GRR

The next Mini will come with a digital pet dog

12th April 2023
James Brodie

Will our car journeys in the future be any faster? Will they be less stressful with more automation? Will they be better for the environment, thanks to electrification? 

These are the big automotive questions of our times, and while MINI is among the myriad number of big brands trying to answer them, it’s taken it upon itself to do some extracurricular activities that might mean our journeys are, perhaps, a little less lonely.

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Meet Spike or rather, get reacquainted with him for the digital age. Apparently, this canine friend has been a part of Mini folklore since the brand’s reinvention under BMW in 2001, though this writer at least is completely befuddled by this four legged revelation. 

If like me, you’ve never heard of Spike before, Mini has at least tried to give the character a bit of pedigree, highlighting how the bulldog made for the perfect mascot for the relaunched Mini range 22 years ago (and that’s seriously getting on in dog years). A bit of research reveals how Spike was the star of many US-market Mini television adverts back in the day, and to coincide with marketing for the soon-to-depart third-generation model, Mini sold a soft toy Spike the dog as one of its lifestyle accessories. 

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Part Microsoft Clippy, part Tamogochi, the reborn, digital Spike will be presented next week at the Shanghai Motor Show, as a new feature on the Mini Aceman concept. Entering a new ‘Spike mode’ on the concept car’s circular infotainment screen will bring the character to life.

Spike’s first mission is to guide show attendees on the Mini stand around the new operating concept the brand has developed. This will be the basis of the infotainment coming in the production version of the Aceman, but also the next Mini Cooper hatchback and the new Countryman SUV. 

As for Spike himself, we’ll find out more about what he’ll be able to do in the new trio of cars later in 2023.

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