions and the typical waistline."

Though, you could argue that the rear lights are both decorative and unnecessary. BMW-owned Mini's keen to hammer home its Britishness, which is manifest in the Union Jack LED light clusters. And the Union Jack bracketry in the doors. Very subtle...

Much like its engine note. Which is entirely absent. And while Mini hasn't told us what it's packing under that long bonnet, we suspect it's spun off the Mini E setup, That means 0-60mph acceleration of eight seconds, top speed of 95mph, and 120-mile range on each charge.

Look closely, and you'll see some slightly more familiar Mini-ish sights. In the middle of the vast, naked aluminum dashboard - which is made out of a single sheet of metal - there's the new car's centre console. It's been extended to include a touch-sensitive control element and two circular instruments with metal surrounds on the right.

Look on the far right and, as well as a wantonly analogue clock, there's a little button that activates a camera set between the driver and front passenger seat, which, as BMW has it, "captures those particularly worthwhile moments on the road." Hmm.

OK, so it's extremely frivolous, and slightly cringey, but you would, wouldn't you?

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