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Does an Automatic JCW Dilute the Brand or Strengthen it?

For the first time ever MINI will be offering the six speed Aisin sourced automatic in the JCW. They first showed it in the JCW Countryman but we fully expect it to move across the JCW range to all models in time for the 2013 model year this September.

This is essentially the same six speed auto that MINI debuted in the 2005 Cooper S and is currently found across the MINI range. In the past we’ve panned it has mediocre and a easy way to sap some soul out of the motoring experience. But a funny thing we happened. MINI has slowly been improving the auto through updated and enhanced software. They haven’t worked miracles but they have made it less confused, quicker to react and overall a little smarter.

In the JCW we would assume MINI would turn up the wick even further making shift-times quicker and the software altogether more aggressive. All well and good but is it JCW worthy? Maybe it doesn’t matter. If MINi can expand the reach of the JCW brand MINI will be effectively strengthening the JCW brand by gaurenteeing more sales.

Is it worth it? Can MINI build a performance brand and appeal to the hardcore fans while offering such a non-sporting option as an traditional torque converter automatic?

Sound off below.

[poll id=”32″]

Written By: Gabe

  • Didier

    A traditional torque converter automatic is NOT an option for a sporty brand like JCW…but a double clutch would be a great solution !

    • R Burns

      Of course !!!  problem is it would cost too much, as Mini engineers said… on next generation only…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1628499234 Jeremiah A Gibbs

    If you don’t want the auto don’t buy it. The smug manual drivers will always find something to complain about. 

    • Anonymous

      No, we are simply afraid that the high auto take rate will eventually spell doom to the availability of the manual. That would be a real shame. I still blip my throttle on the downshift, not because I have to but because it is very satisfying.

      • http://twitter.com/multiplepublics Peter Brecht

        As a manual driver I see what you mean, but BMW seems to be keeping manuals steady as in the new M5. I doubt the manual will disappear for a few decades yet, unless they give us a DKG. 

        • Anonymous

          Actually the M5 was not supposed to be offered with a manual in any market, but we got it after US customers made some noise. The writing is on the wall though.

        • http://twitter.com/multiplepublics Peter Brecht

          Got it, thanks ulrichd

  • les

    I would get the automatic if MINI would fix the paddle shifters. AH, I hate those things. They never work the way you want them to. I could go without a double clutch system as long as it was fast and smooth.

  • Mark

    I love stick shift. I drive manual. I hate tuna fish. I don’t hate people that eat tuna fish. Get over it.

  • Jhfox

    Automatics give greater access to the brand for people with special needs/physical limitations. I’m among of those folks – I love the MINI experience and it is only practical for me in the context of the auto trans.

    That little button by the shifter – the one labeled ‘S’ – really livens things up. Without the ‘S’ button engaged the trans is a sedate, nonintrusive tranny – perfect for taking granny for a spin.

    • manchezcasal

       That’s a great point. Most of us are using these cars to live, not to take out to the track. I love stick, but gearing is hardly the only fun part of driving a MINI…the handling, for a little stock car, is pretty amazing and a ton of fun. Why should people who can’t shift or just don’t like it not be able to enjoy all the rest the MINI has to offer?

      I’ll take 1,000 Jhfox’s happily driving a MINI automatic over a single annoying snob, any day. 

      • Mcolvard

        I agree with Jhfox… I am in a wheelchair and can only drive automatics, but I still want to drive something sporty. I have tracked / autocrossed my MINI for years…  If these cars were only offered in manual, I wouldn’t be able to drive it. Good for MINI for offering the JCW in automatic…. it’s always great to have options!

    • http://borborygmist.influxofdust.com/ Wayne Dyer

      The reason I’m considering an auto for my next one is that the manual gets really old when you’re stuck in traffic in a commute.

  • Anonymous

    JCW isn’t a performance brand anyways, it hasn’t been since the Sale to BMW.

    That said- would selling more units help- yes! Sell more to offset development costs and make better products.

    As an aside- Aisin is very dated and hopefully BMW/MINI can sign a purchasing agreement for the F models with another brand to get the ZF in there. The Aisin has not been developed that much as it was a cheap limit box from the start- ask Toyota/VW etc. for their tweaks as I don’t think they even use that box anymore.

