The BMW Group is making big strides with its onboard tech, and that has now extended to these cute new MINI infotainment systems. 

What if your car stereo could also double up as a GPS? Well, that wish was granted by the auto industry years ago. Ok, well what if it was also a games console, streaming platform, mood light projector… or what if it even gave you a puppy? We’re not kidding, the MINI infotainment system does all of that – and more!

Got your attention? Cool, here’s all the fun stuff you need to know about the new MINI Cooper Electric’s dash.

Core Technology

First things first, let’s start with the basics. What sort of tech are we really talking about here? The hub of this new MINI infotainment system (officially called the MINI Interaction Unit) is a 9.4-inch circular OLED touchscreen, positioned where you would usually find an ICE-engined MINI‘s central circular speedometer. The display uses the same Android open-source backbone software that BMW’s iDrive9 system is built atop, albeit tuned to be more “emotionally engaging”. That’s PR speak for, “it’s quite adorable”, and we’ll explain more as to why later.

Anyway, although the upper element of the touchscreen is always reserved for important driving stats like speed, the lower segment can be used to access various functions, namely; navigation, music, telephone, and apps. Also, in case you’re not too fond of craning your neck towards the center console to see key driving information, you can choose to have the upper element of the touchscreen’s readout duplicated across to the head-up display.

It’s also worth noting that although this is how the new MINI infotainment has begun life, it probably won’t stay exactly like this forever. When revisions or upgrades come along, you’ll be able to remotely download the software updates directly to your car, at no extra cost.

MINI driving modes

Driving Modes

One of the features which MINI is keen to make a big statement about is the new set of driving modes, or as MINI calls them, Experience Modes. The concept is simple – you can change the aesthetic and purpose of the circular OLED display depending on your mood or readout preferences. They are as follows:

Standard Modes

  • Core: This is essentially the MINI default setting, featuring a hue referred to as ‘Laguna’ which is designed to be “elegant” and “inviting”
  • Go-Kart: Go-Kart Mode cloaks the display in shades of Anthracite and Red. This also switches the interface to a sportier speedometer which, if the driver wishes, can spread across the full surface area of the screen. This mode also heightens the throttle response.
  • Green: Green is all about maximizing efficiency. It’s a bit like a much more sophisticated, modern re-imagination of the Honda CRZ’s animated trees, which rise or fall depending on how fuel efficient you are. In the MINI’s case, it uses animal animations to indicate efficiency through their coloring and demeanor. The throttle response also relaxes for efficient driving.

Additional Modes

  • Balance: The colors, animations and layout in this puristic mode are deliberately calming and understated. It brings with it a soundscape of forest noises intended to provide a feeling of “relaxation and wellbeing”.
  • Timeless: This converts the display to a serif typeface and large speedo, optimized for night-time driving. Engine sounds generated by previous ICE models – like the classic MINI, or MINI John Cooper Works GP – are sampled and blended with a futuristic version of the MINI “Core” EV driving sound to create a future-retro atmosphere.
  • Vivid: This mode focuses on the presentation of media content. The colors in the user interface design and ambient lighting are sourced from the cover artwork for the music currently playing.
  • Personal: This mode allows you to add your own pictures to the central OLED display. As in Vivid Mode, a matching color is automatically selected from the relevant image for the interior lighting.
  • Trail: Intended for the MINI Countryman, this mode is for ‘adventures’. It will display a virtual compass and vehicle inclination data to help you if you take your Countryman off-road.
MINI Cooper Electric interior

Soundscape & Lighting

As briefly alluded to in the previous segment, sound is set to become a key part of the MINI Cooper Electric’s interior and exterior. From the outside, passers-by will hear MINI’s “energizing and stimulating ” core sound architecture, while on the inside all manner of things could be going on. Of course, your music is naturally going to be the dominant sound from within the car’s interior, but aside from that, each aforementioned driving mode will have its own accompanying soundscape to set the tone.

Another thing which is tuned to your driving mode is the car’s ambient lighting. The MINI Cooper Electric will be offered with an optional projector on the back of the OLED touchscreen which will transmit light onto the dash, with its themes extended around to the door trim too. It’s a small touch, but one which will add notable charm and character to the cabin space.

MINI personal assistant MINI Spike

MINI & Spike – Personal Assistants

Adding to the theme of emotion which MINI are keen to play into, the car’s onboard Alexa-based assistants will take on the form of either a stylized version of the MINI Cooper Electric, or a friendly dog called Spike. Say no more, MINI, ‘cos frankly I’m sold already.

Aside from the new avatars, this system works as you’d expect an A.I. personal assistant to normally do so. You ask it questions, it replies with an answer. In the context of driving, this might be to do with navigation, or playing music. On top of that, MINI & Spike will also be able to interact with you by telling stories, jokes or just making simple chit-chat. All very cute.

MINI EV navigation

Charging-Optimized Navigation

MINI’s onboard navigation has undergone a major overhaul as part of the new Operating System 9 update. Its GPS takes into account live traffic volumes, and may make dynamic route adjustments on the fly. Plus, the map interface itself can take on 3D graphics if the driver wishes, while its color scheme will match the hue of the currently-selected driving mode.

Perhaps the best innovation for this EV is its charging-focused mindset. Essentially, if you set off on a journey and the car calculates that it doesn’t have enough to charge to make it in one go, it’ll automatically pick a route with optimal charging points along the way. By default, the system is set to ensure that the vehicle reaches both the final destination and the charging stops with a charge level of at least 10%, though you can adjust this in the system’s settings.



Finally, a note on the MINI Connected Store for downloading apps onto your car’s infotainment system. Such apps include Spotify which needs no introduction, as well as AirConsole which recently debuted with BMW. As well as video games, the MINI Cooper Electric will also have access to as-yet-unnamed video streaming platforms; the idea being that if you need to charge up, you’ll have systems onboard to keep you and your passengers entertained while you wait.