Pardon my dusty dash…but since I took delivery of my MINI Clubman in July 2013, one of my biggest annoyances has been MINI’s (or BMW’s) elimination of the coolant or oil temperature gauge, with an idiot light. It’s been said ad nauseam, but a physical gauge or readout is nice to have because it alerts of an issues that is impending…you see your coolant or oil temperature rising above where it normally hovers…so you can resolve it before it is an actual issue. Instead, an idiot light, just tells you when the issue has arrived. But that time, it’s possible damage has been done, and any fixes or repairs are going to end up costing even more.
That said, there are quite a few aftermarket options for regaining some of this lost functionality…physical analog gauges that can be wired, Bluetooth OBD2 readers that link to a smartphone app, ScanGauge readers. The problem is that most of them look like exactly what they are…a tacked on extra. The designer in me would go crazy looking at something like that every day.
Then I came across the P3Cars VIDI for MINI…a digital display OBD2 reader, that doubles as a code reader, and is actually designed to integrate and look like it belongs in a MINI. Of course, the design comes at a price, it’s considerably more expensive than a ScanGauge for essentially the same functionality. The price difference gets a bit closer when you consider having to purchase a mount/holder for the ScanGauge, but the look is completely worth it in my book.
I had been debating purchasing the P3Cars VIDI, and as a joke I told my parents it was on my Christmas list. Well, I received it for Christmas (thanks Mom & Dad!). I finally got around to getting it installed today, and I am incredibly pleased. The install took about 2-hours, and was pretty easy and straight forward. The most difficult part was tucking everything back into the dash, and securing it so there were not rattles. Of course that means my knuckles are a little torn up, but those are well worth the price of being sure there are no rattles.
I absolutely love the way the P3Cars VIDI looks in the MINI. I don’t think anyone would confuse it as being an OEM piece, but it certainly does not stick out like the rectangular ScanGauge is the round and (fairly) organic interior of the MINI. Even the orange LED matches the orange glow of the MINI’s gauges. The P3Cars VIDI allows you to toggle through displaying the following information…
- Coolant Temperature
- Oil Temperature
- Air Intake Temperature
- Ignition Timing
- Exhaust Gas Temperature
- Throttle Position
- 0-60 Performance Timer
- Battery Voltage
- Reads & Clears Codes
The display also doubles as a shift light, in that the display will flash when you get to an RPM you can program…say 6400 or 6500 RPM. No matter what display you are viewing, the display will flash and is visible in your peripheral vision (well, in mine at least).
There are a few other features such as peak recall, which will show the peak value of the selected display, or the record/playback feature which can show recent data on the selected display. If I’m honest, I don’t see myself using these much, but I can see where they would be handy at a track day or autocross.