The MCS Automatic Debuts

The MCSa has made it's official debut (apparently the LA show doesn't count to MINI's PR office) and we've got tons of information to share including performance and fuel economy figures (via MINIUSA PR):

Starting in late January 2005, the MINI Cooper S and MINI Cooper S Convertible will be available for the first time with MINI's new six-speed automatic transmission giving these powerful performers even greater agility and driving pleasure. Clearly, this choice of automatic transmission is particularly appealing to the customer who appreciates a sporting and dynamic style of motoring, but does not wish to forego the superior comfort of a modern automatic transmission in his – or her – MINI. The light and compact automatic transmission complete with a hydraulic torque converter, adaptive management and Steptronic combines an extremely quick gearshift with a soft and smooth gear shifting process, a quick response, and superior fuel economy.

Modern Transmission Technology for Even More Fun.
Looking at performance, the automatic transmission version does not lag behind the manual gearbox car in any respect. So for that reason alone, particularly the customer looking for dynamic driving pleasure combined with all the comfort of a state-of-the-art automatic transmission will appreciate this modern technology with its many benefits.

Indeed, the extremely fast gearshift in just 1/4 second gives the driver of the MINI Cooper S even more sporting performance – if that is possible at all – than the manual gearbox version. Simply because even an experienced motorist needs a lot more time to shift gears despite the very smooth manual gearbox with its extra-short shift travel. In practice, therefore, the new transmission enhances typical MINI qualities such as driving fun and agility to a standard even higher than before.

Not only superior in performance, but also much more compact and lighter than a conventional five-speed automatic transmission despite its six gears, the new transmission is designed for maximum agility on the road. Precisely this is why the most powerful MINI reaches its top speed of 220km/h (136mph) (MINI Cooper S Convertible: 215km/h or 133mph) in fifth gear. With its extra-long transmission ratio, in turn, sixth gear reduces both engine speed and fuel consumption.

More Functions, Greater Intelligence.
Featuring an innovative transmission concept based on the Lepelletier principle, the six gears require far fewer shift units and only one free-wheel. While a conventional five-speed automatic transmission has 8 clutch elements and four free-wheels, the new transmission needs only five clutches and one free-wheel to shift the six forward gears and the reverse gear. The only free-wheel is on first gear, serving to take the load off the drivetrain in overrun. Whenever Steptronic is active, the free-wheel remains neutral in order to capitalise on the brake power of the engine when shifting back.

Highly Flexible Electronic Command Centre.
Integrated in the transmission, the electrohydraulic control unit, together with its command centre, ensures superior driving comfort and maximum agility even under full load, with an extremely fast gearshift and a “soft” shift process. And since the adaptive transmission control communicates with other control units via the bus system, it is able to adjust gearshift programs individually to driving conditions and the driver's style of motoring.

Extra Comfort or More Dynamic?
One of the major benefits of the new automatic transmission is its versatility: The driver has the choice of four different gearshift modes, shifting gears either in a more comfortable style also in the interest of superior fuel economy or in a more sporting and dynamic process, whatever he or she prefers. And in either case the gearshift is either automatic or manual, again as the driver wishes.

The driver therefore decides whether to leave things to the automatic transmission or whether to activate Steptronic and shift gears himself by briefly touching the gearshift paddles at the back of the steering wheel. In the process he can leave both hands on the steering wheel, shifting gears via the paddles like a driver in Formula 1. During the gearshift process he can keep his foot on the accelerator, since the electronic control unit prevents any mistakes and shifts to the correct gear faster than even a racing driver. And since the electronic command centre consistently monitors driving conditions (eg whether travelling uphill/downhill, with DSC activated or not), it automatically adjusts gearshifts to current requirements. A display in the central instrument shows the driver at all times which driving program and which gear are currently in mesh.

Automatic Mode with Optional Manual Gearshift.
The D-mode is a perfect combination of motoring comfort and sporting performance on superior fuel economy. The transmission control unit selects gears fully automatically as a function of driving conditions. And should the driver wish to take over, all he has to do is press the gearshift paddles in order to activate Steptronic. So that then he decides when to shift up or down.

Sporting Concept for the Particularly Ambitious Driver.
In the S-mode activated by moving the selector lever to the right, the transmission control unit chooses a particularly sporting automatic gearshift with extremely short gearshift times in the interest of maximum agility. Here again, the driver can change directly from this program to the Steptronic mode, subsequently shifting gears manually as long as he wishes.

Regardless of how often he shifts gears and how much time there is between gearshifts, the driver alone determines the gearshift points via the paddles or the selector lever, thus getting the most out of this compact driving machine in terms of superior dynamics and agility. The only function of the electronic control unit in this case is to prevent the engine from over-revving.

