Words & photos - Daniel Bevis
The constant expansion of the MINI brand is something that pleases some as much as it irks others. In addition to the standard three-door hatch, there's a new five-door, a Coupé, Clubman, Roadster, Convertible, Countryman, Paceman, Clubvan... covering pretty much every base of the modern motoring sphere. (Do spheres have bases?) The hackneyed cries of the detractors are sounding increasingly outmoded - 'it's not that mini any more, is it?' they proudly bellow, believing themselves to be possessed of Wildean wit. Truth is, the three-door still is kinda mini in a modern context. Have you ever tried to get anything larger than a bag of Doritos in the boot...?
Anyway, what we're looking at here is arguably the most impressive of the recent offerings - the Superleggera concept. Car nerds will recognise the trademarked Superleggera motif as that of the coachbuilders Touring, as glued to the bonnets of 1960s Aston Martins among much else. This MINI concept is based on a lightweight aluminium spaceframe, overlaid with hand-beaten, bespoke aluminium bodywork. It's pared back and simple, but dripping in gorgeous detail - the Union Flag tail-lights, for example, and the MINI Touring badging. It also supposedly represents how an all-electric MINI would be packaged, so it's not just a concours season bauble. Let's just hope they build something like this, eh?
Spotted at Salon Privé 2014 - click here for more photos.