I thought the mechanism on my MINI was the worst idea since the invention of the solar powered lighthouse.
However after a couple of months they have loosened up - the problem is also in the way they work.
My technique is to push the lever down, let the back move forward and then push the lever down a little more. A catch pops from under the seat and the whole thing slides forward.
(with very little effort)
If you pull the back to put them back it clicks into position before the seat slides back - so you need to pull the base until it is where it was and then pull the back.
Phew - didn't realise you needed a degree in astro physics to describe a seat mechanism.
It took a little practice as you want to push the seat - if you do this it doesnt work.
I have sat in the back a few times and been driven around - the only other problem is if the seats are wound down you can't get your feet under them which is uncomfortable.
I still thing a better design would have been easy - my in laws have a golf cabriolet and the whole seat back lifts up and forward. (so the seats don't need to slide)
Any one else had an unsuspecting passenger get clouted across the head?
They lean over, fiddling with the lever, trying to fathom why it hasn't worked. Then, they push the lever the wrong way, as if adjusting the back of the seat. The backrest suddenly releases, flying all the way forward with the force of a steam hammer.
May be this was designed-in by BMW/MINI to teach passengers not to repeat their errors?