The manual transmission is back at MINI USA and seeing impressive demand in certain models. That’s great news for MINI enthusiasts who had feared the elimination of the option on many models spelled the end of it altogether.
How impressive? The take-rate on the MINI F56 hatch (the heart and soul of the brand) is over 40% for the manual transmission in the US market according to MINI USA. That’s a shocking stat given that even sports car makers like Porsche aren’t seeing numbers anywhere near that. The 911’s manual take-rate rumored to be around 20% and most other models with the option are far lower.
The manual transmission is becoming a rare thing in the automotive world ad especially in the US. As of 2020 only 12.5 models sold in the US still offer the option and that’s a number that is falling fast. Bucking that trend MINI USA had, until 2017, offered the option on all models. Positioning it as a differentiator, MINI would often proudly point to being the only major brand in the US marketplace to still do so. However that all ended abruptly in 2019.
In the spring of 2019 MotoringFile broke the news that MINI USA would be temporarily eliminating the manual transmission from all models due to a severe lag in emission certification. But it wasn’t long until we confirmed that MINI USA was on target for a March return for the beloved manual. The major hang-up was that the option would be dropped from most models in the US. The one would only be offered on some models in the US.
What Models Are Available with A Manual Transmission?
As of March 2020, production has resumed for MINI Hardtop and Convertible models equipped with manual transmissions. These include the following 2021 model year vehicles;
|#||2021 MINI Hardtop and Convertible Models with Manual Transmissions|
|1.||MINI Cooper 2-door Hardtop|
|2.||MINI Cooper 4-door Hardtop|
|3.||MINI Cooper S 2-door Hardtop|
|4.||MINI Cooper S 4-door Hardtop|
|5.||MINI John Cooper Works 2-door Hardtop|
|6.||MINI Cooper Convertible|
|7.||MINI Cooper S Convertible|
- The high performance 2021 MINI John Cooper Works GP, which comes exclusively with an 8-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission, tailored to handle the car’s 301 horsepower.
- The 2021 model year MINI John Cooper Works Convertible, which exclusively features a standard 8-Speed automatic transmission.
“Fun to Drive is the number one reason why customers choose to purchase a MINI, and many of them enjoy the experience of driving a MINI with a manual transmission. With standard manual transmissions now available on a range of 2021 MINI models, we like to say that when you buy two pedals you get one free!”Patrick McKenna, Head of Product Planning for MINI USA
40% is a huge number and it means that MINI customers are driving demand and likely positively affecting MINI’s future plans for the manual. While we’ve lost many manual models in the US, the heart and soul of the brand is still leading the way.
As a little refresher, here are the models that still offer the manual in the US. Those that do not are crossed-out.
Cooper(eliminated from the US line-up) Cooper All4(eliminated from the US line-up)
- Cooper S
Cooper S All4 JCW
F55 Hardtop Four Door
- Cooper S
F56 Hardtop Two Door
- Cooper S
- Cooper S
Cooper All4 Cooper S Cooper S All4 JCW