The MINI USA Configurator is Now Live with New Ordering Tiers

After a longer than expected wait the MINI USA configurator is now live. We finally have a full view of the new MINI USA levels or tiers. These tiers represent a major shift in the way that MINIUSA offers options and positions its cars. In short what you’ll see on the configurator (and below) is an options framework that simplifies ordering and increases value in most scenarios without limiting the ultimate number of choices a customer has.

MINI USA Configurator

2019 MINIUSA 2019 Trim Level Ordering Guides

While the configurator is the place to start, the official ordering guides are also helpful in seeing all the options at a glance.

F56 Hatch

F55 4 Door Hatch

F54 Clubman

F57 Convertible

F60 Countryman

JCW Models

Why is MINIUSA Making Such a Dramatic Change?

MINI started this entire process by talking to dealers, salespeople, customers and people who looked at MINIs that didn’t actually buy. The data pointed to a few things:

  • Dealers were often ordering one of a kind cars that didn’t end up selling easily
  • Potential buyers loved the idea of making a MINI their own but felt the configuration process was confusing and took too long
  • Residuals on MINIs we’re talking a hit because one of a kind cars were driving values lower – bad for MINI and for owners
  • There was a group of almost identical options people tended to order in the mid and higher dollar levels
  • Potential buyers who didn’t buy were looking or more options at lower costs

MINI USA quickly realized that they could take this data and group options commonly ordered together to drive value. Out of this they create three tiers that acted as a baseline for owners to order their MINIs. These three tiers eliminated packages like sport and the JCW exterior package and have created option groups based on how most customers order. By doing this, prices will be less on most MINIs, especially those with moderate to high option levels.

Tier 1 – Classic

The base prices are changing across the board. The price of a base Cooper has actually gone up $300 in the Cooper while cars like the Countryman will go down $300-$500 depending on configuration.

Classic will come with the following standards:

  • Four colors only
  • Manual transmission standard
  • 4G connectivity (emergency calls and teleservices)

Unlike the others, Classic will have very limited options:

  • Roof rails
  • Heated seats
  • Automatic transmission (unlike the tiers 2 and 3 this will not be free)

You cannot get a contrasting roof, navigation or even leather with these cars. But as you see with the low price of The Signature line, anyone wanting those options will want to move up to that next level. The base price will actually go up to $300 for the standard Cooper to $21,900. But that’s pretty much where the price increases.

Tier 2 – Signature

Signature will be immensely popular given what you get for the pricing. MINI USA has aggressively targeted this price point by including all the following option for $24,900 on an F56 Cooper (prices vary for other models).

  • Any paint color
  • Sunroof
  • Sport seats
  • Automatic or Manual
  • Any 16” wheel
  • White turn signals
  • Heated seats
  • Comfort access
  • 4G connectivity (emergency calls and teleservices)

This doesn’t mean you’re stuck with these options mind you. You can upgrade the interior by choosing a premium interior package (which includes leather, trim and a premium steering wheel) and other options and packages can be added depending on the type of MINI you want. But there are less a la carte options available than before. The idea is that, if you want a more equipped MINI, you’ll go for Iconic rather than option up a Signature line.

Tier 3 – Iconic

The top tier Iconic will include all options including things like the Technology package (wide-screen Navigation etc) but not the Drive Assistance Package (which includes PDC, HUD, self-parking and adaptive cruise for $1250 for an F56).

The results of this pricing change is that a fully loaded 2019 Countryman has been reduced in cost to roughly what a well equipped 2018 Countryman was. The difference with the 2019 F57 Convertible is even more stark. Loaded the 2019 MCS Convertible is now about $3000 less than it was in 2018.

Has anything been removed?

Unfortunately, we have to report that MINI USA (once again) has eliminated rear fog lights from the US market. Despite it being an extremely helpful safety feature in some parts of the country, the take rate was apparently just too low justify keeping it on the books for 2019.

Also gone is the JCW exterior package. While other markets are keeping the package, MINI USA wants to increase the visual space between the Cooper S and the JCW.

Has MINI USA Reduced Choice?

In a word yes. But in reality not really. The choice previously was almost mathematically limitless. Now there are just 100 million different ways to order your new MINI. Compare that to say, a Honda Accord which has a total of 85 different ways to spec and it would seem MINI is staying true to its customization roots.

But enough talk. Go forth and configure and let us know what you think in the comments below.

  • fishbert

    I picked a Cooper S, selected the ‘Iconic’ configuration starting at $33,900… and it dropped me into what looks like the classic configurator with a starting price of $26,550. So, not quite ready for prime time, I think.

    • oldsbear

      I selected a JCW build. When I got to “Continue Building” we went to a base Cooper….

      • fishbert

        Looks fixed now.

        • oldsbear

          Thanks for letting me know. I’ll take a look.

  • Sal

    It was buggy last night but better today. Disappointed that the rear spoiler is no longer available on the S model and that the Sport Automatic is still being used on the JCW. Also, hoping the aftermarket accessories will return to the configurator for things like roof flags, mirror caps etc.

  • ulrichd

    I gotta say, the tail lights don’t look so huge with the union jack pattern and black trim. Much improved.

