The Mini Rocketman could be reborn as an EV

Superleggera concept might also have a future, but faces long odds.

Mini Rocketman Concept
Mini Rocketman Concept
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Ask Mini fans what their favorite concept has been over the past 15 years, and you're likely to get one of two answers – the tiny Rocketman hatch, or the Superleggera roadster. The two cars are perhaps the best representations of the Mini brand's values, offering a tiny, efficient package in one vehicle and a stylish performer in the other. And they might finally see production.

Okay, so that's an awfully big "might," and it's based on hints offered by Mini product boss Ralph Mahler to Autocar about expanding the company's range. The bad news? The Superleggera is facing long odds, Mahler said, because "roadster segment is small and demand is going down, with new markets opening up. The growth is not there, so it's always a challenge".

"It fits perfectly into the brand, but we're a small [sales volume] car brand and have to be focused and know what we want to have," Mahler said, keeping hopes alive. "The Superleggera is playing a role but no decisions."

Things are looking much rosier for the Rocketman, which could see a future as sort of a Mini-branded BMW i3. Originally introduced as a more elemental, affordable Mini, Mahler said it's "inspiring us as of today, especially as an EV in the future."

Using the lessons learned by its parent company with the i3, Mini could adopt that car's creative packaging to make a roomy three-door with a remarkably small footprint. But even with that knowledge, building a Rocketman EV could be a tall order.

"It was something that was ahead of its time but is still inspiring," Mahler told Autocar. "With a smaller car, it's a bigger challenge. With Rocketman, and talking EV in the future, as the EV engine gets more portable, it's give and take [for such a small EV].

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