So often we’re told that the US market is all about automatics. MINI USA has given us some stats that prove that is simply not correct when it comes to MINI’s performance cars. Even with the Countryman and Paceman included, JCWs in the US were equipped with the manual transmission 57% of the time in 2014. And with the R5X cars we here that number was as high as 75% Since they’ve offered both.

With the F56 JCW launching in auto form, for the first few months we expect this number to drop dramatically for 2015. What’s worse, because so many people drove the auto and didn’t get a chance to sample the manual, there are likely many people out there who would have been much happier with the manual. That to us a major problem. MINI is the only automaker in the US to offer a manual on every car across every trim level. And at MotoringFile it’s our goal not just to support that but to evangelize the idea of old school motoring that the manual transmission evokes. Yes, the new automatic is quite a bit better than before and yes faster than the current manual. But speed and convenience has never been what the MINI has been about. At its core the MINI is about the driving exprience. And there’s nothing you can equip with the car that adds more to the experience than a manual transmission.

Sure we’ve driven both the auto and manual. Yes it’s miles better than before. But there’s no comparison when it comes to driver engagement with the 2015 JCW.