Last October we reported on the up and coming 50th Anniversary Edition MINI Coopers that were going to roll out to the public. You might remember that these special models came in two flavors: The Mayfair and Camden. No you aren’t dreaming, those are both affluent areas of Britain—more specifically London. MINI was to create 50 of each type, but one package seemed to catch the attention of the media more than the other. Why? Because it talks back to you.
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The feature—called Mission Control—gives feedback based on various driver inputs. Of course, the system has several characters all with British accents (I wonder if I can get Rowen Adkinson?). So the accent alone could be hours of entertainment here in the states, but MINI has taken it a bit further. Yes, the MINI camp has programmed many responses to situations like putting revs into a cold engine and hard acceleration or cornering (more on the sound bytes here); some examples would be “Not warmed up yet, I’ll let you know when I am” or “Let’s Mini!”
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Depending on you personality and love of British comedy, this feature could be either annoying or funny. Some good news in either case, the system can be switched off completely and it also tends to be less chatty five or so minutes into a journey. The last tidbit of information that might make you gasp is the price for the special “Camden” edition with Mission Control—$5,000. That is $5K added to the normal base price that is near $19,500. However, you don’t just get Mission Control, you also get your choice of three metallic paint colors, sport seats, special upholstery selections, dynamic traction control, xenon headlights, fog lights, grille badge, rear spoiler, upgraded Harman/Kardon audio system, special interior trim, 17-inch wheels and hood graphics.
Bottom line—it is hard to tell if it is worth the extra $5K for the Camden edition, but with only 50 being made, we are sure MINI can sell them. The question is, what will they pull out of there customization hat next?
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