Power Pack for Dynamic Performance.
Displacing 1.6 litres, the four-cylinder power unit featuring a mechanically driven compressor and an intercooler has offered maximum output of 125 kW/170 bhp at 6,000 rpm in both top versions of the MINI ever since last summer. The compact power unit harmonises perfectly with the automatic transmission, the powerful muscle of this four-valve athlete providing an ideal match for the automatic gearshift. For no less than 80 per cent of the engine's maximum torque of 220 Nm or 162 lb-ft is available consistently between 2,000 and 6,500 rpm.

To transmit the unique sound of the engine and compressor, the acoustic “bridges” leading to the passenger compartment and exhaust system have been designed especially for this version of the car. Precisely this puts the emphasis on that athletic sound whenever the driver uses the power and performance of his muscular MINI.

Sporting, Comfortable and Economical All in One.
In terms of performance, the new automatic transmission models are almost exactly as dynamic as the manual-gearbox MINI Cooper S. Benefitting from a smooth flow of power from the transversely mounted front-wheel-drive engine not requiring a drive shaft, this high-performance MINI with its automatic transmission combines a most direct flow of power with optimum response. And guaranteeing exactly the right engine speed at any road speed, the automatic transmission ensures maximum thrust whenever required.

Carefully matched to the engine, the hydraulic torque converter enables the driver to accelerate dynamically with maximum power, while keeping the whole process soft and smooth. And with the converter lock-up clutch closing at just 1,800 rpm, the new top model in the MINI range is particularly responsive to the gas paddle. This is attributable above all at low speeds to the torque-boosting effect of the torque converter, developing torque of up to 6,000 Nm on each wheel.

Fuel consumption of the MINI Cooper S and MINI Cooper S Convertible with automatic transmission in the composite EU cycle is just 9.2 and, respectively, 9.0 litres/100 km (30.7/31.4 mpg Imp).

Apart from Japan, the USA is the most important sales market for the automatic transmission MINI – which explains why, following its world debut in Detroit, the MINI Cooper S with this new automatic transmission will be available in both the USA and Japan as of late February 2005. The market launch in Europe and the other MINI countries, in turn, will be in late February. And the MINI Cooper S Convertible with this agile transmission will be entering the market in good time for the new open-air season in March.

A couple of quick answers for questions that will come up: No, the limited slip differential will not be available on the MCS auto. Yes there will be an auto specific JCW Kit available for the MCS auto by the late spring of 2005.

  • Bruce

    “…automatic transmission is particularly appealing to the customer who appreciates a sporting and dynamic style of motoring, but does not wish to forego the superior comfort of a modern automatic transmission in his – or her – MINI…”

    Hrummph! More like the customer who is too lazy to shift gears. (Or even learn how to)

    Well, it's not the end of the world, but does bring the top-of-the-line sporting MINI down to the least skilled driver: those who only know how to drive automatics.

  • DCE

    The description sounds very appealing. It makes it sound like an even more sophisticated version of the SMG. Too bad it isn't.

    I suspect I will now see even more clueless MINI drivers.

  • honestly guys – get over yourselves.

    i for one cannot wait for my mcs automatic to arrive in nyc where the day to day traffic averages 20 mph.

    please – enough of this babyish thrashing of the automatic!

  • dls

    It seems that the nag Bruce is beating died a while back. It's here. Get over it. Just hope that someday you don't end up physically incapable of driving your manual MCS. And if you truly want to be a legitimate elitist, get yourself a ferrari or something…

    Seriously, there's no need to judge based on one's transmission! Where's the MINI love?

  • catalyst

    while automatic is convenient, easy to use and a useful tool in urban areas, but don't kid yourself about its sporting pedigree.

    how many photography hobbyists through professionals do you see shooting their work with a fully automatic point and shoot camera that features only an on/off control and shutter release?

    sure an automatic MINI has its place. just don't confuse its sporting potential with a manual MINI.

    flame away. . .

  • Edge

    Manual transmission – active driver Auto transmission – passive driver

    It's that simple – disabilities notwithstanding.

    I have to agree with Bruce & DCE. This is pure catering to a lazy market… the market that doesn't want to bother to learn to drive a manual. My guess on the % of people who will buy the auto solely because of stop-and-go traffic concerns? (i.e. yet still know how to drive manual)… 10%. And that's a very optimistic #, in my opinion.

    I liken this phenomenon in many ways to those who buy SUVs and have absolutely no need for them – which is about 90% too, IMO.


  • MrV

    Is it possible to do a search for posts made by a certain person? Cause I don't feel like typing it all again for the people who diss the automatic.

