MINI USA is making changes for 2017 in an effort to keep prices low while increasing standard levels of technology ahead of the 2018 refresh. The effect of this is that MINI is increases pricing only slightly:
F56 Two Door Hardtop
– Cooper – $20,950 (+250)
– Cooper S – $24,400 (+300)
– JCW – $30,900 (+300)
F55 Four Door Hardtop
– Cooper – $21,700 (+250)
– Cooper S – $25,400 (+300)
Is it the right mix of features for the right price? Read on and sound off in the comments.
Additions to Standard Features
The most notable addition to the standard feature set is the 6.5″ Visual Boost Screen. Already standard on the new Clubman and Convertible, the F55 and F56 will join the newest MINIs in offering the 6.5″ high resolution screen and MINI Connected free.
Enhanced Bluetooth and Audio Streaming are also on tap as standard features across the range. This previously optional equipment allows for streaming, cover art display and full interactivity with music apps. It also includes an integration of full functionality with your device of choice. Based on our experiences with it, this is a hugely welcome addition as a standard feature. It allows you full control of your playlists and cover art. It’s just a shame that MINI couldn’t have made it free earlier.
The other big addition is the center armrest which, now also standard across the MINI range. The arm rest comes with two storage compartments and is full adjustable. While we at MF have railed MINI’s previous attempts at armrests (and the idea of them in general), we have to begrudgingly give our support for this one. It’s well designed with plenty of storage (and importantly) gets out your way when needed.
Subtractions to the Standard Features
So MINI has added some very popular options as standard features. But as part of an effort to keep the MSRP unchanged they’ve taken away a few things that used to be free.
For the Cooper model this starts with the driving modes which is now part of the sport package. This means that you’ll need to opt for the Sport package in order to select Sport, Normal and Green modes.
Across all models MINI has moved the “MINI Excitement Lighting” (that name…) to the premium package. This includes headlight and door handle welcome lightning as well as the multicolor lightning for the center console and footwells.
MINI is introducing two new wheels to the line-up for 2017 in addition to these changes. The MINI Yours “Masterpiece” 18″ wheels come finished with a burnished finish similar to the Vanity Spoke wheels currently offered (but in a slightly darker color). With the MINI Seven Edition there’s also a new 17″ wheel that is called (you guessed it) the MINI Seven two-tone wheel.
What all this Means
It means that MINI USA product managers are working hard to keep prices low. In our conversations with MINI USA around this topic previously, there’s enormous pressure on keeping the base MSRP as low as possible to get people into the brand. To the point that (given all the BMW technology on the cars) you have to wonder what the profit margin is on a option-less Cooper.
This is especially true in years where MINI isn’t offering a substantial refresh to its existing range. In many ways this holding the line on pricing is setting the stage for the 2018 model year refresh which will include an optional dual clutch transmission, a full facelift and multiple technology upgrades. We’ll have more on that soon.