Time to put the rumors to rest.
Remember the Mini Superleggera and Rocketman concepts? We certainly do and we’ve been holding out hope that both will reach production. Won’t happen, according to a report from Top Gear. Mini has told the publication that it will be sticking with its existing four-car lineup, consisting of the standard coupe and convertible, hardtop four-door, Countryman and Clubman. John Cooper Works performance versions will also remain.
The Superleggera concept was a two-seat electric roadster that could’ve been a direct competitor to the Mazda MX-5 Miata, Fiat 124 Spider, and even the outgoing BMW Z4. The biggest difference, however, was Mini’s consideration of not just an EV setup, but also a plug-in hybrid version, thus making the roadster stand out from its competitors. The concept’s design wasn’t particularly radical, implying that it wouldn’t take much to get it production ready. Damn shame that won’t be happening. Ditto for the Rocketman, which debuted in concept form back in 2011. It appealed to those, such as ourselves, who felt Minis, in general, aren’t so mini anymore.
The Rocketman was a return to yesteryear size wise, but the problem was that Mini lacked a platform. Developing one for such a niche model didn’t make sense financially, and we heard Mini was seeking out a possible platform sharing agreement with another automaker. Apparently that effort has failed. Mini’s new agenda is to focus on plug-in and hybrid vehicles as well as a pure EV hatch, all of which will be based on the existing lineup. The Superleggera and Rocketman, even if they were EVs and/or plug-ins, were simply too expensive to develop.