R56 Interior Comments

I like what they have done with the place! It looks very cool and is starting to grow on me. I like the toggle switches and I look forward to seeing it in person. But there are a few things that are starting to bother me.

Making Options a Standard
What's with making the auto a/c so appealing compared to the standard manual controls that hardly anyone will opt to get the manual? I currently have auto a/c in my MINI and am quite please with it, but the standard manual controls were at least well thought out. I understand the idea of making the extra cost options desirable but not getting that cool little display screen is a tough one to pass up.

ReUse as opposed to ReCreate!
Being an architect, there are many instances that I too ReUse specific details from different projects into new projects. Even using a specific detail and mimicking the general gesture throughout a single space or project is a great way to unite a series of spaces. But that too can become a bit overwhelming when used too much or if the mimicking is too similar to the original.

Take certain cues of current MINI's design. There are many instances that they actually ReCreate elements that ReUse general gestures of other designed items in the car. We all know that the Auto A/C controls resemble the MINI wings logo, but it's subtle, which is what makes it work so well concept-wise. Another instance I particularly enjoy is the round cross A/C vents (circle with a 45˚ cross brace) which is repeated in the climate sensors located on either side of the auto A/C controls. Very subtle, very cool!

Too Much of a Good Thing:
So at first glance at the R56 interior, the first thing I see is the three spoke steering wheel horn mimicked everywhere. It's not subtle, it's not clever, it's just looks like copies placed everywhere. Its the same "dark round object with a silver concave ring". Its in the steering wheel, the speedo, the tach, the four A/C vents, the speaker in the door, the door armrest pillar support, possibly the door lever, and the shift knob. Some might also include the auto a/c display too.

It seems that MINI had the steering wheel done for the R56 and decided to include it in the current MINIs. (The same goes for the OEM armrest btw.) They liked it so much that they just used it everywhere. I was hoping for a bit more thought into component design with a broad gesture to unify the interior. It's like a cruel nightmare where the steering wheel is your worst fear and it appears everywhere. just kidding! It's really not that bad, but I rather enjoyed noticing the effort and thought behind some of the little design cues. I'm sure there are many other places where that energy was spent, and I'm looking forward to finding those instances down the line.

See for your self and let me know what you think. Images from MINI2.com


MCSa as a Daily Driver

It has been about 15 months (well, actually 14mo, 22d but who's counting) of ownership of my MCSa. Everything has been acting as normal, knock on wood, and I couldn't be happier. I currently use my MINI as a weekend, pleasure vehicle while I rely on my '02 malibu for my grunt work. Now before you go off on my daily driver, let me just say that it gets the job done. I have owned it since new and had absolutely zero problems, which is more than most can say about any car. Even my MINI has been at the dealer for a couple of reasons albeit minor issues.But I can't help but wonder how much longer that streak will last. Eventually I will have to get another daily driver to get me to and from work. This is where my current MINI comes in. Probably the biggest reason why I chose the MCSa was because of my daily commute, about 20 miles each way local. Not to mention that I could use a lot of practice on a manual to get up to speed so to speak.So recently I had an opportunity take my MINI to work and park her in the "company garage" while my boss was on vacation. I jumped at the chance to drive my MCSa and I had a blast. I found myself looking forward to the drive in the mornings while before I couldn't get it over with fast enough. I was able to zip in and out of traffic with authority all while not being a idiot and attracting unwanted road rage or the common speed trap. It was all about driving smarter and getting out of the way of those city busses and road hazards. All in all, it was fun.The major reason why I don't drive my MINI into work everyday is because I would then have to park it on the street durring the day, and with all the rowdy school kids passing through, I would go nuts worring about any potential vandelism. No thanks.So, a few years from now I could definitely see myself driving my MINI on a daily basis if I could find a safe spot for her to park. Then its on to my next "pleasure" vehicle... a newer turbo MINI, I presume, a manual at that.