Mini Cockpits Get Updated to be Easier to Read at Night

Apple CarPlay comes to the Mini Clubman and Countryman along with a slew of usability upgrades.

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BMW AG

Mini has outlined updates across its range today that should make nighttime driving a little easier on the eyes. According to a new press release, as of July 2017 the gauge cluster behind the steering wheel on all Mini models will feature "optimized readability and an enhanced graphic display." Specifically, that means at night the numbers and text will be lit up in white instead of orange.

This setup will also apply to the cars' heads-up-display system. Speaking of the HUD, your specific height setting for the projected information screen will now be stored on your car key's personal profile along with your mirror and seat position settings. In addition, Mini will be adding a new fuel gauge that's supposedly easier to read and more accurate.

Moving to the center console, Apple CarPlay availability in the Clubman and Countryman is one of the biggest parts of today's announcement. Any mention of Android Auto support, however, is notably absent. Switching your Mini between "Green," "Sport," and the default driving modes is now done through one of those signature Mini toggle switches, positioned underneath the HVAC controls.

New Minis also receive upgraded safety in the form of an available "alertness assistant" in the Mini 3 Door, 5 Door, and Convertible. As its name suggests, the system continually monitors distance driven and driving behavior to detect if you might be dozing off. If your Mini deems you too tired to drive, a message pops up on the center display reading "Tea Time." So British!

As for convertible-exclusive additions, Mini is introducing what it calls the "Always Open" package. It comes with heated front seats, a wind deflector, and a timer that records and displays just how much (or little) time you spend with your Mini's top down. Just in time for summer.