    How about some actual disussion of the information, both positives and negatives of the information here.

    I for one continue to be impressed with the fact that Mini has gone the extra mile with this tranny arrangement. They could have thrown any box in it and sold a million. They didn't have to offer steptronic or adaptive. No, it's not the SMG, but life's a compromise and the SMG cost would be prohibitive to some.

  • Vic

    Reading Bruce's comments reminds me of the guy who went to see his neighbor's brand new born puppies.

    “What kinda dogs are they?” he asked. “Those are MINI gear shifters” was the reply.

    A couple of weeks later, the neighbor returned to see the pups and said, “Show me those MINI gear shifters.”

    The neighbor said “You mean you want to see those MINI automatics” was the reply.

    “Automatics – what happened, I thought they were gear shifters?” the suprised man said.

    “Well, they were gearshifters until they opened their eyes!” was the reply.

    Think about it…..

  • MrV – I agree. I had thought we had gotten beyond the auto = good / auto = bad argument.

    Personally I'm no lover of automatic transmissions either… but there are a few out there that really truly need this option due to a bad commute or a physical disability. Furthermore MINI is in the business of making money and as the current car gets older sales will most likely slow just a bit. This will provide a nice boost to their bottom line. Hey it's a better solution than what Porsche did with the Cayenne.

    I think what will make most of the anti-automatic people livid is when they see a 16 year old girl driving an auto MCS while drinking coffee and talking on the phone. I mean that let's be honest… no one wants to see that.

  • MrV

    🙂 That's true Gabe. But I am torn between the choice of seeing that and seeing the same driver, drinking the same coffee, talking on the same phone, but driving a Chevy Suburban.

  • i don't know what you guys are grumping about… any good looking girl driving any mini is fine by me ; )

  • BadEss

    Let's face it. This is a hi- tech automatic. The higest. Not that I would ever give up my Getrag.

  • TJKonarski

    … and putting on her make-up.

  • Nicholas P

    This isn't the highest-tech automatic. This is no SMG we're talking about…

  • Nicholas P

    This isn't the highest-tech automatic. This is no SMG we're talking about…in fact, it's not even a CVT…it's a steptronic with paddle shifters…

  • JW

    “Indeed, the extremely fast gearshift in just 1/4 second gives the driver of the MINI Cooper S even more sporting performance – if that is possible at all – than the manual gearbox version.”

    If this is true, then why does the official 2005 MINI spec sheet indicate better acceleration and performance for the manual Cooper S than the automatic? The auto may shift a tiny bit faster, but it's less sporting…

    Anyone with an automatic is just a passenger with a steering wheel.

  • JiminVirginia

    I would never order an automatic–my 2005 MCS with LSD is about to be built with the 6-speed–but I'm glad MINI is offering the automatic, since my sister or girlfriend now can drive one. Sounds like a good unit.

  • Nick

    Believe it or not: 2/3 of the Corvettes sold are AUTOMATICS! This of course excludes the “sporty” Z06! Auto vs manual–relax. Allow for choices. I can almost remember when one didn't have a choice: manual was the only option in most cars. Automatics then were more expensive. I paid $1,000 more for a manual transmission in my now gone –but not forgotten– 2001 Corvette. Diversity is healthy. Nick

  • RB

    Hey Schumacher, Loeb…..did ya hear all this, your just a bunch a dummies along for the ride…..Amazing comments.

  • FYI – F1 and WRC cars use semi-automatic transmissions… totally different beasts than the typical automatic. The only thing close are things like BMW's SMG or Ferrari's F1 Paddle shifter.

  • Nathan

    It's sad to see so many stuffy old people stuck in the past. Someday, this discussion will be invalid. By the way, if you really want to be a “snobby” sports car driver buy something more expensive. To each their own. Peace.

  • well put nathan. good lord what a bunch of babies!

  • Eric

    What about people who share their MINI with another driver who doesn't drive standard but still wants a MINI because they have good taste?

    And any semi-auto with sequential gears or paddle-shifters is a different beast than a regular auto. It provides a whole new driving experience than both the standand and regular auto transmissions and can be appealing in that manner.

    People with heavy traffic issues also have a valid reason for not wanting a standard.

    It is funny how the anti-auto crowd is trying to be “elitist” with a $20k automobile?! Yeesh… As long as MINI offers a standard transmission, there really should be any complaining…

  • Eric

    edit: that is, “shouldN'T be any complaining.” Hee-hee…sorry.

  • Just to clear this up. This transmission is just a regular automatic with overiding manual controls. And while it may be a good automatic, it's inherently different than the manual based SMG or Ferrari's F1 paddle shifter (or even VWs DSG).


