As we reported 18 months back, MINI’s new navigation system will indeed feature a simplified iDrive-like controller behind the shifter. The controller will mange an interface that is similar to the BMW iDrive system but redesigned to look a bit more MINI like. The main screen (as seen in the image above) will feature “entertainment”, “communication”, “navigation”, and a link for set-up. This is very different than the version found in the latest 3 series which also includes a link for controlling the climate control. It’s assumed that BMW decided to keep the climate system in the new MINI controlled exclusively via the standard interface found on the center stack.

However the iDrive-like joystick won’t be the only interface with the new system. Like some BMWs, MINI’s new navigation will offer voice command via the push of a button the steering wheel. The idea is that this will make controlling of the radio, bluetooth system and navigation system a simple process that doesn’t divert the driver’s eyes from the road.

We’ll have more on the R56 nagivation system (including one particularly interesting new feature) in the months ahead and MotoringFile.

Note: the 2007 MINI Convertible’s navigation will remain unchanged through the end of it’s life-cycle.