    • Alessandro_p80

      It may not be a performance brand, but on the track not many could keep up!I have a 2010 JCW WC 50. I’ve read some good comments on here so let me put my 2 cents in.If you drive a ferrari, lamborghini and even an M3 or a new M5 the paddle shifting is fun, flawless and impecable!On the other hand if you drive a smart car you won’t be getting the same feeling when changing gears maybe because it takes the car 20 seconds to realize you’ve asked it to change gear! There are various types of automatic. It varies from slow changing comfort models and heavy duty extreme performance models. What they are going to install on the mini is not going to be what I love about paddle shifters. They aren’t going to install a great clutch that will rip your head off and give you a nose bleed when you make a fast change.Some will be thrilled with a mediocre auto changer, but this one isn’t for me. I think they are going for the portion of the market that is in the middle. The ones who love to race out of the lights but only do it when they are forced to by a cabbie in the right lane.I on the other hand want to take the car to the track and love to DRIVE not CRUISE.I am not afraid of turns and therefore although I hate driving in stop and go traffic a clutch is not my enemy. It becomes something raw that simplifies driving. Pure emotions!

  • stl okie

    Get off your high horse people.  If people want an automatic fine, if you want a manual fine.  

  • jeff

    i think the auto is a great addition as long as it doesn’t  signal the beginning of the end of the manual option.  as long as the manual is still a choice and doesn’t get lumped in with base features or priced out as an extra option the automatic can only bring in more sales and better fund the development of new cars.

  • JonPD

    Not casting a vote on this one, to me this neither strengthens or weakens JCW as a whole. Yes a few more cars will be sold and yes it will be yet a slower and duller JCW (don’t expect by much). Figure personally that the saving move by MINI for JCW is if they take GP into being a real performance car vs the fairly weak sauce JCW (said as a JCW owner).

  • http://www.mynameisjay.com/ Jay

    I feel the same way towards this as I do towards the Countryman. It doesn’t appeal to me personally but it definitely will benefit MINI as a brand. More options = more sales.

    • R53tuning

      Brining the automatic transmission towards the JCW is a great solution. Only one problem MINI, why did you not make it a single or dual clutch system??????? I don’t get it! The JCW is suppose to be about performance.

      • Mark Smith

        I can answer that question for you as MINI has in the past. There isn’t a dual clutch transmission that will effectively fit with the size of our engine compartment. The technology is advancing and I believe that one day they will have that technology available for MINI to use however it is not currently possible. It has been a while since they have visited this question however I believe that is still the case.

        • R53tuning

          That’s incorrect. The technology is there. The veloster uses a dual clutch transmission. Although they have this technology to save fuel, I’m sure some software changes can make it shift more aggressive. :)

        • Anonymous

          Not necessarily true. The real reason is cost and purchasing power- MINI doesn’t have it and if they needed to charge an extra grand for it no one would buy it and then make it a money pit- the LSD was the same thing.

        • Dr Obnxs

          I’m not sure that’s entirely fair. Yes, the take rate on the LSD was very, very low, but in all my trips to the MINI dealerships, I never once heard a salesman actually suggest to a sporting purchaser that the LSD was a great value for those wanting to explore the performance envelope. It was a steal at the price it was offered at, but it wasn’t marketed. If the sales team had pushed it in low traction areas (anywhere with any snow in the winter) and to performance drivers, it would have been easy to really, really increase take rates. There is a reason that OBX, Quaiffe OS-Gilkin and others sold units. Because there was a market. And they were bought even though aftermarket required you to pay a lot of labor, or do a lot of work, to install the unit.

          If a dual clutch would result in better numbers (and it would), then I could easily see people plunking a grand down for it. The JCW premium is hefty, and people pay it. The price for a lot of the cosmetic options is hefty, and people pay it.

          I guess that I’m saying there is more to the cost, there is also how it’s sold, that affects the take rate. Great price and no marketing equals low sales. That’s what killed the LSD.