    I dont know about anyone else, but Im really getting sick of this BS. So now everytime there is an article about the auto MCS, this argument is going to ensue. If you dont like the car, you dont have to drive it. Get over yourself.

  • MrV

    Thanks Gabe. I would be interested in comments as to why this is a “good automatic”. I'm not interested in the pros and cons of an automatic v. manual.

    I AM interested in the pros and cons of this particular automatic. To read the PR it does indeed appear to be a good auto (but I don't know that much about autos having driven a standard my whole life). Of course I bear in mind that it is a PR, not an objective review.

    I really can't wait to hear a review of an actual drive in this thing. I bought a MCSa sight unseen and I am curious / nervous about what I bought.

    Mr V

  • Patrick

    Some people want MINI to remain an exclusive brand, and by making an auto available, this makes the car more appealing to a larger group. the way i see it, the more minis the better. better an auto mini than an Xterra or MDX. i hate those big beastly cars. and by the description of the auto trans unit, it looks really good! not your average slush box.

  • RB

    Gabe…..I know all that….just commenting on the whole…oh my gawd no shift lever…it cant be real driving BS…

  • Mark S.

    I would just like to say “Thank you” to all the automatic bashers. You have made me feel like a useless, lazy idiot because I drive a CVT Cooper instead of the 5-speed version. Thanks again…

  • palmer

    the auto is going to be great for us living in the city. my six speed is great, but sometimes i would like a break from all the 1, 2 shifts on North avenue, at 1PM on a saturday.

    for those geeks in the burbs, assuming automatics mean laziness, please stay in the burbs, park in you gigantic parking lots and look for dates on the internet.

  • MCSC

    What a touchy subject! 28 posts in less than ten hours…Surely this is the most controversial issue in MINI history.

  • RHT3

    NOTHING beats an auto in stop-and-go traffic, typical of most commutes. Not my MCS 6-speed, not my motorcycle. NOTHING.

    Still, personal preference. . .

  • RB – i guess that was more for the folks that aren't familiar with the difference. I figured you knew.

  • Ken

    Ever get stuck in a loooong uphill stop-n-go traffic? I wished I had an automtic then!


    The one thing I am waiting to find out is, can you hold this transmission in any gear regardless of whether you hit the red line or not.

    All the late model BMWs I have driven with the Steptronic type of transmission would shift up if you hit the red line whether you wanted to or not.

  • Edge

    Hey RHT3,

    I thought of something that beats autos in stop-and-go traffic. Three things actually.

    1) Bus 2) Taxi 3) Chauffeur

    (bet you didn't expect #3 heh)

    Just trying to inject some humor here, even though I'm an “anti-Auto” guy. 🙂


    P.S. #4 – subway/train… but doesn't count because it doesn't take you on the same road. #s 1, 2 & 3 do.

  • David

    Well, the anti-auto debate, once again. Deja vu? I resigned myself fairly quickly to the the idea of an auto MCS, knowing it was only a matter of time before it happened. I still mourn the idea of an auto JCW MCS, however. It seems that even the sportiest, true-driver-experience setup isn't sacred.

    BMW is out to make profit, and it seems the “options” route is the one they decided to take for it. Why else is everything available a la carte? Think about it… the auto MCS is NOT about selling more MCSs. The Oxford plant is already at or very near capacity and the demand is still larger than supply. No, this is about siphoning the extra $1300 from those who sat on the fence until the auto MCS came out. Demand will rise further over supply and the appropriate price gouging and corporate price increases will ensue. I'll be placing my manual MCS order soon. Good luck to those buying '06 models. Start saving.

  • Hmm.. did I see something in that press release that says the MCS Auto is 1/4 sec. faster to 60mph? 🙂

  • Cooper Climax

    Interestingly I watched a show by Car & Driver last night evaluating the Audi TT using the same Auto. They where most impressed and wondered why anyone would want a manual after trying it. They thought it would be the wave of the future. I have driven mainly manual for at least 40 years on road and racing. I was however going to get the MCS auto for my wife as she will not touch a manual. and from what I hear may well become a convert. Lets do a test on track with both cars.

  • Kurt – actually the MCS auto is .6 seconds slower than the manual:

  • DCE

    An adjustment to my earlier post. When I used the phrase “clueless” I wasn't referring specifically to auto tranny users. There are many good cars with autos and many reasons to have one. In fact, I've alternated between manuals and autos for years now. What I was referring to was — oh am I going to catch it now — the apparent difference between auto Cooper drivers and MCS drivers. MCS drivers seem to be more aware of the car, the tradition, the act of acknowledging other MINIs on the road. Cooper drivers, at least here in SoCal, seem pretty unaware of any of this. Perhaps because so many are people who just thought it was a “cute” car and let it go at that. There's nothing wrong with that, I mean it IS a cute car, but it certainly precludes being a real enthusiast. That's what I meant by “clueless”. Of course, one can drive an auto and still be an enthusiast, just less likely.

