Before we dive into this – yes, that is an odd headline to read, and no, it isn't a mistake. Next-gen Mini's will come with an English Bulldog included with the car.
Okay, it's a cartoon one, but don't let that put you off – that just means it can't widdle on the rug, or scare the postman to death each morning. What it can do, though, is direct users around their in-car infotainment system.
Think of it like a canine Siri for your car. Spike, the bulldog who has been a mascot for the Mini brand for decades, will take on a new role as the MINI Intelligent Personal Assistant. Although "various forms of support" are noted, there is no further detail on what those might be.
We do know that Spike will make his first appearance in the role at the Auto Shanghai international trade fair later this week. Based on the video footage shared by Mini, Spike can dance to your music, and go for a walk up and down your dashboard to stretch his legs. I can't see either of those being allowed in the final version, though.
It's an interesting concept. Okay, the implementation is kooky, and will likely feel a bit gimmicky, but the idea of a virtual assistant in a car is actually pretty great.
Modern vehicles are packed to the rafters with tech. That's a good thing, but can make for endless menu diving in search of what you're looking for. Adding a Siri-esque voice navigation engine could make it easier to find what you need, saving valuable time.
According to specialist motoring website, CarScoops, the tech is likely to debut in production later this year with the Mini Countryman, before being brought into the 2024 Mini Cooper and the 2025 Mini Aceman. There's no official confirmation for that yet, but it certainly seems plausible.