By on December 4, 2008

BMW’s second generation MINI convertible will offer an optional ‘Openometer.’ It records the time spent by the car driving around with the top down. Kind of an interior conversation piece, I guess, providing the same service a Dada coffee table book might in your swank bachelor – or bachelorette – pad. Number of G’s pulled. [ED: Number of birds pulled?] Top speed, and time spent there-– these interest me. Though they should be password protected. Instantly purgeable. Anything but open, really. Does anyone think an openometer is useful in anyway?

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33 Comments on “Obligatory… MINI Openometer. Huh?...”


  • avatar
    T

    You know, I dig it. What the hell, some automaker is adding quirky details to their cars? Go for it. its an option, and one I would take.

    Then again, I may just be quirky.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    That sounds like a terrible idea for BMW really.

    Do you really want a meter to remind people that they spent an extra few grand for a convertible and that after the novelty wears off they rarely drop the top?

    That’s like having a meter that tells people how much of their lives they’ve spent watching TV. If they knew, they’d probably puke and take a sledgehammer to their HD.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    NO.

    Absolutely worthless…

    Unless you’re into a pissing contest, then it may remotely have some use.

    A boost, oil pressure, naaaaaaawssss, tach would be less ricer than that, and more useful in the end.

  • avatar
    austinseven

    MORE stuff to go wrong and not get fixed,

  • avatar
    Pch101

    It’s another thing to break. The bill to repair it when it does break won’t be very MINI.

  • avatar
    DaPope

    A retractable roof Hobbs meter? How gimicky and tacky can you get? I would like to see it with a plastiwood trim for full effect. This eras pet rock, I guess.

    Last year I could see this being a great feature for the more-money-than-brains set, but not so much now. Unless it’s standard equipment, or part of a package, it’s going to be one of those rare things they talk about at Barrett-Jackson (I can only presume that Varsha will give it a moment – and am presuming that the Mini would be worthy of B-J time…)

  • avatar

    I’d love this in my S2000, for bragging rights as I drive with the top down as much as possible. :)

    And because it’s a Honda it wouldn’t break and could be resettable!

  • avatar
    Strippo

    The gimmick of pressuring owners to keep the top down as much as possible is part of the original marketing of the ragtop version, as I recall.

  • avatar
    austinseven

    “The bill to repair it when it does break won’t be very MINI.”

    Same as air bag and ABS lights. Half the world is driving around with them on.

  • avatar
    alex_rashev

    Awesome idea.

    Given that most convertibles can be driven through icy cold, light rain, and even snow in comfort, I see no reason why so many convertible owners spend 97% of their driving with the top on.

    But then again, those are the same people who’d much rather spend their weekend watching TV than hiking. So yeah, bring the openometer on.

    OTOH, a rev-matching second arrow for the tach would be a swell idea, too, but nobody wants to do it :(

  • avatar
    thalter

    I think it is cute, and fits in with the whole raison d’être of this car.

  • avatar
    Zarba

    Worthless. How about REAL gauges, y’know, for things like oil pressure, charging system, etc.

    BMW continues on its quest to make MINI a joke.

  • avatar
    Bancho

    No, but it doesn’t have to be useful. It’s a toy and seems right in character with the car. I wouldn’t check the option box but I won’t knock it either.

  • avatar
    NickR

    The stupidest ‘feature’ I have seen on a production automobile in a long time. I can only imagine the derision that would be heaped on the Solstice/Sky if GM was stunned enough to add this.

    The Mini has its virtues, no doubt…roomy relative to it’s external dimensions, balance of performace/mileage, etc. But the reality is it is also a gimmicky (the Flavor of Love speedo and now this), expensive, unreliable shitbox.

  • avatar
    matt

    alex_rashev:
    OTOH, a rev-matching second arrow for the tach would be a swell idea, too, but nobody wants to do it :(

    That is a brilliant idea! I’ve never even thought of that. Oh man, I would have so much fun with some arrows helping me rev match.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    WASTE – OF – SPACE

    Better to put a shaver holder and curling irons for those on the 405 every morning. Tools.

  • avatar
    Jason

    This says a lot about the people that drive MINIs, that the company even considers they have customers who would love this.

    Where is Top Gear’s Cock-O-Meter?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    How about REAL gauges

    As the car is built in England, the lack of a gauge that provides the expected remaining life of the electrical system is a serious oversight.

    Of course, you’ll know for sure that the problems have started when the gauge stops working.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    Awesome. I would love to see the MINI convertible with 0 on the openmeter.

  • avatar
    dgduris

    Hey. I like this.

    It can be a great conversation starter if it can easily be seen by both driver and passenger. I can hear it now…

    “Uh Oh, Honey. The meter says that we haven’t done nearly enough top-down driving. They make these things so that if you drive top up too much, the car will get depressed and stop running. We don’t want that to happen, do we? Here, let me help with that blouse…”

  • avatar
    AKM

    That sounds like a terrible idea for BMW really.

    Do you really want a meter to remind people that they spent an extra few grand for a convertible and that after the novelty wears off they rarely drop the top?

    That’s like having a meter that tells people how much of their lives they’ve spent watching TV. If they knew, they’d probably puke and take a sledgehammer to their HD.

    Most videogames do that…and yes, the result is scary…

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Where is Top Gear’s Cock-O-Meter?

    On a Mini Convertible?! The Cock-O-Meter snapped the needle passing the zero mark.