  • Andrew

    I worked in F1 for 4 years and most of the drivers' personal cars had some form of semi automatic… And they could drive the balls off any one in a similar car with manual trans… Proving that it's the driver and not the transmission… I have a '05 MCS and am waiting for my MCSa for the wife.. I'll enjoy driving both !!

  • My only question: Does it match revs on a downshift, or does it just violently shift weight on corner entrance like every other sloppy automatic on the market? All of you that are saying an automatic can be just as sporty as a manual obviously have no idea what effect uncontrolled weight transfer has on performance driving.

    The Infiniti M45 automatic is supposed to actually match revs, but I've never driven one, so I can't vouch for it.

  • Andrew: Maybe, but one F1 driver in an automatic against an F1 driver in the manual version of the same car, and watch what happens. 😉

  • Er: but pit one

  • Andrew

    Schumacher in an auto against Trulli in a manual… Schumi wins !!! 🙂 Comes down to skill at this point !!!

  • Kyle

    All of you seem to ingore a huge fact: The Cooper comes avaliable with CVT. The S SHOULD NOT HAVE THE OPTION OF AN AUTOMATIC! The only argument I've seen from those who are pro-S automatic are for the physically impaired. The Cooper comes in CVT so if you can't drive a stick (for physical reasons) then get a Cooper CVT, since the S should not come in an automatic. As Edge said “This is pure catering to a lazy market.”

  • AJ

    Kyle…You are so full of BS ! I don't know any other car owner Porsche Ferrari etc saying that crap…

  • Gentlemen… let's please stay civil about all of this. There's no reason to take this argument to the next level.

    Anything you say here you should feel comfortable saying to someone in person. If not please don't say it.

  • Steve

    Well, I for one, am a paraplegic and have been waiting for this for a year. I'm pretty excited about having the steptronic option – the first time I'll ever have the opprotunity to shift for myself. With all the options Mini – and the aftermarket – have to choose from, it's obvious Mini caters to drivers that want to make the car uniquely theirs. Kudos to Mini for this option – and the ability to opt out if you don't want to.


  • MrV

    I know. Since the anti auto people are going to raise this issue every time Gabe puts an article up about the MCSa, and nobody can stop them from doing so, why don't those of us who are pro (or at least accepting) of the auto, stop arguing with them. Kind of hard to keep up an argument when you are the only one arguing. Too late for this thread. Why don't we try it next time.

    On another note: There are some good pictures of the paddle shifters in this thread at NAM:

    I look forward to seeing the ones Gabe gets for this forum.

    Mr V

  • Frank

    Wow! the festival of insults is in full force today, eh?

    Calm down fellas, this is just a car after all and whether you like it or not, MINI is all about CHOICE. If having a clutch and a “barbaric” stick shift (As Sir Alec Issigonis used to call manual transmissions), so be it, if you like the idea of an automatic, CVT or SMG, also so be it!

    I own a Cooper CVT and love it! I also really enjoy my 6-speed Getrag in my MCS and while the Aisin slushbox in the '05 MCS sounds like a good idea (Since my wife out flat refuses to drive my MCS and the auto MCS would be a good compromise IMO) and I am not just yet ready to give up my Getrag gearbox.

    Too much hatred in this forum today. I am appalled. It is very sad to see this kind of childish comments from some (You know who you are) spreading like disease in this top notch website and among the MINI community in general.

    Cool off, please!

  • Well said Frank. I know some of you guys making the anti-auto comments are totally sensible people smart people. And I know you're adoration for this car is the reason you believe so strongly about this. But let's try to keep the level of conversation a little higher. One of the reasons I love reading comments on MotoringFile is the typical level of intellegence within the resposnes. I just don't see that here with some of these comments.

  • amen frank. double amen gabe.

    peace – drew

  • u go kyle

    pointing out the fact that there is the AUTO CVT owned those other arguement made by the auto S drivers

    IF you live in an area with heavy traffics… just get a cooper for god sake

    if you enjoy driving a sport car…… well shame on you for getting an auto.

    auto != sports car ok?

    a steptron. does not make an AUTO A DIFFERENT BEAST ROTFL what kind of logic is that

  • I'm thinking the comment feature will be turned off in future posts about the new MCS automatic.