  • jppd

    It widens the market for others to experience JCW. This is good. There are far too many naysayers out there. I drive only manuals, but I’m not so chauvinistic to expect MINI to exclude other drivers by limiting production to manual transmissions. 

  • Evan

    I’d say that the standard auto dilutes the JCW. It’s a pretty good transmission, and I’m fine if it increases sales to bank roll other models, however if they want an auto option in a performance model, it should be a performance auto like a DSG. I get that engineering and availability will preclude this, but still think that’s the way to go for performance.

  • Jerry

    No problems here with a auto JCW, but boy, SOME people are just plain NASTY about it! I think its a great idea for people that can’t or won’t buy a 6 speed. Personally, I would never buy an auto, but everyone deserves a chance to drive a JCW.

  • Sdennis

    Dodge only offers the SRT-8 in an automatic but it is still a blast to drive. But I agree MINI should keep the JCW a manual. Its not really worth getting mad about . Happy Motoring

  • otter

    While I prefer a manual IMO dual clutch systems can be rather fun and should be what is offered on all automatic MINIs.  The one thing that would make a dual clutch truly fun , again IMO, would be the addition of a clutch pedal that would allow the driver to skip through several gears while holding the clutch open.  Heck, at that point they could just use an H pattern shifter and have the best of both worlds; put the shifter into neutral, click the lock collar and you have an dual clutch automatic, release the lock and you have a manual shift (manual clutch usage optional).

  • John

    At this point, after so many different models and types, the brand is diluted. I say this in a positive way. I think it’s a good option for those who would want it, and really doesn’t effect the true enthusiasts from having what they want. 

    It’s like going to a hamburger place, and getting the chicken. It doesn’t make it any less of a hamburger place. Just has one “less original” option.

  • Adam5

    I have mixed feelings about this. Personally, I always tend to have trouble driving an automatic. I prefer having total control of my gear selection. I’d probably always go for a standard transmission, but if I had to deal with heavy stop and go rush hour traffic every day or if I lived in Seattle or San Fransisco, I’d appreciate an automatic transmission just as long as I get along with the paddle shifters.

  • Miguel

    MINI really needs to get BMWs dual clutch transmission into their cars. THEN an automatic would be worthy of JCW.

  • Chad

    the answer is that it both dilutes the JCW performance brand, but also allows MINI increase revenue and ultimately sell more MINI’s.

    the simple fact is that introducing the auto is a business decision. it will put more JCW cars on the street, stengthen MINI and JCW and even builds a better business case for continued sale and even expansion of the JCW line. from MINI’s standpoint, i think this was a no-brainer, especially with lack-luster JCW sales. this certainly will bring more sales than any other single change/option on JCW cars.

    now, as a bit of a manual snob, there is something cool and special about seeing cars like an RS4, M coupe or 1M that were only available as a manual.

    • Anonymous

      I am lost at how people think JCW is a performance brand and how an auto will “dilute the brand”. MINI is a small car that handles well and fills a small place in the market. JCW is a glorified sports package without much of what other brands even offer in that. They do as little as possible to make it seem more than the base car.  JCW is the equivalent of the “IS” models BMW has offered which is a glorified sports pack. 

      Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, BMW M, Mercedes AMG, Audi RS, Corvette etc. are performance brands and models and everyone of them offer an AUTOMATIC. Last time I checked no one that isn’t drinking MINI flavored Kool Aid and looking for the next comet named MINI to arrive even considered JCW in the same breath as those brands on any level. 

      If and when the GP model lineup becomes a sub brand I will say that it is a performance brand. Which should be more performance oriented and still be offered with a auto box as more often than not people buying these cars do not drive them as they are designed and that they often can’t drive period but if it keeps MINI building them thanks to increased sales the better it is for true enthusiasts- the reason why the brands above all make convertibles, they sell and make lots of money- they don’t dilute the rest of the lineup. 

      • Mark

        Do you feel that JCW isn’t a performance brand because it’s on a MINI? You’re welcome to your opinionbut I think MINI is very much a performance car for everyday use. A Ferrari is a great performance car – try using on as a daily driver. I have been in the MINI business since 2002. I have pleanty of clients that own what you call performance cars and MINIs. Guess which one gets driven more? The MINI. Ease up fella.