    (as someone who would actually buy a New Beetle Convertible Triple White, I think I’m allowed to say this without scorn)

  • avatar
    MRL325i

    The one on my e30 would read 100% open. My watch works fine for that, too.

  • avatar
    dgduris

    Of course, the other great thing will be the obligatory campaign for Mini Cabriolet owners to send in pics of their meters. Followed by some crazy claim.

    All good fun and pretty creative, say I.

  • avatar
    GiddyHitch

    I would have never expected to see this amount of vitriol aimed at a cheeky little feature offered on a cheeky little car. This is perfectly fitting with the mission and image of the car, and I would like to commend Mini’s German owners for exhibiting a sense of humor. This site and its readers often deride automobiles for being appliances in terms of styling or driving dynamics, but apparently for some, this is exactly what they are looking for in terms of cockpit gauging. And really, what’s the harm in giving owners some positive feedback to use their cars as the design intended?

    The only issue I have with it is that it apparently tops out at 50 hours. Personally, I would have the readout go to 100 hours and enable the needle to spin 360 deg like a clock. Inset in the gauge would be a digital N x 100 hour readout.

    So is it ‘Openmeter’ (as stated in the title) or ‘Openometer’ (as stated in the text)? Vertometer? Aeolometer?

  • avatar
    Areitu

    Cute feature. I’d like if it I were:
    a) My sister
    b) Single female
    c) Flamboyant male
    d) Older female who likes small convertibles

    Which all seem to be Mini’s target audience.

    Unlike the Big 2.Something, Mini isn’t likely to this single quirky option to try and sell the rest of the car (ie. the Volt’s “unique” window sills, the RamBox, etc)

    GiddyHitch :
    December 4th, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    So is it ‘Openmeter’ (as stated in the title) or ‘Openometer’ (as stated in the text)? Vertometer? Aeolometer?

    Aetherometer

  • avatar
    autonut

    It is OK idea, but after the ergonomics issues are ironed out. Compare MINI interior to FIAT 500 is like bachelor’s pad clusterfuck to nun’s dormitory.

  • avatar
    mcs

    It could be a joke. I think they’ve done it before by handing out “alternative” labels to stick on the center console toggle switches. Lots of other cars have equally useless gauges like minivans with tachometers and the speedometer in the Smart ForTwo.

    Some vehicles now have soft gauges so that you can have the gauge measure pretty much what you want. I think we’ll see more of that along with being able to have predefined configurations for different types of driving. For example different configurations for performance driving vs. fuel economy.

  • avatar

    I think its cute

    As a convertible owner, I cherished every moment I had with my drop top Z4 (until my wonderful son came along and out went the Bimmer and Porsche and in came the Civic SI Sedan).

    This is the kind of thing that would remind you WHY you got a convertible – i think its a damned hell ass shame to see people driving around with the top up and AC on during absolutely beautiful days – why get a convertible in the first place?

    I say, if you wanna pay for it – go for it. I personally wouldn’t waste my money, but if it came with used car I wouldn’t turn it down – and you know the broads will love it.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I would have never expected to see this amount of vitriol aimed at a cheeky little feature offered on a cheeky little car

    There’s cheeky, and then there’s stupid.

    The toggle switches and chronometer-speedo are cheeky. The styling is cheeky. Even the stupid Mini-logo HVAC controls are cheeky. The epitome of cheek is the flower-holder on the New Beetle.

    This is not cheeky. It’s not even kitschy. Its fundamental uselessness approaches chindogu status.

    This is the kind of thing that would remind you WHY you got a convertible – i think its a damned hell ass shame to see people driving around with the top up and AC on during absolutely beautiful days – why get a convertible in the first place?

    This, however, is true. I’m far too tall to fit in any moderately-priced convertible, too practical to suffer the warranty abuse of a new or used European (or a PT), too parental for a Mustang and, well, under 40 for a Camry Solara.

    I’d give a kidney to drive a Miata, and it hurts to see people like my neighbour who drive them with the top up. I’d be cranking the floor heat and going top down as long as it wasn’t actively pouring rain.

  • avatar
    alex_rashev

    Openometer is just as useful as an MPG gauge (you can measure efficiency better using odometer and gas receipts), an oil pressure gauge (all you care about is that it’s above the “Min” mark), or a tach on an automatic car (do you really care about RPM’s?). In other words, OF COURSE it’s not necessary. Heck, if not for speed limits, all you’d ever need to drive would be 10 or so idiot lights, just in case something goes wrong.

    I’d say, for a modern car, it’s a more useful piece than an oil pressure gauge or a voltmeter. It actually provides you with a real statistical measurement of you using the main feature of the car (DUH). Prius drivers get an MPG gauge, so why should convertible drivers not get an openometer?

    The next thing would be to dispense with some gauges and instead rely on other senses (sound and touch, mostly) to convey information. The rev limit beeper on the rotor-motor cars is a great example of that – no need to even look at the tach.

  • avatar
    bubbagump

    Hmm, did BMW just jump the shark?

  • avatar
    davejay

    Girlfriends, my wife, my *mom* — all have talked me out of buying a convertible using the argument “you’ll almost never put the top down anyway”, the kind of argument that also works for convincing someone not to buy optional four-wheel-drive. So at least this meter can provide ammunition against — or confirmation of — that sentiment.

    But is that useful? Er, no, because the convertible would have had to be purchased in the first place. Perhaps it would help convince people to not buy a convertible next time after they see how rarely they drop the top.


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