    As I've said before I am not a fan of automatic transmissions… both my cars are manual equipped and I live in a very urban area. In fact everyone associated with MotoringFile owns a manual equipped MINI. So to some degree I can understand both sides of this argument. However what I don't understand are the comments that make no coherent points or are just inflammatory. Posts like that don't do anyone any favors.

    And for the love of God people… grammar!

  • Frank

    Gabe, I think we have way too many teenagers posting here (Unsupervised) and some “Adults” that have not been able to get past thier childhood stage.

    At any rate, I would suggest for you to consider incorporating more security tools in this website because I am noticing that peoople can make up names and then “run and hide”.

    The flow of posters can be better controlled with forced registration and IP address tracking. Unsavory and rude posters like the “gems” we have in here can easily be banned or block access from posting.

    Don't shut down the MCS Auto threads. I find the car interesting and want to learn more about it. Don't let the trolls control and censor the information you deem appropiate for this site.

  • Frank – I would just eliminate the ability to comment on certain stories… not stop them altogether. And I don't really want to get into making people register to post… that's just not the way I want to run this site. I would imagine Matt would agree with me on this although we haven't spoken about it in some time.

    That being said we do regularly track and ban users via their IPs. We also will notify their ISPs if anything gets way out of hand. We don't do it often and nothing in this post would consititute that in my mind but it has been done.

    However I'd like to leave that type of policing up to the forum sites.

    To some degree I think people just need to blow off some steam on this issue. This is a really personal thing to some people and in a way I can understand that. I just don't want any of this discussion to get out of control.

  • MrV


    How about just a moderation (by you). Take out any comments that you deem not worth to the conversation. I I feel like I “know” you by now (through your comments here and on other forums) and I suspect that you don't want to place yourself in this sort of supervisory role, but I think it would be better than shutting down the comments entirely.

    Legitimate questions and comments that add to the information pool should remain. The bickering and rudeness should not.

  • We actually do have moderation of everything posted on this site. There's a few of us always ready to pounce 🙂

  • Ray

    just one to make one point. why do you auto-haters drive a bmw mini. u should be driving a original mini cooper s. thats the one u should be driving if you are all about 'purity' of driving. no technology, just pure mechanical genius. why you u want a 'cute-looking-electronically-assisted-supercharged-manual'? comeon guys, you will be happier in the original mini cooper s. its pure driving skill there.

    btw, they (original mini cooper s drivers) are all laughing at you and treating you guys like you treat us auto drivers….

  • Vanwall

    As I generally don't post from work, (I do believe that doing my job come first, as long as I'm paid for it!), so getting home and posting towards what is hopefully the end of this pustulent argy-bargy is hardly a pleasure after reading the spew eructed by some of the more bloviate motorers. I hesitate to attempt an attitude adjustment because there may be no hope for a middle ground, and figuratively tattoing it on a recalcitrant's forehead with a blunt instrument is a very tedious process indeed. If you like shifting and it's your definition of sporting, well more power to you.

    Be warned, however, this kind of spurious classification is just like counting the seats to figure out if you're looking at a sportscar. Tell that to a 911 owner. If you feel threatened that your choice of an 'S' will be cheapened by adding an automatic to the line-up, I'm sorry you feel that way, but it's been known for years that this was going to happen, so you went in with a blindfold on if you bought with wishful thinking. “I'm shocked, Ricky, shocked!” said Captain Renault.

    Those that have an exagerated opinion of their talents are the only ones who will suffer by comparison, so all of those who choose an Automatic 'S' be forwarned – sadly, overcompensation is now no longer reserved for those who drive SUV's, but will soon start affecting the MINI community, or at least those that don't mind posting about their…. shortcomings, so to speak. I'd much rather see more MINIs, than more of those lesser vehicles that crowd my freeways, and trundle on my twisties.

     Rob in Dago

  • I agree with Gabe about registration. As long as I have anything to say about it, this site won't have it. However, I think that we should be a little more liberal about the comments we delete. Let them whine about being censored. We have ways of dealing with habitual stupidity.

  • Edge

    I certainly hope I am not one of the people whose comments have been viewed as “habitually stupid”. I have strong opinions, sure… but I do try not to take them TOO seriously.

    That's the only problem with censorship – one person's opinion of wrong does not equal anothers. Hard to find that fair balance.

    Back on topic… in the interest of finding a middle ground, I want to remind all anti-auto people that the JCW package is not available for the Auto. So in that regard, it remains a manual-only option, at least for now. (yes, yes, I know – aftermarket is still there)

    Something to be happy about for manual exclusivity. Since I am also a Mustang fan, it reminds me of the Cobra models being rarer and stick only, while the V8 GT models are both auto & manual. Similar comparison.

