Magna Steyr Mila Plus: The Plug-In Sports Coupe Someone Must Build (GENEVA)


At the Geneva Auto Show this week, Magna Steyr showed the world the Mila Plus. This two seat plug-in hybrid is a lightweight coupe capable of a 4.9 second zero-to-sixty with a 47 mile electric range. It gets its power from a small three cylinder gas engine and a pair of electric motors. The first assists the rear axle and is located between the engine and the transmission. The second spins the front wheels. Power output is 272 horsepower and 427 pound-feet of torque.

The aerodynamic wedge shape is reminiscent of a slightly more angular Lamborghini Asterion. The all-glass roof tapers back into tall pillars, narrowing rear visibility. But in modern concept style, the Mila's rear mirrors are actually wide-angle cameras, promising to erase blind spots.

Magna Who?

You may not have heard of Magna Steyr, but you've likely seen their work. The Austrian engineering company partners with numerous automotive companies yet never builds production cars with its own badge. It developed the 4Matic system for Mercedes-Benz. It manufactures vehicles such as the Mini Countryman and Peugeot RCZ. It contributes its construction and bonding techniques to the Mercedes SLS AMG and the Aston Martin Rapide.

Magna Steyr AG was founded in its current form in 2001, but it traces its roots all the way back to 1864, when Josef and Franz Werndl & Company formed an arms factory and sawmill. In 1899, Johann Puch started a bicycle factory and Eduard Bierenz formed a motor company. Those two companies merged in 1928 and then joined Josef and Franz Werndl in 1934. The company has been contributing to the automobile industry in one way or another ever since.

Photo Credit: AutoBlog

Mila Number Eight

Magna Steyr has been bringing Magna Innovation Lightweight Auto (MILA) concepts to auto shows since 2005. The first, presented at the Frankfurt Auto Show, was a compressed natural gas single seat sports car.

The Alpin was displayed at Geneva in 2008. It was a small off-road vehicle with a mid-engine layout and a 3+1 seating arrangement. It came in CNG and gas versions.

Then next year Magna Steyr brought its first PHEV, the Mila EV, to Geneva. Lightweight construction and alternative fuels have been a constant theme.

Perhaps the strangest Mila was the Coupic, which was a coupe that could transform into a pick-up or a convertible.

Coupic Concept by Magna Steyr

How Can We Get One?

The Mila Plus will never be sold with a Magna Steyr badge. So the question is: which auto maker wants it? The company works with everyone from Ford to Suzuki. The extruded aluminum space frame and modular construction were designed to be easy to build and modify. For a company to have its name placed on this vehicle, it would only have to call and work out the contract details.

This zippy little bee could easily compete with the BMW i8 or the Tesla Roadster. Nearly fifty miles of electric range puts it near Chevy Volt territory, yet light-years more cool and fun. This could be an everyday commuter with the potential for awesome weekend road trips.

Should Toyota go for it?. The world's largest auto maker could affordably add its own interior and infotainment. It could craft its own body to place over Magna Steyr's frame and power-train. This could be like a plug-in Supra or MR2.

A price tag starting around $40,000 is certainly possible for a frugal version. It would make an exciting step up from the multitude of EVs and hybrids in the $30k range.

Somebody make it happen. Or build us a Coupic so we can drive topless after delivering firewood.