    • nervous

      To me, lit-up the union jack patterns look like illogical arrows.

      • fishbert

        Fortunately, the arrow-looking part doesn’t flash with the turn signals.

  • ulrichd

    Can you do a sunroof delete in the signature tier?

    • Roger Russove

      Yes. I did when I ordered mine.

  • driverofmini

    Between my wife and I we have owned 4 MINIs. This change means that we will never buy another MINI. Disappointed and saddened

    • glangford

      Yes, I agree, very disappointing change. My first mini was a pretty barebones mini, heated seats, harmon kardon. To do that today means I’m stuck with a roof that is the body color, no white roof, and only four kinda lousy colors. I tried to configure a signature line, and sport seats require a 2000 dollar upholstery package? WTF. Apple car play required 1700 navigation package. I’d like car play without a navigation package. If I could use car play and the iPhones nav, why would I want to use an inferior nav? This is all an attempt to get people into more expensive lines and packages. Sales will go down.

      • R.O.

        I agree regarding MINI looking at getting buyers to “up spec”. Shame. On the 2-Dr S cooper HT signature trim, can’t even get Auto-Dim mirrors. But you have to take: Comfort Access, Moonroof & JCW Steering Wheel. WT? I don’t want any of those, No worth do go down to Classic trim as it doesn’t come with or not available (as option) things I would want. On top of that Signature trim now comes with White Turn signals but no LED. Also heated Seats – where I live – don’t need heated seats (useless option for me)

        Having no Auto-dim mirrors is a deal breaker, That should be available in Classic and Signature. Imo, MINI has now gone completely the opposite direction and didn’t find middle ground.

        Now that Panoramic Moonroof is “standard” they should have at least made the shade solid and not kept it mesh style.

        Per configurator, the Signature Trim is a $4,000 upgrade/value. Yet it doesn’t include HK Sound or Alarm system, nor LED lights.

        If MINI is worried about “lower values” on used cars, then LED headlights should have been standard on all trims. Honestly MINI f’d up going this route with Trim levels & what’s in each Trim and available options.

        • fishbert

          I had to tint the roof glass on my R56 because the mesh was completely insufficient. But the mesh on my F56 blocks the sun just fine, and still lets the air in when the roof is open. Replacing it with a solid shade would be a step backwards, in my opinion.

        • Agreed.

  • R.O.

    I spec’d a Cooper S Countryman Signature trim (non All-4): $37,950! Crazy. Only added 4 options. $1,000 for LED headlights/fogs! WT? LED should be standard. $1,000 to add! Not!

    Spec’d a 2 door Cooper S Signature with same options I have now on my 2015 Cooper S (almost same, as some things are now “included”) It would now cost me (MSRP to MSRP) – $2,500 more and does not include Auto Dim rear-view mirror which I have. (2015 MSRP: $29,600 vs now MSRP of $32,100). Yes now includes ADA and Sunroof. I’d delete sunroof.

    Also my 2015 came standard with Interior Chrome line and Interior lighting (or whatever it was called).

    I did notice that if I chose the “Iconic Trim” (2 Door Cooper S) – instead of Signature, and spec’d same, Iconic would cost $31,250. Only $150 more over Signature but comes with more (features I added to Signature line) How is that possible?

    Looks like a sort of “bait and switch” gimmick to me. A: “look with all the items you want on a signature it will cost you XXX BUT why not get the Iconic Trim, it comes with everything you want plus more and it’s only $150 more” Shady to me.

  • McZinn

    I am not finding rain-sensing wipers anywhere on the signature trim. Am I missing it?

    • Kurtomouss

      Rain sensor is included in all trims.

  • AnthLC

    I like the US configurator especially when finds conflicts with what you picked and should be rolled to other markets.

    You can still configure your mini how you like but takes some of the confusion out when selecting packages.

    Although one suggestion can the photos be tweaked to show the car on the road in sunlight, overcast, and nighttime.

    The stock standard photo’s really make choosing a colour difficult. I strangely like green silver colour but would need to see in real life to be certain. Which can be difficult if dealer doesn’t have a car on hand to show.

  • mr_fugu

    It is silly that the base Classic line can’t get a contrasting roof, but otherwise it’s not that bad. I’m told the reasoning behind this is that dealerships were ordering to many “weird” cars… so it’s probably more MINI trying to control their franchises and spinning it as a good thing for consumers. I think it will catch on as a good thing, but how many times will MINI “reinvent” themselves before they actually do something right for their fans and owners? Though I do see the same problems consuming BMW too, so it’s probably higher than even MINI.

    • mr_fugu

      Yes, my comment above is mixed… because I love the brand, but I hate seeing the brand and enthusiasts get hurt. My wife drives a BMW, her lease is up in a year and the same issues are there too.

    • ulrichd

      Yeah I wonder how much the roof color option delete really saves. It’s the one thing that sets MINI apart from almost every other car on the road. Without the contrasting roof the bonnet stripes look weird and the whole MINI look is gone.

      • From what we hear quite a lot. It’s an entirely separate paint process that takes more time (which equals cost) than a body colored MINI. It also makes sense historically since the contrasting top was originally intended for the higher end Cooper models initially.

