The next generation MINI interface will play a huge role in the overall experience for owners and we have an exclusive first look.
MINI’s interior has always been dominated by the center speedometer. Over the years that simple speedometer has morphed into the center of MINI’s modern interface and operating system. Now the brand is poised to go a step further. With these exclusive photos we now see how MINI plans to integrate the entire interface into the new, circular OLED screen.
This new interface will be present across the entire MINI line-up including. From the ICE powered F66 (which is a heavily revised F56), the ICE and electric Countryman, the all electric J01 MINI Cooper SE and eventually the electric MINI Aceman this new interface will be literally and figuratively at the center of every product.
Starting below the screen we several different buttons, toggles and switches. In order those are the parking-brake button, gear selector, volume knob, on/off toggle, and Driving Experiences selector. Below that are several other safety related buttons. And that’s it. Those are the only physical controls in the new MINI family. Gone are the heating and cooling buttons and even heated seat controls. For better or worse everything will now reside in this new digital interface.
Here’s what MINI itself says about this massive change: At the center of the visually simplified interior of the upcoming model family is the circular central instrument display, a classic hallmark of MINI. However, in this new model, the circular central instrument display will be reinterpreted as an OLED display, making MINI the first car manufacturer in the world to offer a touch display with a fully usable round surface. This innovative design enables a minimalistic user interface that controls the integrated infotainment and climate functions, providing a sleek and frameless look that exudes high quality.
That phrase minimalistic user interface is exactly what we see here. But how does it work? While these photos only show us a radio listing interface, they give away many aspects of the layout and interaction. For starters the white line at the bottom of the screen is intended to mimic the latest versions of iOS which allow the user to simply swipe up to go back to the Home Screen. We believe this will allow for quicker navigation that feels much more intuitive than most in-car interfaces.
One of our critiques of BMW’s current iDrive system (especially the all-touch version in the X1) is centered around the removal of physical buttons controlling climate and other functionality. However what MINI has done here appears to be a generation beyond that thinking as it looks much more intuitive. The data that will always be displayed will be vehicle speed, range, time, outside temperature, state of charge, performance, and cabin temperature.
What’s driving this radical change? In a word culture. The expectation of fluid digital experiences from the majority of consumers is driving MINI to make this massive change. But it also makes sense as the brand moves to an all electric model line-up over the next decade. These type of interfaces tend to lend themselves to the use case of electric cars more than ICE and have (in other brands) transformed customer satisfaction when done right.
Next Generation MINI Interface & Digital Personalization
Also driving this is MINI’s big bet on digital personalization. MINI is going all in on digital personalization with the next generation MINI Cooper, Countryman and Aceman. We’ve talked about the general concept but we now have some details as to exactly how this will come to life in both aesthetics and performance. Yes these personalized modifications have the ability to alter the way the car actually drives.
Drive modes have been around since the R56 and will continue with the new generation of MINIs. However on the electric J01 MINI Cooper, The U25 electric MINI Countryman and the J01 MINI Aceman we’ll see a dramatic increase in functionality. Called experiences, they will control not just the way the car drives but the overall mood. There will be Green, Core and Go-Kart. Yes Go-Kart. But this isn’t just about weightier steering and sharpening throttle response. With the latter setting the all electric J01 MINI Cooper SE will not only be quicker off the line but will adjust settings allowing for oversteer in corners.
In addition to the three Experiences, the powertrain and steering can be set to Comfort or Sport further tailoring the driving experience. MINI will also offer three mood settings; Calm, Heritage, and Vivid.
This personalization will extend to the interface itself we’re told. We also believe MINI will offer various themes that can personalize the entire driving experience even further.
We’re also told to expect much more to come via over-the-air updates, third-party app integration, new experience modes and even on-dash image projections. MINI will also integrate functionality like automatic radar-trap warnings and even multiple user profiles.
And all of it is housed in the new MINI interface. While it looks promising, we won’t have a real opinion until we go hands-on later this summer.