MINI is using Geneva to introduce its latest bit of techno wizardry, an in-car infotainment "solution" it's dubbing MINI Connected. Due to bow in as an option on the new Clubman which goes on sale in Europe this spring and arrives here next February, MINI Connected incorporates a unique-to-MINI intelligent USB interface that offers an expanded integration with the Apple iPhone and provides an unprecedented level of convenient and intuitive control of all functions via the car's internal operating system.
To be available on all of its future models, MINI Connected is fully updatable/expandable/customizable. When paired with the new -- and also optional -- MINI Visual Boost radio, it also adds Internet connection capability. The initial application will be an industry-first web radio function that permits streaming of any available station from anywhere in the world. However, various infotainment, navigation and communication related enhancements are expected to follow. Control of MINI Connected is done via a high-resolution color display that's integrated into the large center-mounted speedometer and a console-mounted joystick that uses conventional MINI display logic.
For those who want a ride-along virtual buddy, MINI Connected also incorporates the Mission Control Module which debuted on the MINI Camden 50th Anniversary Model. Mission Control evaluates a host of vehicle-environment related inputs and then offers the driver various relevant observations and advisories, from a prompt to fasten seatbelts to outside air temperature. MINI says this latest Mission Control package boasts an even wider repertoire of these voice messages to ensure a more varied selection of car-to-human communications, "even in familiar and frequently recurring everyday driving situations." Thankfully, it also carried over the driver-selectable "mute" function from the original Mission Control Module.