        • Anonymous

          I have a MINI as well, it is driven daily. I have nothing against MINI but its marketing policies and attempts at making a car more performance oriented. I grew up in a performance car household that were not exotics, I used Ferrari as an example for transmissions. Maybe I should have said STI or R or Abarth but the point of my above statement was more about performance cars having automatics- they all do. How on earth is a MINI JCW more performance oriented than a Ferrari or a Porsche. Strong Kool Aid?

          As for JCW: If there was no Cooper S and only the base Cooper then JCW would be a Performance brand.  That said, JCW is a glorified sports pack for the Cooper S. How long was the aero kit not part of the package and wait for it…. the JCW suspension is a dealer installed OPTION. 

          If you want to say it is a performance moniker that is your opinion but a true performance brand should come with these things from the factory. The GP is what a Performance brand should look like. 

          Find me another “Performance Brand” that doesn’t offer a factory sports suspension or an aero kit on their Performance model… not happening. There is nothing performance behind the brand in that sense but marketing,  a slight tune and a lot of badges.

          I compare JCW to M as they are within the same parent company and there is nothing to compare- but it doesn’t have to be like that and offering an auto may help.  

          As for me easing up on JCW- not happening until there is some meat to their offerings. If people are happy with what they build that is fine but that is not my view and if one does not speak out things never change.

           I could easily have bought a JCW over a standard model but there was no reason for me to fork over the extra money so why do it? For a badge that no one outside of a MINI enthusiast understands? Nah.

        • Alessandro_p80

          I can agree in part with what you say, as I too am upset with what Mini has NOT done with the JCW models. Like the suspension package and the bad LSD they have on the cars. But I have to say that this car is much different then many others in it’s segment. It can keep up with many incredible cars like M5s and M3s but probably not on the original factory setup, you have to put some money in to it to give that extra POWAAAA!Getting stuff through aftermarket dealers. Even John Cooper works package back in 2003-2004 was an aftermarket package that mini took over. The JCW model from the factory and not the S upgrade has 211hp and drives very different from the S with JCW package. To be honest with you i wish they would offer more extreme upgrades for these cars. I have JCW from factory with JCW suspension…What are my options if I want more?! Going back to the topic of dicussion Mini seems to want put this auto transmission in the JCW car. I stil think it’s gonna be bad because it wont be like an M3 or an M5 fast, responsive, intelligent. So if it isnt done right, dont do it at all!

        • R53tuning

          I agree with you in regards to a glorified S….. They don’t offer enough differences to justify the cost. I’m from Canada and the difference between a base Cooper S and a base JCW is roughly $6,000.00. For what you get, its not worth it. If you can pick up a special edition then I can understand like the WC50. At the end of the day, MINI markets the “JCW” as being there top performance vehicle. So why offer a substandard transmission instead of using a DSG, or twin clutch system? It makes no sense. Because of cost? So why is the M5 only offered in North America in standard? (unless my information is wrong and finally opened it up to everywhere else) Because there is a small selection of performance enthusists who want it even though they will loose money on it.

          MINI always uses this term “Racing is in our blood”. Why ruin there top performance vehicle with a conventional transmission instead of a performance product? That’s what were trying to say and that’s why I voted for a diluted product. JCW’s should come automatic. If you market the JCW as being a performance product, you should come to the plate and offer “performance” 

        • Anonymous

          I agree, Michael. There are some curious aspects to JCW ownership that only make sense within the confines of the MINI brand. As soon as one looks outside the brand – the JCW Suspension option, for example – or tries to justify the cost-per-horsepower ratio, questions quickly arise as to what MINI is actually doing with JCW sub-brand as a whole.

          However, it is worth noting that from the very beginning “Tuning” and “Tuning Kit” was almost always mentioned in the same breath as “John Cooper Works”.  That implies – to me, anyway – only modest performance enhancement. Nothing dramatic.

          As for my investment in “JCW”, I bought the JCW Sound Kit for my MINI for two reasons. The sound and, the point of my post, for the JCW heritage. Conventional ideas about “performance” gains were an afterthought (and with the SK, of course, there’s no meaningful benefit). But given John Cooper’s roots with Mini, I simply wanted a tasteful piece of that history on my MINI. It happens to be the best $1k I think I’ve ever spent on a car accessory-slash-upgrade. 

