Even Mini won’t save the manuals


The next Mini Cooper will be automatic-only—irrespective of whether it’s powered by ICE or electricity.

Mini has just revealed the fifth generation of its three-door in EV form with up to 218 hp, but it will be the combustion powered version which packs the most punch. Sadly, the option of rowing your own gears will be gone, however.

“We won’t have a manual unfortunately,” Mini boss Stefanie Wurst told Top Gear.

Currently even the most potent 228-hp John Cooper Works can be specified with three pedals and a stick, but it seems like it will be the last time a six-speed manual features in the Mini line-up.

While the Mini Cooper E sits on a whole new platform, it’s believed that the gas-powered Cooper will be on an updated version of the existing chassis, suggesting that installing a stick isn’t a technical issue, rather it’s down to a lack of demand.

If even buyers of the go-kart like Mini Cooper aren’t into self-shifting then there seems little hope of saving the manual transmission from an untimely end.

In slightly more promising news Wurst suggested that Mini would be making a return to motorsports soon, although he has yet to decide on exactly what form that will take. “For me it’s just really difficult to judge right now because not all new forms of electric motorsport have been successful,” he said. “Which is a good platform for the future? We’ll see what evolves and plan to join something.”


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    I currently have a 2015 MINI Cooper S 6-speed. It is my second modern MINI, both ordered pre-launch, but it will be my last. (I have also owned a classic.) Totally reliable, it’s been a great car, but I’ve been rowing my own gears for over 50 years, and I don’t intend to stop now. I loathe automatics! Besides, their dealer network sucks–there is no dealer at all in my state of Arkansas. Nope, when it’s time to retire this car, I will devote all of my energy to my Porsches.

    I’m right there with you. I have never bought a car (for me) that didn’t have a clutch pedal. The next new daily driver might be a real problem— the first hurdle to be on my list is a manual transmission.

    I can’t say I’ve been a fan of the modern BMW-mini. They keep getting bigger. They are more maxi than mini these days.

    A manual is preferred here also, but… An automatic is somewhat nice in stop-and-go traffic. And not all automatics drive predictably, or in the way you would prefer they operate. Wife’s ’09 Venza has the Toyota 6-speed auto in it. Perhaps the most annoying transmission I’ve driven. You can’t tell what gear it’s in – dash display just says “D”. Downshifts when not needed. Doesn’t coast properly on gentle downgrades. When moving shifter to “M”, downshifts to 4th, not matter that it was in 6th to begin with. And even then, it still decides if it will let you stay in the gear you select after upshifting. Combined with throttle-by-wire makes for a hugely unengaging (pardon the pun) experience.
    Contrast that with the 46RE in the ’01 Durango. Shifts are almost completely predictable. Proper coasting on downgrades. AND, an actual dipstick to measure the fluid level! Wow!

    All that said, any of the 3 manuals here are still more fun to drive.

    Canceling manuals must be a largely US thing as clutch-equipped cars are still very popular in Europe.
    I haven’t had a manual since 2012. I bought a Challenger and the V6 is not available with a stick and the Hemi with a stick requires premium fuel (strangely the automatic does not).
    I really considered an R/T with a 6 speed when I bought my second Challenger this year but I can’t afford premium as well as the fuel economy hit, even though I feel like I’ve surrendered my man-card driving a V6 automatic.

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