Five Things to Know About Mini's New Infotainment System

The new generation of Mini models is slowly taking shape. Last week, we learned that the popular British brand, which operates under the BMW umbrella, would be giving its Cooper a new interior. Today, Mini takes us behind the scenes of the cabin's technology, with a focus on the central display screen, which now acts as an all-in-one instrument cluster/infotainment system. This interactive OLED display measures 240mm (9.5 inches) in diameter, and is much thinner than the one it replaces. It incorporates Mini’s 9th-generation interface, which, according to the manufacturer, focuses on emotion in its interactions with occupants, with cutting-edge visual and audio themes that promote its intuitive nature, while drawing inspiration from the brand's rich heritage.

Here are five things to know about this new system.

Photo: Mini

Nine Distinct Themes

With the aim of offering occupants the possibility of tailoring their very own cabin experience according to their preferences, Mini has equipped its system with a choice of nine distinct display modes that transform not only the way in which information is arranged on the screen, but also the general ambience in the cabin, thanks to a projector located behind the screen that can dress the dashboard in various colors depending on the mode chosen.

Some modes also influence driving dynamics and even the vehicle's sound. The Go-Kart mode, for example, adopts a dynamic signature with dials in shades of red and black, as does the dashboard. In this mode, throttle response is also sharper. In Timeless mode, we roll back the clock e with a classic Mini visual signature that is particularly useful during night-time driving. A personalized mode is also included. It allows users to tick their own boxes and gather their preferred parameters, as well as having the option of uploading images of their choice in the background.

Photo: MINI

Sound Simulations

Electrification brings its share of challenges to the automotive world. One of these challenges concerns sound, which has lost much of its character with the arrival of the magnet motor. And engineers are seriously racking their brains to find solutions that will charm car lovers. Digging into its catalog of vehicles past and present, Mini has recorded a variety of exhaust tones to integrate specific patterns into models equipped with all-electric powertrains.

For example, the Go-Kart mode comes with a so-called sporty, dynamic sound signature. With Timeless mode, you enjoy a symphony composed using a variety of gas-powered Mini models, from the classic Mini to the Mini John Cooper Works, all with the aim of recreating the sound signature of a well-calibrated combustion engine.

A Furry Virtual Assistant

Because this is a major trend in the industry, the brand has also created a new virtual assistant that responds to the command "Hey Mini". This can take the form of cute little doggo named Spike, which, Mini claims, can recognize and distinguish between the voices of the vehicle's various occupants.

Photo: Mini

As with other virtual assistants, Spike can further push interaction with occupants with jokes and other random interventions.

Advanced Connectivity

Infotainment means connectivity. The 9th generation of the Mini interface will feature optional 5G connectivity, as well as the ability to receive over-the-air updates. The Mini Digital Key linked to the driver's smartphone will enable him or her to unlock the vehicle and start it without a key fob, and without even having to whip out the smartphone and interact with the app. This key can also be transferred to someone else virtually, a handy feature for those who post their vehicle on peer-to-peer rental applications such as Turo.

Photo: MINI

Gamers, Get in Here

As well as providing access to the usual streaming content apps like Spotify, occupants will also be able to take advantage of the Air Console application, which comes with a range of games that can be played by the driver alone once the vehicle has come to a standstill, or by occupants with each other using their smartphones.

Stay tuned to The Car Guide platforms for all the new features to come from Mini in the coming months.

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