          My next MINI will be a JCW Clubman. But because the performance increase on the factory JCW are relatively modest on paper, my expectations for a proper factory JCW MINI are not sky-high.

          Perhaps others have higher expectations? I think so, given the ongoing JCW debate. I just hope that doesn’t give MINI any ideas about creating a JCW GP sub-brand. Leave the GP as a once-a-generation, one-MINI honor, please.

        • Anonymous

          I agree, Michael. There are some curious aspects to JCW ownership that only make sense within the confines of the MINI brand. As soon as one looks outside the brand – the JCW Suspension option, for example – or tries to justify the cost-per-horsepower ratio, questions quickly arise as to what MINI is actually doing with JCW sub-brand as a whole.

          However, it is worth noting that from the very beginning “Tuning” and “Tuning Kit” was almost always mentioned in the same breath as “John Cooper Works”.  That implies – to me, anyway – only modest performance enhancement. Nothing dramatic.

          As for my investment in “JCW”, I bought the JCW Sound Kit for my MINI for two reasons. The sound and, the point of my post, for the JCW heritage. Conventional ideas about “performance” gains were an afterthought (and with the SK, of course, there’s no meaningful benefit). But given John Cooper’s roots with Mini, I simply wanted a tasteful piece of that history on my MINI. It happens to be the best $1k I think I’ve ever spent on a car accessory-slash-upgrade. 

          My next MINI will be a JCW Clubman. But because the performance increase on the factory JCW are relatively modest on paper, my expectations for a proper factory JCW MINI are not sky-high.

          Perhaps others have higher expectations? I think so, given the ongoing JCW debate. I just hope that doesn’t give MINI any ideas about creating a JCW GP sub-brand. Leave the GP as a once-a-generation, one-MINI honor, please.

        • JonPD

          100% spot on  

        • Dr Obnxs

          What many are missing is not what JCW is, but what purchasers see it as. For better or worse, in most all years it is the top of the MINI line, and to say it’s not marketed as a performance enhancement isn’t realistic. It does have engine enhancements, even if some say not enough.

          But the differences are real, and whether it’s worth the money or not, I guess the market speaks to that already. But I also think that MINI isn’t marketing the JCW option enough considering the price difference.

          I’ll be writing about some back to back impressions on JCW vs Cooper S in a bit… Say tuned! ;)

          But an auto in a JCW? Have at it! Let the buyers be happy.

      • Alessandro_p80

        I wonder if I can post this link to a JCW on the Ring keeping up with a new M3 GTS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPjwn8wbFbY

        • Anonymous

          He is not “keeping up” with the GTS. The GTS passed him and then was dealing with traffic. There are spots on the ‘Ring you dare not pass people or go off the race line. As soon as that clears the GTS is gone as it should be.

          Good video though!

      • chad

        it’s about money. period. i am sure there has not been an easier business case at MINI for years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Don-Hopings/1499630442 Don Hopings

    I answered DILUTE. On one hand, I don’t like the idea of an automatic in a JCW-branded MINI. I’ve never owned a vehicle with an automatic and having one in a JCW has no appeal. I’ve driven an S with the automatic and found its performance not bad, but very unsporting. It would seem that a lot of work would be required to make that Aisin truly worthy of the JCW brand. Actually, the only thing that would be readily acceptable to me would be an electro-mechanically shifted manual transmission.   On the other hand, I do understand the thinking of BMW/MINI. You really don’t want to give people reasons to NOT buy your product. An automatic in a JCW would broaden the base and make the JCW experience available to more people; no argument there. But, the question would be at what price to the image? I also can’t see a great increase in the number of JCW’s sold. For many, in comparing S performance and prices to the JCW, the S wins the value equation.   There could be a middle ground here. Why not offer an automatic on ONLY the JCW Countryman variant? That would be useful for the Countryman and not muddy the waters for the rest.