  • one9deuce

    Wow, this is awful. Other than Midnight Black Metallic paint (good riddance Astro “Black” Metallic that was really Navy Blue) the two things I wanted most on my 2016 Cooper Hardtop were LED headlights and the 17” Cosmos wheels. To have those things now I would be spending $6000(!) more than I spent on my car. I wanted a MINI for a long time and I absolutely love it, but if I had waited until now and was stuck with this very limited tier structure I would probably be looking elsewhere. Spending upwards of $32,000+ for a car I would think most people are looking quite a few other places besides MINI. You can get an Audi A3, a Mercedes-Benz CLA-250, or a BMW X1 in that price range.

    • Ephman87

      Blech. If you want to lighten up the funereal standard interior (black-black-black) in even the simplest way, with lighter door or dash panels, you now are on the hook for the $2000 upholstery package. I don’t want leather seats on a convertible, I just don’t want the interior to look like a cave. The ability to choose options a la carte was one of the best features of Mini – sure, paint choices were absurdly expensive, but we didn’t have to jump trim levels to get options like heated seats, as one does with many domestics. Getting a Mini convertible spec’d the way I’d want it now means Mustang or Camaro money. Not good.

      • one9deuce

        It feels like force up-selling and it sucks. I hate that excuse they’re giving about the dealers ordering strange combinations that they supposedly can’t sell. Why would a dealer order configurations they can’t sell?

  • Bill Helsabeck

    Maybe you guys aren’t their target market. You know, they do a ton of research before they come up with a strategy. I suspect they will survive without the doomsday from some of you folks. I took delivery of a 2018 Series 7 in November. Ordered everything in the new Iconic range EXCEPT the Nav package. Got if for $31K and change. Did NOT include pre-paid maintenance, which I would have purchased if offered.

    • John McLauchlan

      Funny that you mention following a strategy. Ten months ago, MINI announced the “Signature Line” for MY2018. Less than a year later, that’s out the window and we now have three new lines, one of which continues the “Signature Line” name but is completely different specification.

      While I applaud the idea, the devil is in the details. I hope MINI USA still permits fully custom orders for Priority 1 cars. That would solve a lot of the concerns posted earlier.

    • one9deuce

      Yeah, because target market research always comes up with the right solution. Do you really believe that? How many disastrous failures have happened because a company has followed focus-group conclusions. The Mustang would be a small, front wheel drive, weak-engined little catastrophe if Ford had followed through on having listened to “what customers want” in their market research. Luckily the Mustang fans were up in arms and thwarted that awful idea.

      • Bill Helsabeck

        I somehow suspect they know more than you.

        • one9deuce

          Do you somehow suspect all the other times market research has failed that they were failing on purpose?

        • Bill Helsabeck

          I wonder why they haven’t done the obvious and drafted you to run the company.

        • one9deuce

          Because MINI thinks that they ARE doing the right thing. People and companies making mistake always think they’re doing the right thing, that’s why they do it.

  • Mendel Tomas

    If all these changes are because dealers ordered “weird” cars and are that dumb to do so, too bad for them. As a consumer ordering a car spec’d the way I want it, I’ll take the risk of it being worth less at trade-in because I went “weird” with it. The special thing about MINI was that I could order exactly what I wanted for me. I can’t do that anymore, especially since they have reduced choices (eg. no JCW interior on base or S, less dash trims, etc.). The only good new things about the ’19s are the tail lights and the new Emerald and Orange colors. Also, what’s the deal with all the upholstery options (except Yours Lounge black) being the same price and all the wheel sizes being the same price? Am I misreading all that? Apologies for the bitch fest.

  • Jill P

    Yes, I just configured both a Iconic and Signature with all my preferred option (or at least the ones they offer now), I saved about $1000 on the signature (I don’t really care about Nav) but it still cost around $2K more than my 2018 configured car. And to think I was considering the JCW, that just killed it. VW did this same thing a number a years ago which was why I left that brand. UGH!

    • Jill P

      I guess I’m really just annoyed that I’m now paying more for a manual transmission. And why are the Lounge Leather seats more expensive but the weird brown ones are base included?? Seems like that color doesn’t really go with very much.

      • Lounge leather is a much more premium leather that is sourced and produced quite differently. It’s always cost more in both MINIs and BMWs.

        • Jill P

          The gray lounge leather does not have the $500 mark-up, it is part of the base package. Only the black lounge leather has the additional $500. I should have clarified that.

        • Than that’s a smoking deal.

  • Kevin Bartlett

    So I tried to build as close to my F54 JCW as I could…..I can’t come close. I can’t get the MINI Yours steering wheel with other options I would want. I don’t think not getting exactly every option you want is crucial for me to buy in the future. At the same time, I lose the savings of not getting the Auto, they charge $2,000 dollars to be able to add the MINI Yours steering wheel, because I want to keep the fabric seats (which I have grown to love). The more I played with it the more angry I got, which is exactly the opposite of my experience anytime in the past with the configurator where it was just fun to play with. Sorry they have ruined this experience for me, and that is significant.