MINI: It’s first software update

IMG_0683So the MINI has gone through it’s first software update. And by software update, I’m not talking about the head unit aka the entertainment system, iDrive, etc…

I’m talking the main computer of the car, the one that keeps the engine running smoothly, etc…

Why did it need to be updated?  Well after getting an oil change done, some MINIs get a Drivetrain Malfunction error.  It comes on and then it goes off if you restart the car.  Concerning, but it’s a well known issue with 2014+ MINIs.  So I called the dealer up, setup and appointment to get it checked out.  I already knew the resolution was more than likely a software update.

I’ve noticed some interesting things since the software update.  Firstly, definitely the car is running smoother.  Not just as a result of the oil change, which certainly did make the car run smoother after 15,000 km – and the oil change is included in the cost of the vehicle for 3 years or 55,000km.

The software update does seem to have made some other changes

  • I’m perceiving acceleration and such to be smoother.
  • The one that seems more interesting is the green counter, when in Green Mode. In short, it tracks how much further you’re going as a result of good driving habits.

I have never been able to get above, maybe 22km per tank of gas in terms of “gas saved”. Meaning, I went 22km further because of the way I’ve been driving.

Over the past two days of driving back and forth between KW and Toronto for work… It’s now reporting that I saved 100km on the current tank.  I might be accelerating a bit smoother, but I don’t think I’m being any more fuel efficient in my driving techniques than I had in my past when I squeezed out 22km.

So I am thinking that software update is either reporting the green count properly, where it wasn’t before.  Or a combination of that and the fact that software can potentially make cars more fuel efficient to a degree.

Even more interesting is that based on the expected range left in the car, and how much I’ve driven, it looks like I might squeeze out at least 725 km this tank. That would be a first. Better than my Prius in the past.

It’s healthy to be skeptical that software could make a car more fuel efficient.  Case in point: Volkswagen.  It does make me wonder – Why isn’t MINI installing this software update from the factory, or when a car arrives at a dealership just apply it?

It’ll be a few more tanks before I can really confirm that yeah, the software update is contributing to better mileage.  I can say that I have been impressed before the first oil change and this software update, and I will be very impressed if I am getting the mileage I am thinking I am getting.

Now here’s a thought: Imagine if they bricked my car during the update, by accident!

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