  • Ferro

    I like my JCW auto (R53), which is a daily driver.  Yes, a 6 speed would have been even better (i’ve driven both) but I made a compromise with my soulmate (wife) and my knees in stop ‘n go traffic.

    • J1

      GET THE BMW 1er autobox into the MINI !!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=600246316 Adrian Ainsworth

    I tried the auto out on the old R50 and even then it was a hoot. This will be a lot of fun matched to the JCW engine and to be honest for most of, whether we care to admit it or not we will be faster with an auto box because in truth few of us are as good at gear changing as we think we are. When my wife test drove the auto she was like a demon and just overtook everything in sight – so yeah the fun will still be there!

  • Violetdc

    My current MINI is an automatic and, driving in the DC area w/lights, stop signs & pedestrians galore, it’s the best option 4 me. I love my automatic (altho I do know how 2 drive manual), and saving my knees from all the clutching/braking is VERY important. So, my next MINI (Roadster? Coupe’? Who knows? ;o) ) will be an auto, as well.

  • do that

    Left to downshift, Right to upshift. Double clutch gearbox. Do that MINI.

  • Atcql

    This simply is about selling cars,after all why be in the automotive business,and not increase your sales.I’m almost 70,and am not interested in shifting any longer.So to celebrate the upcoming birthday i will purchase a JCW Coupe with automatic.

    • Anonymous

      Good for you! Motor On!

  • USAF Sgt

    Quite honestly part of the appeal of a JCW MINI whether or not you think JCW is a true performance brand or not is the manual transmission. Having it in such trim gives the owner a sense of exclusivity, stimulating more passion behind a purchase and keeping the fun factor up. YES it is very true a auto will give the brand more of a market and make more sales more money for special addition yes, But at what point does MINI lose it’s million dollar asset; it allure. MINI should keep the stick and continue to make a car with personality and doing so will make it a great success and we can keep motoring. I mean I doubt ill ever see a STI with a manual because subuaru takes pride in staying true to the brand, not just changing something to sell more cars

  • USAF Sgt

    And PLEASE it not really a argument about it this a performance car or not. Its a debate if the MINI JCW can stay unique and not become so mainstream that we lose all the passion.

  • F ur AutoTragic

    You know why stick shift snobs hare Autotragics? Because people who drive these paddle shifting monstrosities try to say it is just like driving a manual transmission. If you are not physically disabled or have some health issues you should not be driving an auto. If you don’t know how to drive a manual learn on a MINI they are super forgiving and a great car to learn on.

    • Dr Obnxs

      Hmmmmm.  Got to say you miss the point entirely. I think you’ve set up a straw man. No one I know says they like the flappy paddles because it’s like a manual. Those that have Ferraris and the like like them because they are faster at shifting, and faster around a track. Those that have more pedestrians like them because they can be sporting at some times and let the electronics do the gear selection when they want to do commuting. And there are the many, many who have already posted that they have very good reasons (joint fatigue, bad traffic, whatever) for wanting an auto or manumatic.

      I just don’t get what people have to insist that others think like they do. It’s OK to have a different opinion on this. Don’t like autos? Don’t buy one. Like autos? Buy one and be happy.

      • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

        Indeed. Live and let shift. 

        I never understood why a millisecond shift time would ever matter in a car until I rode with Gabe in his 1M. When it was in full acceleration and then he would pause for the manual upshift, my whole body would rock forward because of the break in thrust. I think it’s only up in those ridiculous horsepower ranges that the shift times begin to matter. I imagine that’s a big driving force behind Ferrari and the like adopting the F1 style “flappy paddle” gearboxes. But that said, that’s just the straight line experience, which has never been what a MINI or a JCW MINI are about. 

        • Hoover

          Yep!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Don-Hopings/1499630442 Don Hopings

        Don’t like autos? Don’t buy one. Like autos? Buy one and be happy.

