This week BMW took the wraps off of its first all electric sedan, the BMW i4. While everyone has been focused on the healthy grille, there are a number of innovations that should be interesting to the future of MINI infotainment. Perhaps the largest (pun intended) is that giant screen.
BMW is late to the party in offering a large rectangular screen with both Mercedes and now Cadillac beating them to it. But rest assured our sources point to a similar sized screen being integrated into all BMW products over the next several years. What does that mean for MINI? Perhaps quite a lot.
The big change will happen with the introduction of the 4th generation small MINI and the next generation Countryman and Clubman. Given that the Countryman and Clubman (which will morph into a crossover) will continue to share a platform with BMWs, it’s a forgone conclusion that they will adopt a skinned version of iDrive. Knowing the timing, we would assume this will be a variation of iDrive 8.0. And given the direction the industry is going and what BMW has shown us here, we expect that MINI (and small BMWs) will offer an ultra-wide screen experience similar to what you see above.
While the interface in this photos above is still in concept form, it points to a much more three dimensional future in terms of design and capability. The MFC (multi-function controller) will likely remain but this will increasingly be seen as a touch-first experience. MINI will have it’s own skin most likely but the core experience should be very similar.
What about the core of the brand – the smaller MINIs? We don’t have details open that yet but we’d expect those cars would get a similar if not the same experience. While there are some unknowns given that the platform is being co-developed by Great Wall Motors, it would be very un-BMW like to create an entirely different experience or use an existing iDrive 7.0 approach.
When can we expect this change? The next generation Clubman and Countryman are current scheduled to debut around 2022-2023. The smaller MINIs will likely see a market introduction around 2023 or beyond.