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Official MINI Armrest Reviewed

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Update: The armrest in this review has since been withdrawn by MINI due to several concerns. They have now released a new armrest which will be available on all Us spec MINIs with the Convenience Package and as a standalone option. You can find information on the new armrest here.

MINI has never included an armrest, and many have argued against the need for one. That may be true during spirited driving, but for many of us much of our time driving is spent sitting in traffic or on long straight drives on the highway. During these times I have always found my right arm wanting an armrest. There is a wide selection of aftermarket armrests out there, but many are poorly designed and very expensive.

I was about to purchase the Outmotoring Arc Armrest, which has a great design and is not as expensive as the others. But when MotoringFile premiered the Official 2005 MINI armrest I knew it would be my choice: exact match to interior material, continued use of cupholder, and interior storage, all for still less than most aftermarket armrests.

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When the MINI armrest was featured in a group buy for MotoringFile readers at a discounted price, I immediately jumped on board. After a long wait with no news of anyone else in the first group receiving theirs, one day I returned home to find a big box from Germany on my doorstep. I was the first in the US to receive the armrest and I wasted no time and immediately installed it.

Installation is very simple. The armrest is one piece, with metal legs that extend down and slide under the seat rails on the floor. Simply loosen the front, and remove the rear seat bolts and install it. It took me only 15 minutes. Once installed, it is very secure. You can easily put your weight on it without bending anything unlike most of the other armrests out there.

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The build quality is excellent. The body is strong plastic, the same charcoal color as is used throughout the MINI. The top panther black leatherette is the same material used in the MINI seats. The padding may feel thin when pressed with a finger, but when your arm is resting you’ll find it feels as if is is much softer–exactly the right amount for comfort and support.

The large button on the front features the MINI logo, and when pressed the lid pops open. It includes an antislip webbed foam sheet that surprisingly works very well. During several hours of spirited driving with a 9v battery inside, I only heard it bounce around once (my tires did not exibit as good traction!). The storage is a perfect spot for cell phone, ipod, head unit face, etc. Unfortunately it is not large enough to hold CDs, but given the small space between seats in the MINI, that can’t be expected.

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The armrest is positioned at the perfect height for shifting, the arm is level and feels natural. It does not interfere with the rear cupholder, and there is still space to access the inside seat levers. This brings me to the armrest’s one downside: it gets in the way of the e-brake handle. I find I usually grab the e-brake from the very top now, and if you pull up all the way, the grip will hit the armrest. It may be possibly to tighten the e-brake cable to avoid this. But then again this can be defended by the surprise I found shortly after installation: the entire armrest is hinged and can be lifted up and out of the way! None of the initial reports had mentioned this, and is not a feature in most aftermarket rests.

Overall I am very happy with the MINI armrest. Its look and position are perfect, it is highly functional, and it enhances your motoring experience instead of getting in the way. In my opinion it beats all the aftermarket armrests in all these categories and most importantly in value. The MINI armrest can be ordered from your dealer’s parts department, part number 52 12 0 154 307, $195.00 USD retail. The part should be available very soon, and starting January 2005 as a factory option or available as part of the Premium package on both convertible models. Feel free to add comments if you have any additional questions and I will try to answer them.

Rating: 4.5/5

Josh Wardell
www.jwardell.com/mini

Written By: MF Reader

  • mark

    Please put me in as well Alex.Do you know how long it will take to recieve the armrest? Please e-mail me asap.thanks,mark.

  • mark

    To all,” There hear” Just to day I took my 05 cooper s to the dealership to have the new 05 JOHN COOPER WORKS installed and was told that more are on the way. mark.

  • mark

    To all, any one willing to sale there armrest for 200.00 plus shipping costs. please call me at 714- 444 2014.thanks, I need one asap.it needs to be in new condition.alex,if i can buy one for a little more money so i can recieve it sooner, that would be great. thanks again, markus.

  • GW

    I received and installed mine yesterday. A bit more difficult to install than I thought, but I have a bad back and didn't have a good light source to help me out. I installed it in about 20 minutes. It looks great and is very functional. I have an 05 MCS and it doesn't interfere with the handbrake, although it is a bit easier to pull up when the armrest is in the up position. Thanks for the deal, Alex!

  • David Morello

    Just contacted my dealer, Mini of Sterling VA, and they are not selling the armrest because it is not “approved in the U.S.”. Does anybody know how to get one at this point? How about the group buy…did I miss that boat?

    Thanks,

    Dave

  • Joshua Kane

    Alex,

    Add me to the group buy.
    

  • David Morello

    Alex,

    Could you add me to the group buy also?

    Thanks,

    Dave

    davemorello@yahoo.com

  • Joe K.

    Still wondering what the issue is about not being approved for US. Just curious why MINIUSA isn't forthcoming about these kind of things. They certainly must know why it's not approved.

  • GW

    Well, if it's not approved, I hope the mini-cops don't catch me!

  • http://www.newmini-technik.de Alex

    Yahoo :) !

    Ok – I will try and order another 100 armrests for you guys ;). I'll keep u posted with further details shortly!

    Alex

  • Kristin

    Alex – please put my name into the pot for the group buy!!! I'd love to get my hands on one. Just email me the details please, thanks!!

  • Randall

    I would like to get in on the next group buy. Thanks.

  • Indiren

    Alex: I would like to get in on the group buy for the armrest as well, if possible. Please email me details of how to make payment, etc.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    The armrest has been delayed by MINI until 2/05. No reason has been given but I'll keep digging.

  • Bob

    Alex,

    I would also like to participate in the group buy on the armrest. I sent you a PM via MINI2.

    Bob

  • phaedrus

    Alex!

    If possible, please add me too! (Are you recording our info from this page of do we have to sign up on that German forum in order to be added to the list?)

