2011 MINI Refresh

Earlier this month we told you about the 2011 MINI refresh or LCI (Life Cycle Impulse in BMW-speak) that we expect in September. There will be new colors, a new front an rear bumper design (with additional cooling for brakes) and of course several key changes inside.

So what’s changing? Those looking for a radical redesign of the interior will be disappointed. MINI will make some very subtle changes to the heating/cooling interface as well as the radio controls on non-Nav equipped cars. However the main change will be in the finishes of the controls. In place of the grey/silver look MINI will be upgrading them to either a matte or gloss black. In addition to that the plastic around the controls will also be made from a higher quality material. In fact we’ve unknowingly already seen a sneak peak at the new center console when MINI debuted the Roadster concept (seen above however disregard all other trim changes as they were for the concept car only).

One addition that will mirror what we’ve seen released in the Countryman is the addition of MINI Connect to the options sheet. As with the Countryman it will be available with and without the navigation (however we highly recommend springing for the nav if you’re interested in it as it really makes the option come to life).

What is MINI Connect? The idea is that your iPhone (more on that in a sec) plugs into the car via the armrest. This charges the iPhone and provides a connection to the roof antenna and a hardwire connection for all the data. The iPhone is still via Bluetooth so all the functions normally supported by MINI via Bluetooth are still there. From there the MINI Connect system tethers to your phone’s 3G connection and uses it to power apps such as web radio, twitter to name just a few. MINI is launching with the iPhone first but look for further handsets to be supports in the future.

For much more information be sure to read our previous report on the entire list of changes coming for 2011. Look for an internet debut of the 2011 MINI in the months ahead. Until then stay tuned to MF for all the latest.