Following a preview earlier this month, MINI has released additional details about the hardware and software that will be going into its future models. Just like we saw on the Aceman concept last year, the upcoming cars are going to benefit from an OLED screen mounted in the middle of the dashboard. The circular display is going to have a diameter of 240 millimeters (9.4 inches) and excellent color accuracy thanks to the organic light-emitting diodes. We saw the new OLED screen in a pre-production MINI and it was gorgeous with deep blacks and vibrant colors.
MINI says the position of the OLED display in the center of the dash will make it easier for both the driver and the front passenger to use. Much like BMW’s iDrive 9, the new MINI Operating System 9 will run on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) software stack but obviously specifically adapted to better fit the needs of the British brand. Interestingly, customers will be able to optionally order a light projector mounted at the back of the big display that will discreetly illuminate the entire dashboard.
8 Experience Modes
Then there are the so-called MINI Experience Modes, which will offer several subsets of pre-defined settings for the ambient lighting, sound, and infotainment graphics. Depending on the trim level, future models will have as many as eight modes: Core, Green, Go-Kart, Personal, Balance, Timeless, Vivid, and Trail, with the latter being reserved for the next-gen Countryman and its electric sibling.
The Personal Mode will allow customers to add their pictures to the MINI Interaction Unit, all through the convenience of the MINI App. Moreover, the ambient lighting seamlessly adjusts to match the selected picture’s colors, creating an immersive and tailor-made driving environment. The colour design in the optional Head-up display likewise adapts to the MINI Experience Mode selected.
From the turn indicator audio signal to the seatbelt warning, MINI has conceived approximately 30 new sound signals for its future models. These are known as “earcons” and will cover a wide array of features, including the beeps made by the parking sensors.
Located at the screen’s center is The start menu is ergonomically placed in the screen’s center offering a range of personalized content that can be easily selected and launched by swiping to the side. A fixed status bar is placed in the lower section of the screen is the fixed status bar with menu items such as “Navigation,” “Media,” “Telephony,” “All Apps,” and, situationally, “Home” for direct access.
For enhanced convenience, customers can swipe up from the lower edge of the screen to reveal shortcuts. Additionally, the multifunction steering wheel features a star button that can activate the tool belt. Meanwhile, the upper screen area is dedicated to driving-related information, such as vehicle speed and crucial vehicle status updates.
Another novelty will be Spike, a heavily reworked voice assistant allowing owners to use voice commands to access the radio, phone, navigation, and adjust the temperature. If you want to kill time, Spike can also tell stories and even jokes, not to mention answer questions such as: “Do you like me?” It knows whether the driver or front passenger is asking thanks to the two microphones mounted at the front of the headliner to accurately identify who is talking.
Cloud-Based Navigation System
MINI is also introducing a cloud-based navigation system. Even though we couldn’t test the navigation system during our interaction with the MINI, the product managers assured us that this new nav is extremely fast and precise. The new MINI Navigation System uses real-time traffic data combined with advanced forecasting models. If you’re driving an electric MINI, the system automatically calculates a charging-optimized route if the vehicle’s current range is insufficient to reach the destination.
Additionally, the Augmented View option enhances navigation by providing drivers with a live video stream on the MINI Interaction Unit. This stream is supplemented with extra information to ensure optimal orientation while driving. Customers have the flexibility to choose from various map designs and can even activate a visually appealing 3D buildings visualization option.
Although the driver’s display is gone, you can still have access to a variety of information in your line of sight by getting the optional head-up display. It too adapts to the selected MINI Experience Mode and it always shows the temperature for the driver and front passenger on the left and right sides. On the big OLED screen, you’ll be able to play casual games using AirConsole, just like on the higher-end BMWs fitted with iDrive 8.
MINI Digital Key Plus
The latest lineup of MINI models introduces an exciting addition for customers: the MINI Digital Key Plus. With this new feature, available on compatible Apple, Google, or Samsung devices, drivers will experience a warm welcome as they approach their new MINI cars, all made possible by the advanced ultra-wideband technology.
Expect MINI to unveil the next-generation hatchback and the Countryman this fall, with the Aceman to follow in 2024.