In November 2004 MINI announced a new OEM Bluetooth that worked with the official armrest and steering wheel controls. Yet for some reason the kit was never been offered in the US. So for the past year those little phone buttons on the multi-function steering wheel have done nothing more than tauntUS MINI owners with their potential.

However we’re proud to announce (after a year of waiting) MINI USA is finally offering the new OEM bluetooth kit integrated into the armrest in the US. This kit is meant to replace the old bluetooth kit (that worked via a small remote control attached to the downtube) and will be the first truly integrated OEM system.


While the new kit is quite an improvement, there are a couple of notable drawbacks. The biggest issue for most will be the lack of official phone options. MINI only lists the six different phones:

* Motorola E815: Verizon / US Cellular
* Motorola V710: Alltel / Qwest Wireless / U.S. Cellular
* Nokia 6230/6230i: Any GSM Provider (Cingular / Tmobile)
* Nokia 6310/6310i: this is way too old to even worry about
* Siemens S55/S65: Any GSM Provider (Cingular / Tmobile)
* Sony Ericsson T610/T616/T630/T637: Any GSM Provider (Cingular / Tmobile)

The main issue with most the phones is that they’re generally out of date at this point. The Nokia 6230/6230i is probably the best choice there (with the two year old SonyEricsson coming in a close second). Yet other, newer phones may still work with the system. The handsets listed are the only ones that MINI makes snap in docks for. But the only benefit with the dock is charging and connecting the phone to the external phone attenna. One would expect the phone to still work not snapped into the dock. We’ll hopefully have more info on this possibility down the road.

The other big issue some may have with the kit is the overall cost. The MSRP for the base bluetooth handsfree kit is $1250 (not including around $125 for the phone). That makes the current bluetooth kit look like a steal at $450.

You can read more (including install times) in the official product sheet below:

[ Official Armrest Bluetooth Kit ] Official MINI USA Release