MINI’s New Touchscreen Navigation is a Huge Upgrade

It’s good guys. It’s really good. That’s the reaction we had when we first played with the new touchscreen navigation last fall at the LA Autoshow. Now that we’ve had a bit more time to see it in action those feelings have been reinforced.

MINI's new touchscreen navigation

Where to See and Buy MINI’s New Touch-Screen Navigation

All JCW Clubman wish the optional wide-screen navigation will have the new system. Further we’ve seen several regular Cooper and Cooper S Clubman arrive at dealerships with the system as well. All Countryman with the optional wide-screen system will also have the touch-screen navigation system. Finally we should see this new touchscreen navigation migrate to the F56, F55 and F57 MINIs later this year with the 2018 refresh that should hit with July 2017 production.

The system melds the physical interface of the controller better than I expected to the new touch-screen interaction. And when I say touch-screen I really mean multi-touch since pinch and zoom is supported (albeit a little slowly). Then there’s the editing capability that you see below in the Instagram video. All told it’s a massive improvement and one that is well worth checking out.

Apple CarPlay & Android Auto

Yes it’s coming. CarPlay will be available from July 1st onward on all MINIs with this new touch-screen navigation. Android Auto capability is coming be isn’t expected until sometime in 2018.

Is it Backwards Compatible?

No. Nothing ever is in BMW and MINI world. The problem is that the hardware is so tied to the software in these cars that BMW not is set up to deliver the type testing and support needed to allow for upgrade like this. Will that change? BMW and MINI would have to move to a much more modular technical architecture that allowed for more flexibility in software. We’ve heard rumors that is happening but we won’t see that type of sea-change for a few more years.

  • Reuben Herries

    We had a Clubman Cooper S turn up with the new system. I was amazed by how nicely it felt and works. the pinch-zoom and slide to choose a Nav input is great. A huge step forward in the MINI tech world.

  • fishbert

    I’ve never been a big fan of touchscreen interfaces in a car because of all the movement while driving. Much prefer physical buttons/dials you can touch before before pressing/turning; fewer errors.

    • So does BMW. Therefore the physical knob can still control the entire system.

      • Tom

        Great news! I really like the newest BMW iDrive interface. It’s near perfect in my opinion.

  • R.O.

    From a German Auto review/reviewer of the new Countryman (It’s in English).

  • Kevin Bartlett

    Got some hands on time on a JCW Clubman with this updated system. It’s really great, and I barely used the touchscreen, we at least compared to the other parts of the system. I only spent about 30 minutes in the car, the drive is a separate issue. BUT the voice control is light years better than what’s in my 2014 3 Series. Turning on split screen, changing what the split screen shows, asking the Nav to do things were all so much better. I do want CarPlay, soooo I’m going to hold off on ordering the car as I want it until those features are confirmed. But I totally think this changes the car substantially and I like it.

  • Kurtster

    The big question is: How hard is it to do a transplant? If one could get their hands on a new screen and head unit I can’t imagine it would be too hard to swap out from a previous generation as long as the form factor is the same.

  • Richard Mays

    Sorry, just to clarify. If someone were to purchase a new f60 before the July 1st Apple AirPlay release, they would be able to update the software in their car in order to use it, correct?

    • Otium

      Just picked up our 2017 Clubman from sensor repair visit and advisor had just been through training for new Countryman. Reportedly, engineers conducting training said existing touch screens would be able to be updated for CarPlay.

  • The Mann

    well, this is something maybe distracting while driving. also the touch icons seem very small.. is that looking down fiddling with touch screen very safe.. maybe, But not in my mind.

    • That’s why MINI designed the system to be used with either touch or iDrive controller.

  • The Mann

    I wander WHY everybody have the 5000USD screen.. Why isn´t there anything about the middle model, the normal priced Visual Audio.. WHY is everything about the BIG extremely expensive 8.8inch. What is so different with the 6.5inch. what it is that can´t do as well as the flagship. Nearly NO video explain what the 6.5inch do not do, and the 8.8inch do. in Denmark the big screen model is about 5times more expensive, around 8000USD with Danish tax. I Just bought the Cooper F56 with the NORMAL 6.5inch screen and engine 1.5L manual. The engine from the BMW I8. The most awarded of the two engine in the mini series..

  • Rick

    Picked up our new 2017 Clubman S ALL4 a week ago. It has the new system. Touch screen is really nice. Extremely impressed with the execution speed of the voice commands, especially playing requested songs off the internal drive. We also use the controller more than the touch screen.

  • sam

    Voice command, wake me when that happens.

    MINI head unit functions are always a clumsy step or two behind cars at Hertz rentals.

    • They had if for a decade. The current gen suppprt Siri and is really good.