MINI Goes Back to the Future with an Old Turn Signal

When MINI introduced the R56 in 2007 one of the most debated changes was to the turn signal stalk. Sourced from the BMW parts bin, the stalk wouldn’t stay in the up or down positioned when pressed. Instead, when pressed the stalk would return back to the center position. For many owners it was an odd change that seemed to offer no benefit. Ten years later MINI seems to agree.


Starting with the 2017 MINI Countryman, MINI is returning to the old stalk design that stays up or down when pressed. Yup that’s it. Hardly revolutionary but then again simple pleasures are the best. And from our brief time flipped it up and down in the new Countryman it’ll satisfy all those that have longed for the definitive action of the old style stalk. It also feels like it’s built from a solid block of plastic. In other words it’s built like a tank.

We’ll have plenty more to tell you about the new Countryman (beyond the turn signal) when we drive it early next month.

  • fishbert

    I, for one, really like the existing stalk. I’ll be sad to see it go.

    I wonder how many of the folks who complained about putting window switches on the doors like most other cars out there, will applaud going back to a basic turn signal stalk like most other cars out there.

    • Kurtomouss

      Count me as another one sad to see it go. The newest Mini’s will be a touch more conventional.

      The “bump” press allows for a single action lane change indication and I like it. The old style movement needs one press to start and another to cancel unless making a complete turn. Perhaps the requirement of two movements is a reason some drivers choose not to signal a lane change? I’m certain it’s the reason forgetful drivers are seen in perpetual turn mode forever going around the world on left or right.

      For this function I don’t think they should have quit on NOR/MAL.

      • r_k_w

        I’m going to guess that if you tap the lever but not to the detent point, it will still work the same way. The Owners Manual would be the place to check but it isn’t on the MINIUSA website yet.

        Gabe, it seems strange if they do this only for MINI. Is it not going across BMW as well?

        • Agreed. I’m thinking we might see this change across the board eventually.

  • Kurt

    I drive a 2004 MCS and my wife has a 2015 Countryman, and I can’t tell you how much I hate the “newer” style signal… So coming up on thinking about the Countryman Plugin Electric as a new car for me I am HAPPY to hear this news that the model I’m thinking about won’t have this feature that either you either LOVE (and I tell my wife she just must be crazy) or HATE (and I tell my wife every time I drive her car).

  • Kevin Bartlett

    I actually have just finally gotten used to the non-detent wiper systems. I honestly think its much more about what you get used to. But i will probably get used to whichever change they make. To be honest I never understood why they changed them in the first place.

  • Alistair Coffin

    I’m pretty sure the new Countryman I was in yesterday had exactly the same indicator operation as all the previous Minis I’ve driven.

    Are you sure about your info?

    • Yup!

      • Alistair Coffin

        I checked in one here in the U.K. this afternoon and it was not like in your video.

  • LeakyTurnip

    Really?! I was out in a new 2017 Countryman this morning (in the UK) and the indicators were no different from the rest of the current MINI range and the same as they have been since 2007. Perhaps this is a USA only change?

    • Perhaps it is US only. That said it would be somewhat odd for BMW to make a change like this for only one market.

  • Brian Dallas

    On the other side of the steering column is some other yummy goodness. The auto wiper feature can be placed in the “always on” position now. For those that live in a constantly wet environment (PNW), you can now flip the right stock up and it will stay in the AUTO position all the time. Before you had to engage the button on the end of the stock every time you started the car or wanted the system to use the rain sensor.

  • R.O.

    I’m also not a fan of the return to center turn signal stalk. The 1 or 3 second signal feature is nice but more than once I’ve clicked to stop turn signal and ended up signaling the other direction. I’m sure drivers behind me thought I couldn’t make up my mind which way I was going – right or left.

    The wiper also takes some getting use to. I usually activate the auto feature. Although that feature can be a bit inconsistent. I’ve had the wipers not wipe when it was raining. Also when car is stopped, wipers stop, don’t like that.