21 July 2009

Mini-E #339 and the rain

My morning commute this morning was the first time I've had to take my #339 through a steady driving rain. She came through with flying colors (a "rainbow?" ;-)), naturally. Still, in the back of my mind, there's always that "Electricity-and-water-don't-mix" kinda thinking.

One of the "nifty" things I discovered about 339 in the rain, the "quirkiness" of some of the controls is actually quite cool.

Take the wipers for instance. (Please! [drum roll: Ba dum dum dummm...])

It's not as high-tech as the "rain-sensing" wipers found on the luxo-mobiles from BMW, Infinity, Lexus or Acura. But there are still some niceties.

To turn on the front wipers in intermittent mode, just push in the button at the tip of the stalk.

Raining harder and need the wipers on permanently? Flick the stalk up once and the front wipers go at normal pace. Need speed? Tap the stalk up one more time and they go super-fast.

Need the rear wipers? Turn the "ring" on the middle of the stalk once and the rear wiper goes on intermittently only.

But here's the "cool" thing: The "intermittent" mode for the front wipers is sorta smart. How?

Let's say you start out with the wipers in intermittent mode. (Like I did this morning, because pulling out of say, just because it's only "misty" but not really raining big drops of rain.) But then you need to "switch" to a steady-on state, just tap the stalk up and let go. The wipers will go at "normal" speed -- until the car comes to a stop! That's when the wipers go back to their intermittent beat. Start moving forward, and the wipers pick up the pace and go back to constant on!

OK, so you might not think it's cool or a big deal. And I have a sneaking suspicion that this is "normal" operation for all wipers on all Minis. (But I have no idea since this is my first Mini.)

Still, it's a big deal for me since I have to deal with stop-and-go traffic -- especially when it rains here in NYC. (It's like a little water on the road and everyone forgets how to drive. Sheeesh....)

It was (almost) like having "speed-sensitive" wipers... Come to a stop and the wipers automatically slow down because you don't need the wipers slapping away (and make all that "chattering" noise) at just a few drops of water on the windshield. But pick up speed and the water is hitting the window at a faster pace (and it becomes more important that you're actually able to see the road and the cars in front of you) and the wipers pick up the pace.

They won't "kick up" a notch to super-fast speed... and they won't slow down until you come to a complete stop. (At least, as far as I know.) But still, the 339's front wipers are still "smarter" than the ones on my 12-year old CR-V!

Now, if only the rear wiper was as smart... (I really hate it when after sitting still in rain, all that water collected on the top of 339's flat roof comes pouring down the back window the minute I tap the accelerator to go forward!!!) :-(


  1. I think the slowing wipers when the car stops is a BMW/Mini feature. It is great and makes the car seem intelligent.

  2. Yeah, dk... I know. Our fellow friend. "Magnum," busted my bubble on that too! :-(