        That sounds good in theory, but remember this…

        The Ford Taurus SHO (with that JEWEL of a V-6 Yamaha) was produced from 1989 to 1999. The chronology of the gearboxes offered was this:

        5 speed Mazda transaxle (89-95) 4 speed Borg Warner automatic transaxle (93-95) 4 speed AX4N automatic transaxle (96-99)

        The went for 4 years with only a manual transmission. Then they went for 3 years offering a manual and an automatic. However, in the last 4 years of its run, ONLY the automatic was available. In the first 4 years, the question of manul versus automatic always came up in the road test articles. The Ford engineers said that they wanted to maintain the integrity of their performance concept, but that it was a continual struggle with the spreadsheet jockeys (paraphrased). Granted, BMW is not Ford and Germany is not the US. However, it does make you wonder about the future.

        • Anonymous

          Good point but you may be a bit confused as in the EU automatics are now viewed as the performance end and manuals are for poor people that can’t afford a modern auto. The Germans now think they are faster. more efficient and better than a manual so they are not interested in manuals as “performance” items but frugality. 

  • m8o

    To answer the title question … perhaps, but nowhere near as much as a relatively ‘fat’ Mini-ute Countryman without a bump in its power [spelled N20] to make-up for the weight, resulting in a slow pig.  JCW Countryman … what an embarrassment.

  • Anon
  • AAONMS

    There was a time when I would have voted ‘Dilute’ thinking that this was the ‘hard-core’ answer.

    Now that I’m more than a bit older and have more life experience, I can see the need for the automatic if for no other reason than to allow someone who is physically impaired the opportunity of owning/driving a JCW.

  • Tony

    I think it will help MINI with overall sales.  Every carmaker offers a automatic in their rautomatics.  Even Ferrari now ONLY offers automatics in their vehicles. (I am not comparing Ferrari to MINI). Automatics will help sell more cars and keep MINI in business.  For my personal tastes, as long as they continue to offer a manual transmission, they will have my business.

  • Juliansorl

    Double Clutch!! I love manual, but my passengers are always complaining that their head’s keep hitting the back of the head rest when shifting lol. Anyway, in traffic manual can be a pain and on a hill with a little gravel around really messes with me because of the traction control, hill brake assist, and my clutch and gas maneuvering seem to be all at cross purposes!

    • Juliansorl

      By the way I was an original factory JCW owner. Just sold my car last months after 2years of ownership

  • Lemelou

    Wow quite a few comments!  Some of them made alot of sense, some others were written by Bimmerfile_mike (joking! lol you always bring to the discussion bud)

    I voted Diluted because although I get alot, and I mean ALOT of kick outta of the M3 dual-clutch, the one that will equip the JCW will be nowhere near that.  The problem resides there, the quality of the piece, not in the auto tranny itself.  The OP got it right when he said that:

     “They haven’t worked miracles but they have made it less confused, quicker to react and overall a little smarter.”

    Slapping an S to a Cooper brings some ummph, bringing the JCW on an S gets it glowing.  Put a medium auto on a great car, you’ll be dimming its shine for sure.

    But then it might be fitting Mini’s plans.  If you had this to the fact that the power plant on the JCW CM is sub standard for the JCW line, the company might simply be purposely diluting the brand to introduce its GP line.  If that ever happens.

    Here’s 25 cents worth of 2 cents.

    • Anonymous

      I get what your saying but at the same time- if people are buying a true “slush box” to get some badges and the stigma of the expensive MINI and some added performance compared to the Cooper S is it really diminishing the brand name?

       It is not the be all to end all at this point in time, for those that want a manual the auto is not taking away from their experience so to them it is the same car it would have been with the other option. 

      To those that are buying the automatic and know it is NOT a DSG or lockable torque converter slush box will they feel that the experience is less than they like? Maybe but that is what they signed up for. I will say that M offered a regular run of the mill auto in the E36 M3 and while true enthusiasts hated it the vast majority of those that purchased it were fine with it- then came the SMG in the E46 and that is an entirely different story!

  • SimTechDJ

    If they are offering an auto… MANDATE real Paddle Shifters, not the push-pull crap!

  • Brendon

    UGH! i hate automatics, loved that Mini did “save the manuals campaign” really wish americans would stop being so dam lazy and drive a manual. The only place for an automatic is in a luxury sedan, minivans/suvs and of course if you have a disability.

