We’ve recently been informed by several sources that the shift paddles on automatic transmission equipped MINI Cooper’s will be phased out starting with March production. We’re not sure if this is specific to the US market or will impact all markets but we would expect the latter. This includes all bodystyles (R55, R56 and R57). Of course the Cooper S model of each of these cars will continue to offer them when equipped with an automatic.
It’s worth noting that a few weeks of auto R57 Cooper production will include the paddles making them pretty rare in the years to come.
We don’t have confirmation on this but we believe that this change may have been put into place to give greater differentiation between the Cooper and Cooper S model.