Yep, the regular halogen lights are crap.
That's the price we all pay for the (probably a majority) Mini buyers who care much more about the styling of the headlights than if they work. Halogen H4s are quite enough to make good headlights, but not if the stylists say that there must be a clear, not lensed, 'glass' over the front.
I found the Osram Nightbreakers that NewMiniStuff and others sell to be a noticeable improvement over the standard bulbs - though sadly the biggest improvement was in main beam, when it's the poor dipped beam that I found the big problem. Which? magazine did a test and found the Bosch upgrade bulbs (Pure Light, something like that?) to have the best dipped beam but I found them a disappointment.
I've just changed to a xenon-equipped car and they are good, though not great - they have a very sloppy beam pattern that just sorta throws light around rather than aiming it accurately.