    Other then that there is no excuse for automatics in these types of cars. I HATE that evey manufacturer is doing away with the, BMW has guarenteed the offering up until the 2014 model year, they will then re-evaluate and decide. 2013 model year is the end for any audi to be manual, even the RS5 is a stupid automatic.

    I dont care what you guys say, flappy padel, DSG, Blah blah blah is still an automatic every which way. I cannot believe mini is doing this, i HOPE that the new GP is availible only in Manual, as it should be.

    • Anonymous

      Not sure where you got the 2014 BMW guarentee but considering they just launched the new 3 series with a manual and the new M5 with a manual that is at least 2019. They have only dropped the manual mid cycle once- the X3. And the F80 M3 will be a manual when it launches in 18 months as a 2014.

  • Lemelou

    In medieval times, bad things happened to good people who started feuds like this.

    Just saying Gabe.

    You’re happy it’s 2012.

  • goat

    My take: It ABSOLUTELY dilutes the car. I say “car” because the brand didn’t mean a lot anyway thus far… and I say that as an ex-R53 factory JCW owner (great car, but meaningless brand especially given what passed for a JCW car in the R56 variants with their stock suspension but upgraded HP, “muscle car tuning” made worse via FWD). 

    If MINI wanted to send a strong message about JCW they should have waited until they had true clutchless manual gearbox (in the style of VAG’s famous DSG, but adapted from BMW) to put in the cars.

    All positive comments about the slushbox MINI (and slushbox miata, incidentally the same types of discussions have been taking place in the miata forums lately, sign of the times it seems) are nothing more than rationalization by those that do not know / refuse to drive a manual gearbox. I have driven the autotragic in both cars and it saps enough of the fun out of the cars that I would park it and walk away from the car entirely if the manual gearbox variants weren’t available (albeit increasingly difficult to find in dealership inventories).

  • AAONMS

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBDJ8ICdczE&feature=share This is from a friend in the UK who lost a leg in a motorsport incident. Seems he lost ‘only’ his leg and not his enthusiasm as he is still an active Corner Marshal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Stramiello/537056067 John Stramiello

    I dont like that idea. But as long as I can still buy a manual in any mini model then I guess I dont really care.

  • Bplimmer

    As a one legged person and on my second cooper s i would love to be able to buy a JCW auto , rather than have to make do with my Auto cooper s with a JCW tuning kit . But what a shame its not a more modern box ie the new 7 speeder in the 1 series .


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MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

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MotoringFile Reviews

Reviews:
'12 JCW Coupe
'11 Fiat 500 Sport
'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
'11 Cooper S Hatch
'11 Countryman MCS (FWD)
'11 Countryman MC (auto)
'10 Mayfair MCS (auto)
'11 Countryman MCS (ALL4)
'10 MINI E
'10 Tesla Roadster Sport
'09 Cooper S Convertible
'09 JCW Hatch
'09 JCW Clubman
JCW Stage I vs JCW Stage II
'08 Clubman S (Auto)
1st Drive: '08 MINI Clubman
'08 Smart Fourtwo
Comparison: '08 BMW 135i
'06 R53 MCS vs '07 R56 MCS
'07 R56 JCW (Stage 1)
'07 MINI Cooper S Long Term
'07 BMW Z4 M Coupe
'07 MINI Cooper & Cooper S
Audio: '07 MC/MCS at the Track
'06 JCW GP Long term
Reader Review: JCW GP
'06 JCW Cooper S Long Term
Comparison: '06 Lotus Elise
Comparison: '06 Mazda MX5
Comparison: '06 UK Focus ST
Comparison: '06 Civic Si
Comparison: '04 TVR T350
Comparison: '06 Nissan 350z
Comparison: '06 VW GTI w/DSG
Podcast: Cooper S Auto
Podcast: BMW 325i
Podcast: JCW MC Soundkit
'04 JCW MINI Cooper Tuning Kit
'05 MCS: One Month Review
'05 MCS Auto
'05 JCW S 1st Drive
'05 MINI Cooper
'05 MCS Conv. Long Term
'05 MINI Cooper S
'05 MCS Cabrio 1st Drive
'04 JCW MCS First Drive
'04 MC w/JCW Tuning Kit
BMW M3 SMG Vs. MCS
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range


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