    An auto MCS was inevitable. This is the USA – the market spoke on this issue a very long time ago, whether some of us like it or not.

  • Edge

    Oops, I take that back. I missed the bit at the end about a JCW auto kit coming out later.


  • Ah the manual Mustang. I have very fond memories of rowing the gears in my friends supercharged monster Mustang a few years back… talk about torque. Good times.

  • MrV

    Sorry to do a double post, but to re-ask a question that got lost about 60 comments ago…..

    Pros and cons of this particular automatic vs. other automatics tranny's? To read the PR it does indeed appear to be a good auto (but I don't know that much about autos having driven a standard my whole life). Of course I bear in mind that it is a PR, not an objective review.

    I really can't wait to hear a review of an actual drive in this thing. I bought a MCSa sight unseen and I am curious / nervous about what I bought.

  • JT

    For the “purists” out there, request that BMW make a straight-cut gear tranny available (yes, that means no synchronizers) and a non-hydraulic racing clutch. Then, drive that for a month or two in stop&go traffic. Oh yes, no power steering and no air conditioning (just like an original Mini). Let me know when you give up.

    I drove a 1964 Corvette like this for 7 years in South Texas. Great if you're a kid who doesn't care what you look/smell like when you get somewhere…

    It's not as if an army of black-clad BMW/MINI mechanics (actually, most of them wear dark blue) is going to descend on your garage in the middle of the night and switch the transmission in your car.

    BMW isn't going to remove the manual shifter option on any car in the MINI lineup. If they do something like that, maybe you'll have something to complain about.

    (For the record, I have a 2003 MCS, and most of my past cars have had manual trannys either by choice or non-availability of anything else. I don't have a problem with an automatic transmission in a car as long as it drives reasonably close to the manual transmissioned variant.)

  • Gabe, Back to the original article, could you please decipher the EU cycle? What is the hwy/city mpg? Thanks.

  • I forgot


    Thanks again for keeping us up to date.

    I am impressed by the Britishness of that article. The words tend toward the euphemistic. The mellifluous tone recalls adverts for Schweppes tonics. I sense the Union Jack fluttering in the background. The lengthy article implies a lot, but delivers very little.

    It's deceptive; filled with evocative equivocations. For example, the auto shifter might be quicker than most drivers with manuals, but it does not mean (nor state) that the car is quicker than a manual trans version. Let's wait for the road tests.

    Despite my complaints I am delighted to read so much about another interesting variant for the Mini roster.

    I too hope people will stop knocking the auto MCS–except perhaps in jest. As someone (sorry, I could not find it again) wrote above it would be similar to drivers of the original Mini complaining that the current model is too bloated and cushy to be worthy of the name.

    That just reminded me that my old Austin Mini Cooper S had straight cut gears (graunch and whine) that seemed suitable only on the rare occasions when I could wring out the little monster on undulating two lane backroads. And (as JT wrote) I had no idea what I smelled like when I arrived (the spare tire was in the backseat) nor could I hear very well either.

    In the 30+ years since I had that car I have gained 60 pounds (ordering too many options with my meals). Could I even fit into an original Mini? If so, how would I get back out? So I sure am looking forward to getting an MCSa.

    Happy motoring to everybody.

  • Tate

    Perhaps one reason this issue (automatic vs. manual) touches off such violent debate amongst MINI owners is that it is, at its root, a struggle amongst owners to define the “soul” of a vehicle that is still quite new.

    The MINI does not have the history of a Ferrari or Corvette or Mustang or even Volkswagen New Beetle, just to name a few. What this car “is” and who it is “for” seems to still be very much up in the air. Yes, it is related to the original Mini, but the MINI is also very much its own car (witness another violent debate that sometimes flares up between Mini owners and MINI owners).

    What might be at stake in the manual/automatic argument?

    For those who feel the soul of the MINI must stay on the side of performance (which seems to be the loudest argument coming from those advocating the “manual”) perhaps it is a worry that by adding the automatic option to the “top-of-the-line” MINI, the BMW execs are indicating that, ultimately, they don't intend the MINI to be a “pure” sports car (whatever that means). Perhaps they view it as diluting the brand, as opening the door just a little too wide to allowing the MINI to become a “chick car” ala the Volkswagen New Beetle and PT Crusier. (No offense intended to female owners and drivers, but statistically, those cars are bought and driven overwhelmingly by women). That there appears to be such a thing as “men's” and “women's” cars is another issue altogether, but I have a feeling this divide is contributing to the clamor.

