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Jun 9, 2021
Who said MINI drivers don’t go sporty? ;)
As bitty and inconspicuous as they may seem, these British cars with engines eager to be revved are in fact nimble beasts, doing just fine at highway speeds. And what better way to magnify their race-car potential than with a MINI Cooper digital speedo?
If you’re lucky enough to have it, you must feel the excitement it puts into you when entering the most dynamic mode. If you didn’t have the privilege yet, nothing’s lost! The upgrade is ready and waiting.
However, an acceleration gauge and rev counter are not all this cluster can please your eyes with. From changing the display on each driving mode, through showing your car in real time, up to giving you the comfort of driver assistance information – MINI Cooper speedo makes the absolute most of your small economy vehicle. And here we’ll uncover its every power.
To put it briefly, MINI Cooper speedometer is an instrument panel displaying gauges in real time – be it speed, rev counter, fuel or fuel temperature. Its look, functions and location have changed over the years though, as MINI transformed from the original rally car into a driver focused long-distance cruiser (with a sporty sentiment).
Historically, the MINI Cooper instrument cluster was mounted in the center of the dash to give both the driver and the co-pilot equal access to keeping tabs on vehicle speed, fuel level and warning lights.... Which after a few decades stopped being useful and was kept simply as a brand hallmark.
As the golden age of MINI winning Monte Carlo Rallies passed by, and it was the single driver's interests that became the primary focus of the MINI manufacturer, the digital speedo era dawned. At that point, the digitized cluster found its new place behind the wheel, while the center spot has been taken over by the equally digital infotainment display.
The forms and materials of the MINI Cooper speedo underwent multiple tweaks over the years, too. The original analogue tin-cased speedo was replaced by a cluster mounted in a solid waterproof, and much more robust, billet case with an OLED panel, to finally reach its peak in partially digital form.
The 2020 MINI Cooper speedo may be a 5” LCD rectangle flanked by two analogue gauges, but it definitely keeps the unique MINI looks in spirit!
It was planned for years that the digitized MINI Cooper speedo would appear later in the life-cycle of the F56 Cooper SE, and so it did. The digital MINI Cooper gauge cluster was first found on a 2020 all electric MINI Cooper SE, F56 followed by every MINI model produced onward.
Comparing the original analogue speedo with the digital one, you can already see the abundance of information displayed, which surprisingly doesn’t take away from the clarity of the layout. The display is in fact incredibly neat and easy to digest quickly, with its large rev counter and fuel gauge encircling the center portion of the MINI Cooper speedo. It’s in there you see the speedometer, navigation instructions and your car displayed in real time, with data such as the odometer, engine temperature, average speed, total mileage made, outside temperature, date, time, opened doors, unfastened seat belts, hazards, traction control info etc. Or in all electric vehicles – information about the remaining range or battery charge.
What's more, this multifunctional instrument panel shows information from the driver assistance systems, including the nearest gas stations, speed limits, music tracks you’re toggling though and so on. It might seem like a whole heap, but any doubts stop once you actually see it for yourself.
Perhaps the most fun part about the digital cluster is the layout change it undergoes after each drive mode shift.
The MINI Cooper gauge cluster offers 3 displays – an eco style for Green mode, a rather usual and calm display for Mid mode, and slightly more aggressive look in Sport Mode – each, amplifying your poles apart driving styles.
And if you feel in the mood for a hard thump on a highway, the latter in particular makes you think that while your MINI may not be an M5 Competition, it definitely has a potential to feel like one… nearly ;)
The entire set up part lies on the side of your MINI Connected system. So if you want to play with your MINI Cooper digital speedometer settings, you need to enter your ‘My MINI’ menu first.
Here’s how to adjust a speedometer on a MINI Cooper:
Now, even though your settings are active, not all information will be displayed on the MINI Cooper gauge cluster at once due to space constraints. To be more specific, in the central bottom part you’ll get to see only two pieces of car information at a time, such as average speed and odometer or the current engine temperature. In order to cycle through more information, use the BC button on the end of the left turn indicator.
And if you’ve been wondering where the button for a mileage reset is, it’s nicely hidden on top of the MINI Cooper speedo.
Switching between 3 basic sport modes – Green mode, Mid mode and Sport mode – leads to an automatic MINI Cooper speedometer color change, in sequence from green, through white to red. To switch between them easily, you can use the driving dynamic selector button on the console panel.
Slight speed misreadings are something you must be familiar with, whether from your own experience or your fellow colleagues. Not to diminish your driving comfort issue, but this issue is widely spread on multiple car brands, including Honda, Doge, Audi or Volvo, and is in fact established as a legislated error worldwide.
To brief you on this ‘issue’, all speedos are made to over-read your actual speed to compensate for different wheels and tire combinations. As you can probably guess, the speed of the point farthest from the center of the wheel will differ after replacing your old 15’’ for new 18’’ wheels, and regardless, will always be impossible to read when cornering. Your car uses numerous sensors to determine speed, however, because this parameter depends on many factors – the value shown on your MINI Cooper speedo is as accurate as it can be.
Due to all the variables, clusters are calibrated for a 10% margin of the speedo error, so for instance, when going 70 mph your speedo reading can reach up to 77 mph. This is obviously an extreme case, as speedos usually hold a 3-5% discrepancy in speed reading, but if it does happen to you, remember it’s a standard margin required as a precaution. The indicated reading, however, must never be less than the actual speed, to avoid an inadvertent speed caused by an incorrect speedometer reading.
What you may have also come across is that the odometer and OBD readings are more accurate than the MINI Cooper speedo. That’s because they are directly linked into MINI’s CANBUS system which stores the actual ‘raw’ information from different sensors around the car. So, when the speed signal from the vehicle’s ABS comes out of the ABS modulator ECU, it is then processed by the MINI Cooper speedo system, which makes all necessary calculations to run at the legislative tolerances required for speedometers.
Since the 10% margin error in speed reading is not defective, MINI Cooper speedometer calibration is not possible. What you may do though is compare your actual speed with the one shown by the speedo while performing various speed tests with your GPS turned on. The divergence of GPS/speedo readings should always hold at the same percentage – i.e 20 mph indicated is 18.4 in GPS, 40 mph indicated is 36.8 mph, etc. This way you can easily calculate your actual speed at a glance.
Well, if you don’t have it from the factory, your correct answer would be from BimmerTech ;)
Our MINI Cooper digital speedometer upgrade consists entirely out of genuine MINI parts and was made to fit any 2013 + MINIs with the NBT / NBT Evo / ENTRYNAV head units, as well as fiber optic wiring. Looking at the models, that would cover MINI Countryman F60, MINI Cooper S F57, MINI Cooper S F56, MINI Cooper S F55 and MINI Clubman F54.
To see if you’re compatible with the MINI Cooper speedo upgrade, decode your VIN on this website.
MINI Cooper speedometer replacement, with its fully plug & play procedure, can be a joy for an avid DIY-er. But before you decide to jump in the car to test out its multiple gauges, keep in mind it also requires some coding. That’s why it’s better to plan the installation in your free time, when you’ll also have 30 spare minutes for the remote coding session. The coding is on our side though, so no need to be tech savvy!
Coming back to the installation, first pulling out the steering wheel as much as you can will be necessary to reach your old cluster. Once you do it, you’ll need to remove the screws and take the stock cluster out, taking care of the connections. Next step is to plug and fit in the new MINI Cooper digital speedometer, putting the screws into place. Now, let our technician code the new MINI Cooper speedo for you and that would be it!
Did you find this piece informative? If you feel we didn’t touch an essential MINI Cooper speedo topic, let us down below in the comment section :) We’re open to your ideas!
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