Getting intimate with Mini Connected

We've being living with our long-term Mini Countryman Cooper S All4 for a little over two months, but we haven't spent much time on one of the most often used – and complex – bits of the car.

Mini Connected is essentially a reworked version of BMW iDrive for the Mini line-up. The system uses the same architecture and a tweaked user interface to provide drivers with a range of entertainment, connectivity and infotainment functionalities. Some components from iDrive have carried over, most notably a multidirectional joystick in place of the standard knob found in most BMWs, while others have been completely redone for both the Mini aesthetic and the circular display mounted in the central speedometer.

Drivers can connect their iPhone to the system over either Bluetooth or USB to take phone calls, stream Internet radio stations, play locally-stored music or listen to Pandora, along with using their data connection to see timelines on Twitter, Facebook and customizable RSS feeds. Include Google search and send-to-car functionality, and it's a pretty compelling package. But it's pricy.

If you opt for Mini Connected by itself, it's a $2,000 option, with the navigation functionality commanding an additional $750. That's a lotta scratch, but after using the system day-to-day, we're just about sold.

There's plenty going on with Mini Connected, so rather than assault you with a few thousand words, hit the jump for a detailed video review of the system in action.

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