    For those who feel the soul of the MINI must stay on the side of choice (seems to be the loudest argument coming from the “automatic” crowd), perhaps the concern is that if MINI DIDN'T offer an automatic, the whole “customize the car and make it yours” philosophy would be proved a lie. A manual-only at the top of the model line might suggest: “MINI is all about choice– up to a point” A choice that isn't open to everybody might create a level of elitism within the brand that seems to fly in the face of the “make it yours” philosophy, which many obviously feel is a part of what the MINI is.

    So what is the “soul” of the MINI?

    The MINI image that Crispin, Porter and Bogusky created was designed to appeal to a lot of different people. I believe that what they effectively did was start something that hasn't happened often in automotive history; they found a way to connect the “soul” of the MINI very strongly to their owners.

    What is a MINI? Ask ANY MINI owner, and you will have the answer. The soul of the MINI is a diverse, multi-faceted, often CONFLICTING thing. Is the MINI a “pure” sports car? YES. Is the MINI about choice and individuality? At the same time, YES. Is the MINI a “chick car”? If someone wants to classify it like that, then YES. Is the MINI just another way of getting from point A to point B, like a Honda Civic? (Sadly, I think) Yes. MINI is all these things at the SAME TIME, because these are (some of) who MINI owners are!

    And so, just like any time a diverse community struggles to be together, there is conflict. There are arguments. This is who we are as human beings, and more so than perhaps any other factory-fitted vehicles, our MINIs will reflect this.

    But can this conflicting diversity be good? I think it can. Might it mean that what MINI is, is alive and well? When the arguments stop, when new information about our beloved vehicles is greeted with a shrug, THAT will be a truly sad time, because that might mean that the DIVERSE COMMUNITY of what MINI is has died, or at least that the connection between owners and vehicles has been broken. That is a day which I hope never comes.

    So argue away. Shake your head at the maturity level of some of the comments. Defend your views. Speak your mind, because your mind is the mind of MINI– not exclusively, but inclusively. MINI is performance, MINI is individuality and choice, but perhaps most of all MINI is DIVERSE COMMUNITY.

    Let's Motor.

  • Eric

    Awesome comments Tate. I think it should be wrapped up on that.

    What more could be said?! (except that the auto F1 car is quicker on the shifts than its manual counterpart…nanner nanner!) Hahaha… 😉

  • Edge

    I agree, very well said Tate. We are a very diverse group of people, and we always will be. And despite my distaste at the existence of the MCSa, I agree wholeheartedly that I too would rather see an auto-driving teenager over the just about anyone in an SUV.

    Let's Motor, indeed. 🙂

  • Vanwall

    Tate, smartly done! One of the best MINI posts ever, anywhere, period. Well spoken.


    Rob in Dago

  • Tate – I know it's early but that's gotta be the front runner for comment of the year. Well said.

  • Nathan

    You da man or women, Tate! Well thought out and intelligent.

  • Ken

    I would Love get order my 05 MCS in MANUAL, save the $1290 and put it towards a mod or possiblilty a set of rims/tires. But, My ski accident from two years ago ripped apart my leg muscles and teared up my brokes leave me with no choice but to get the Automatic. I couldn't walk for 6 months, I had to sell my S2000, my Type-R and my GTI Rabbit as the after math of this accident …

  • tired of the whine…

    Ken, we are in the same boat. My wife had a back injury in 2000. We had to sell her MANUAL VW cabrio for a automatic one…she will never be able to drive a real manual trans again.

    She preferd the manual…she learned to drive on my turbo miata and loved it.

    we are both pleased that there is a auto MSC now. we wanted more power than the CVT offered and we will be ordering her chili red rag top soon.

  • Mr. P

    I am having a hard time keeping my comments to myself on this topic… Ok! seems like there are many comments being made about the people that want this version of transmission. I for one would be happy to take any othese people to the track and show them just how someone can drive this car. As for buying this version because they don't know how to drive a Manual Trans…There are many reasons to want this not just because they cant drive a stick. Please be courtious about the diversity of needs and wants with the MINI. The bottom line is we all love thee cars for many reasons. Drive safe, Drive fun, Drive for life!

  • Herman L.

    Anyone care to say that BMW is still a company out to make a profit? the MINI is selling well in the states and so it only makes more sense to bring a auto version for the place that sells well so it sells EVEN better…

    its not like the automatic is now the only tranny available… enthusiasts can stick with the 6 speed… adding a auto allows those with disabilities yet the same passion to drive the S… look at it from that angle!

    i can agree that tho… i will start seeing 18 year old spoiled little girls driving cooper S at straight line at 90, turning at 10, or post SUV drivers cutting and wheezing their way around other cars…. (actually.. i do that… and that's what the mini's suppose to do anyways!)

    the above is meant to be a joke, apologies if it offended anyone