  • mark

    I just seen on ebay that a guy is selling an factory arm rest for the new mini cooper and the color looks gray with a black mini logo stamped on the front. Alex, Is the ones that you've been able to getting colored different. is the one your getting, black?

  • Phil Williams

    Count me in for the group buy, just send me the details.

  • Martin Hartford

    Alex,

    I would also like to participate in the group buy on the armrest.

    Could you confirm? I'll try and send you an email by MINI2

    Thanks

    Martin

  • http://www.newmini-technik.de Alex

    Yahooo again!

    I should recieve price-information today or on monday cause its currently slightly difficult for bmw to “hand out” another 100 rests but i do my best to serve all of you!

    Best wishes!

    Alex

  • Herby

    Does the armrest permit an unhindered shifting motion?

  • http://www.newmini-technik.de Alex

    Hi folks!

    The second group buy for the armrest is on its way!.

    The price for one rest including postage and packing is now 130€ which is something around 168$.

    The armrest has got 7$ more expensive since my last order but you guys still save more than 30$ and keep in mind:

    This item is NOT available in the US and wont be for the next couple of months!

    To order please do the following:

    1) register on the newmini-technic forum via this link:

    http://www.newmini-technik.de/profile.php?mode=register&sid=1e3299fb4b4b5933536f59ff81aa1c02

    2) visit this link:

    http://www.newmini-technik.de/viewtopic.php?p=10136#10136

    and follow instructions

    Postage will take round about 2-3 weeks!

    All creditcards except AMEX is accepted!

    Take care!

    Alex

  • Jeff Blumenthal

    I enjoyed the discussion, I went to the link. Am I missing something, or is it all German? I forgot most of my high school german, and although I could figure out enough to register, I can't figure out more. can you contact me and tell me what we need to do (in English or Hebrew which are my two fluencies) so I can order one. Do I understand that if we order now, we should have in two to three weeks? Thank you. Jeff

  • Jeff Blumenthal

    I got to the link and tried to follow the instructions, but couldn't figure out how to send it to you. Please advise.

  • Jeff Blumenthal

    by the way, my e-mail is schmuelkof@hotmail.com for the info I requested. Please let me know.

  • Jim

    I, too would like to order the armrest, but I am not fluent in German. Please PM me as well with assistance. Thanks.

  • Jim

    Man, the silence is deafening.:^( From, my PMs to various of you, it seems that the latest group buy may be a myth. If anyone who has lately obtained one of these armrests is lurking, can you please provide some help to those of us have tried to place an order, but can't seem to make contact with Alex or whomover (at least in some way understandable)?

  • Norms

    I got mine from Alex and I didn't order a second one. It is brand new never installed.

    I do not want to hassle him with a return since I am sure a NY, NJ, PA or CT person would love to have it.

    Mine is available for $175 here only (firm) and it is only for NJ pickup – cash only since I already had to pay my visa bill on it.

    email me at njnorm@earthlink.net if you want one right away.

  • TheAsp

    I have heard that the reason for the US delay is that the US DOT disapproved the “Old” Design as being too long, I.E.; it hits the eBrake. So it is being shortened by an inch or two before offical release. Personally, They could just move it back, I only use the rear drink holder to hold an air freshener.

  • frank ralph

    Alex, Are there any arm rests available? If not will there be another order? Put me on the list if so. Thanks

  • http://www.qualityautointeriors.com Aaron Sahlstrom

    There is another great armrest on the market for the MINI Cooper. The matching leather pad adjusts forward and back, it also has a storage compartment and internal cup holder. It is in stock and available from http://www.qualityautointeriors.com

  • Ken BMW

    Since the Dealers still don't know anything about the armrests as of 01/15/05, can they still be ordered through the group buy?

  • Chuck(minicar3)

    Hi, I have seen these on ebay for about $195., 2 weeks ago.

  • muggsy

    Hello,

    I’m not a MINI owner, so don’t throw anything at me for asking this question, but do you think one of these would fit in a toyota Echo? I looked at the interior of the MINI and they seem similar

    If not do you have any idea where I could get some information about an armrest that would fit in an Echo.

    Thanks!

  • Ken

    Is there a way to get a pre ’05 factory armrest that has the storage compartment

  • John Lefcourte

    If there is a group buy or someone who can translate German I’d like to get one of the one’s originally reviewed. The ’05s don’t seem to have the storage compartment.

  • http://motoringfile.com Gabe

    The 05’s do indeed have a storage compartment: http://www.motoringfile.com/2005/02/09/theofficialminiarmrestrevealed

  • Deb

    I just tried to order the armrest from my dealer in Indianapolis and he told me they would never be available in the U.S. Where can I order the armrest? I want the new model with the storage compartment(part number 52 12 0 154 307).

    Also, does anyone know where you can get rear mudflaps for the 2005 Cabrio?

  • http://motoringfile.com Gabe

    The armrest reviewed in this article wasn’t approved for sale in the US. The armrest that will be available can be found here: motoringfile.com/2005/02/09/theofficialminiarmrestrevealed

  • EJ

    I just bought the armrest while I was in Italy. Perhaps the one I purchased has already been redesigned, shortened, because mine does not at all touch the handbrake and doesn’t interfere with the safety buckles. It fits the interior of my cars design. It does fold up and stay up, it doesn’t go straight up, but almost. Point being it doesn’t interfere with my driving if it is stowed up. It is in the way of the seat back adjustment but my seats are already set for my driving comfort, so no big deal. And it is out of the way of my rear cupholder. I just love it.

  • Aquasar

    EJ Is there any way to get the part number of that armrest you have?

  • Jeff

    Is this unit still available?

    If so, what can I expect to pay for it?

  • Pingback: Centre armrest - MINI2 - MINI Forum()


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