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MINI Connected Gets More Functional


The premise behind the MINI Connected infotainment system is fairly simple: it wants to make your car as functional and versatile as a smart phone, albeit with more horsepower. Via a free iPhone app (also called MINI Connected), it allows users to link phone and car, providing such features as news, Twitter and Facebook feeds (read by your MINI, of course), streaming web radio and audio player control.

You also get something called Mission Control, which monitors the car and the environment to give you helpful tips like “You’re about to run out of gas,” and will even coach you to improve fuel efficiency. Give it permission, and it will rate your driving habits against those of other MINI owners worldwide.

While these functions may be utilitarian, they’re not of particular interest to those who like to push their MINIs to the limit. Good news, then: MINI Connected has been expanded to include the functions of Condition Check, Force Meter and Digital Sports Instruments.

Condition Check monitors a range of systems, including engine temperature, fuel level, Sport mode setting and even current weather. Should all systems be working in harmony, the systems displays the grammatically-challenged message that everything, “Be MINI.”

The Force Meter measures and records lateral and longitudinal acceleration, using a virtual MINI to show the current g-loads on the car. Maximum values are recorded, so you can prove to your friends once and for all that you really were carrying more speed through that corner than it looked like.

The Digital Sports Instruments function will display coolant temperature, current engine output demanded (in bar graph form), and current RPM or current torque output. The MINI Connected app even includes a detailed tutorial on the fundamentals of sporty-but-safe driving, but we’d be the first to tell you that no app in the world is going to lower your lap times.

MINI says its MINI Connected app is “the latest example of innovative infotainment technology designed to enhance the enjoyment of driving.” We’re not sure if it lives up to that billing, but if it helps drivers stay focused on the road instead of their smartphones, we’re all for it.
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