Digital Sports Instruments display on MINI

MINI Connected adds Driving Excitement app

New app provides information on car’s status for MINIs with Visual Boost or MINI Connected

The original MINIs were surprisingly good race cars and, from what I’ve heard, a lot of fun to drive. I suspect the new ones are just as much fun to drive, but BMW wants to add to the experience. For modern MINI owners who secretly wish their car could be more like a sports car, MINI Connected is now offering the Driving Excitement app, which shows sports instruments or car analysis and acceleration data on the on-board monitor.

The new app offers three functions, Digital Sports Instruments, Force Meter, and Condition Check, all of which can be uploaded to the car through an Apple iPhone. The functions are accessed through the car’s joystick, buttons on the steering wheel, or through the monitor itself. Wait a minute. The car has a joystick? That’s certainly not something I remember from the days when we had a MINI station wagon for a family car. Of course, no one had cell phones then, either.

Access the Digital Sports Instruments function and the monitor becomes an extension of the dash instrument panel. Among the new instruments on display are a coolant temperature gauge, current acceleration, and current rpm or torque (your choice). Acceleration and rpm maximum values remain visible for some time after you release the accelerator. Sounds like a toned-down version of the Track Apps option available on Ford’s 2013 Mustang. The iPhone part of the app also has tutorials teaching driving skills.

The Force Meter, as might be expected, provides visuals of the forces being felt by the car. It measures both longitudinal and lateral acceleration and depicts them with a virtual MINI. BMW describes it as “a new and unique visual showcase for the hallmark MINI go-kart feeling.” Strength of force is shown in a circle, with different sections lighting up as the driver responds to conditions.

Condition Check gives you information on engine temperature and fuel level, plus outside temperature and weather conditions. All of the Driving Excitement functions are in addition to pre-existing MINI Connected functions, including access to web radio, dynamic music, RSS news feeds, Google and Twitter. As more apps are introduced, users will be able to add those they like through their iPhone.

I wonder how many MINI owners will take their cars out to a deserted parking lot to play with the new Digital Sports Instruments?

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