Too cold for an R56?

It was 10f when I left for work this morning – and that’s basically where it stayed!
I took GBMINI to Sublime Restorations so I’m driving GBMINI#5 tonight … and when I started the car, she started fine but the clock was gone, and there was no trip information. Curiously the date was correct, while the time had vanished.
Anyway, note the exclamation mark above (the triangle to the left of 000.0 – not very visible in picture, sorry) … calling up “CHECK INFO” gave a display on the NAV screen:

And pressing the joystick (which I didn’t do but apparently GBMINI#5 got fed up while I was taking pictures, and “pressed” it for me) gives a description which very (un)helpfully says “turn off unnecessary electrical consumers … in case of repeat occurrence, have the system checked by your MINI dealer”:

Meanwhile, GPMINI – with it’s smaller than normal weight-saving battery – had no trouble with battery power, during the same cold, also un-driven due to our Florida trip. I hope this issue doesn’t recur …

Something else now … yesterday the R56 stalled three times when initially moving it; I assumed it was because the brakes & tires were frozen from sitting in the cold / wet for a week.
But this morning, it again stalled twice when I tried to go; I had to give it LOADS of revs to have enough power to move without stalling – and this was on a flat driveway with no overnight icing!
Apparently GBMINI#5 has no power when it’s cold; for the first few minutes you could feel that it wasn’t happy to run, sluggish and under-powered.

R56 storage

We all know our MINIs are small, so it’s hard to find places to store things … given that, you wonder why the R56 designers decided to make it HARDER! Maybe they’re hoping to trigger sales of the forthcoming Clubman 😉
So while the cupholders grew in size, the door pockets shrunk dramatically – and are harder to access due to the tiny gap between door panel and armrest/handle; more frustrating is the shrunken glove box – it’s apparently been designed to hold the MINI manuals, and nothing else!


I tried a couple of aftermarket glove box organizer “solutions” – many thanks Peter at MinSpeed – but really there’s no great solution, the R56 glove box simply isn’t suited as well as our favorite R50/53 GBO. Anyway, this is how GBMINI#5’s glovebox looks at present:

This shelf is sturdy and looks practical, but there’s no way to attach it to the glove box – it sits loose, resting on the MINI manuals. Maybe it’s because GBMINI#5 has so many manuals (with navigation, iPod, etc) … or maybe the designers simply forgot that people have stuff, even when they drive a MINI 🙂

R56 NAV/stereo: Sirius satellite radio

To round out my opinions on the stereo system of the R56 with navigation, here’s a quick look at Sirius satellite radio. The factory system is very expensive, especially compared with a sub-$100 standalone receiver that you could connect to the AUX input … but with the factory system it’s fully integrated to the car, there’s no additional antenna on the roof, and you get your first year of service included.

When you access satellite radio, the NAV screen shows a list of all channels – every one has a check mark next to it, assuming you’ve activated the receiver. Seems a bit odd to show that; why not simply omit channels that aren’t available! But anyway, you get a list of channels and you can rotate the joystick to listen to any one – with less than 200 channels, it’s much easier than the iPod! You can call up a “Details” display for the channel you’re listening to, which shows the artist/title info – but nothing else!

I’m sure this would look fine on the non-NAV R56, but it looks a bit empty here. It would have been better to integrate with the channel list, like the iPod interface does.

You can set up a list of 12 presets for your favourite Sirius channels, you can also access the list by Genre if you wish – but personally I find the 12 presets sufficient to cover all I need, making it extremely easy to access the music I want to listen to.

One interesting feature is that the satellite radio seems to be “instant on”; when the car turns on the music is immediately playing – there’s no delay for a couple of seconds while the receiver powers up and syncs to the channel. I’m guessing that the receiver powers up when the car is unlocked, giving it a headstart, but however it’s done, it’s a noticeable improvement over non-factory solutions (and yes, 2 or 3 seconds isn’t much of a delay, but it’s better if the delay is zero!)