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RPM TV Website | July 8, 2020

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Mini Superleggera takes aim at Mazda MX-5

Mini Superleggera
Adam Schoeman

Mini will apparently tackle the Mazda MX-5 head-on with their exotic looking Superleggera, but only in 2019.

The Superleggera was first revealed in 2014 at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy, and showed off a radical new look for Mini, that had till then been locked so tightly into their style palette that this was a shock to the system.

That is where the radicalness ends though, because under the longer nose and short rear overhang is a UKL front-wheel drive platform which also powers the normal Minis and select BMWs. This gives Mini the option of using their entire range of three and four-cylinder engines in the Superleggera.

Expect the usual range of turbocharged petrol and diesel motors then, as well as the 170 kW John Cooper Works and a 161 kW hybrid.

The hybrid is probably the most exciting of the range, and has been hailed by some as a junior i8 because of its similar setup. It uses a three-cylinder 1,5-litre turbocharged engine mounted at the front and an electric motor connected to the rear wheels. This provides the hybrid with the potential of four-wheel drive motoring.

While it shares the basic premise with the BMW i8 it does not share the same level of output from its motors. The three-cylinder petrol motor will produce 100 kW and 220 Nm of torque which will be supplemented by a 65 kW and 165 Nm electric motor.

Expect blistering acceleration from the Superleggera Hybrid with four-wheel drive traction, a relatively light body and 385 Nm of torque.

The Superleggera will form part of Mini’s five-pillar approach, but they are quick to add that it will not be replacing their current convertible and roadster models. It is a new model with its own market and not a consolidation of other Minis.

As mentioned it is only on the release schedule for 2019, and as we all know a lot can change in four years so we’ll be keeping an eye on this.

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