It’s hard to believe that the Mini sub-brand has become so diverse in its offerings. Compared to when the British icon was first launched, the BMW-owned automaker now has a vast array of models to suit the needs of most people.
However, apart from the 3-door Cooper S, nothing in this diverse lineup has provided the formula for automotive intrigue…that was until the Superleggera Roadster Conceptdebut at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. Excited as I was, this roadster seemed like another flash-in-the-pan concept, only to become museum-piece material.
Fortunately, my first assumptions appeared off the mark, when production-spec patent images leaked online recently. Mini has yet to confirm actual production, but hopes are high of an MX5-fighter coming to fruition.
Looking at my rendered take on the patent image, you will see very few changes from concept to buy me now.
So what is different? Well firstly, one will notice the more upright windscreen, conventional mirrors, door handles and shut-lines. The grille insert is slightly toned-down with a horizontal bar and chrome-ringed frame.
Interestingly the rear still keeps the centrally-mounted trunk fin and ‘Union Jack’ taillights. Additions over the ‘styled by Touring’ concept are a lip spoiler and segmented trunk opening for the power folding canvas roof.
At Paris, the concept sported an electric powertrain; this would most likely be ditched in favor of a more traditional 2.0-liter, twin-scroll turbo and six-speed manual gearbox from the Mini Cooper S. What direction the wheels will be powered still lays in the land of the unknown – rear wheel drive would be ideal. However, despite the roadster’s proportions, one can foresee Mini sticking to its FWD fundamentals.
Most Minis are a hoot to drive when the road resembles an asphalt Anaconda; nimble handling responses with a stable footprint should provide the roadster with a fun factor dialed to max.
Biggest competition would likely come from Mazda’s iconic MX5.
Patent drawings are one thing, so we can only hope the production Superleggera comes off Mini production lines and into dealerships somewhere within the 2016 or 2017 automotive calendar.
However, should Mini even make the Superleggera Roadster or do they have far too many models as it is? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
By Josh Byrnes
Photo Renderings Copyright Carscoops.com / Josh Byrnes