A car’s operating system is fast becoming one of its most important selling features. While MINI has long been considered one of the better systems in smaller cars, the rapid progress of VW (among others) has put pressure on the brand to innovate. The addition of multi-touch and Apple CarPlay (full-screen beginning last year) has been welcome but the underlining operating system itself hasn’t seen major revision in years. Until now.
For the 2022 model year BMW is heavily revising the MINI operating system and the surrounding physical interface and including the high resolutions 8.8” screen standard across the range. The updated system features something MINI is calling Live Widgets which should remind users of smartphone apps in their functionality and behavior. In addition to this MINI is rolling out a completely new companion smartphone app that will debut in the first half off 2021.
The operating system is standard on all MINIs beginning with March 2021 production and it cannot be retrofitted.
OFFICIAL RELEASE: The New MINI Operating System
Perfectly networked, always online, seamlessly integrated and always ready for typical MINI driving pleasure. This is how urban premium mobility presents itself in the digital age. Alongside the fresh, strikingly purist design and new equipment features, the extensively enhanced operating system with its additional digital services is a major highlight of the new editions of the MINI 3-door, MINI 5-door and MINI Convertible. Now more than ever, the unmistakable MINI feeling can be seamlessly integrated into the digital lifestyle.
The refined premium ambience in the interior of the MINI 3-door, MINI 5-door and MIN Convertible also includes a redesigned centre instrument. An 8.8-inch touch display in black panel design is now standard. The control units for the audio system and the touch-sensitive favourite buttons are integrated flush into the high-quality Piano Black high-gloss surface. The light signal of the LED decor ring surrounding the centre instrument can correspond to the operation of the air conditioning, among other things. If the heat output is increased, the display moves to the red area; if the desired temperature is reduced, the display again moves to the blue area. In conjunction with the Ambient Light option, the LED decor ring features a distinctive laser engraving.
The current advances in the field of digitalisation are also symbolised by the multifunctional instrument display on the steering column, which is part of the Connected Media option. The 5.0-inch colour display, which also uses black panel technology, shows all relevant driving information. In the MINI Cooper SE it also serves as a display for the charging status while connected to the power supply.
The latest generation of the operating system in the MINI 3-door, MINI 5-door and MINI Convertible ensures that driving pleasure is accompanied by a completely new user experience. Menu selection on the touch display of the centre instrument becomes even more intuitive with a significantly modernised layout. For the first time, Live Widgets are available for this purpose, which can be selected by a swipe. The desired function is then enlarged in the centre of the display. This means that operation in the MINI is even more closely aligned with the user behaviour familiar from smartphones and other digital devices. The content of the Live Widgets and the order in which they are arranged can be configured individually.
The standard configuration shows one widget each for the menu items Media, Communication, Navigation, Vehicle Settings, the MINI Connected Apps and Messages. Depending on the function, the current status – for example, the route currently being taken on the navigation map or the last audio programme selected – is always displayed on the corresponding graphic.
In addition, the driver can now, for the first time, adapt the colour world of the displays on the centre – and the multifunctional instrument to his or her driving style and individual mood. Two modes are available for the graphic displays. In “Lounge” mode, a relaxing colour world between turquoise and petrol is called up. Switching to the “Sport” mode makes the screen backgrounds glow in red and anthracite. If desired, the colour worlds for the displays become part of an overall staged driving experience.
In conjunction with the MINI Driving Modes, they are linked to the respective vehicle setting. For example, switching to the “SPORT” driving mode immediately activates the matching colour world on the displays. In vehicles equipped with the Ambient Light option, the colour worlds of the display can also be combined with the control of the interior lighting. There is then a choice of six interior light colours for each of the “Lounge” and “Sport” modes.
In the MINI Cooper SE, the eDrive display on the centre instrument provides information about the current energy flow, the range and options for increasing it, for example by switching to GREEN mode. The Range Assistant of the navigation system checks whether the selected destination can be reached with the available energy capacities and suggests public charging stations along the route. In addition, charging stations are also listed under the so-called Points of Interest, including information about the available connections, the operator and the payment modalities. With the Green Driving Assistant, the navigation system calculates the most efficient route to the destination. This also takes into account the individual driving style and the Real Time Traffic Information.
The use of third-party apps in the vehicle has also been further optimised. One of the most important innovations is the integration of the voice assistant Amazon Alexa. In the MINI 3-door, MINI 5-door and MINI Convertible, the voice assistant’s capabilities can now be fully utilised – whether for selecting music tracks, creating a shopping list or controlling smart home functions. For all that, just a connection between the personal Amazon Alexa account and the MINI App is required. The integration of the digital service Amazon Alexa for the MINI is available for smartphones with the iOS or Android operating systems.
In its latest version, the MINI App offers a particularly wide range of options for combining the fun of driving the MINI and the digitally designed areas of everyday life even more closely. In addition, the user-friendliness, safety and reliability of the MINI App have been further optimised. It acts as a universal interface to the vehicle. This means, for example, that information on the vehicle status can be called up on the smartphone and remote services such as locking and unlocking the doors can be activated.
The MINI App can also be used to optimise charging processes and remotely control the climate control of the MINI Cooper SE. The interior can be pre-conditioned during the charging process so that the journey can begin in a pleasantly cooled or heated vehicle. Information on the charging status, charging history and current range is displayed on the smartphone, as are public charging stations in the vicinity. In addition, the MINI App enables direct contact with the MINI Service Partner. The MINI Breakdown Service and the MINI Online Shop can also be conveniently accessed.
By mid-2021, the MINI App will be available in more than 40 countries and in 23 languages.