Coinciding the the launch of its Manual School, MINI USA is announcing the return of more manual transmission models for 2023. On the occasion of the revised models MINI USAhas done some research that shows the surprisingly high interest in young drivers wanting to learn how to drive manuals.
The return of the manual models to the US marks some normalization within the production process for MINI as it begins to rebound from the constant series of world events that have effected production at the Oxford Plant. While the F56 MINI hatch has been available with manuals since this fall, MINI USA is expanding the option to all small MINIs sold in the US. Here’s a full rundown of what is now offered with a manual:
- F56 MINI Cooper 2-door Hardtop (November 2022)
- F55 MINI Cooper 4-door Hardtop (March 2023)
- F56 MINI Cooper S 2-door Hardtop (November 2022)
- F55 MINI Cooper S 4-door Hardtop (March 2023)
- F56 MINI John Cooper Works 2-door Hardtop (November 2022)
- F57 MINI Cooper Convertible (March 2023)
- F57 MINI Cooper S Convertible (March 2023)
As we’ve reported previously the MINI Clubman and Countryman (which are both in their last year of production) will not be offered with a manual moving forward. The with the next generation Clubman being discontinued for 2024 we’ve now seen the last of manuals in that model. While the Countryman will live on, it too will cease to offer a manual transmission across its model range.
Official Release – MINIUSA Announces Return of More Manual Transmission Models
Offering a fun and engaging experience behind the wheel, driving a manual transmission car is an art that many drivers are still familiar with, but few have the opportunity to practice today. To better understand consumer insights around manual transmissions, MINI USA recently conducted a consumer survey to find out just how people feel about manual transmissions today. Commissioned by Engine’s CARAVAN®, the survey found a few indicators that were both surprising and optimistic that show manual driving still has an opportunity to shine.
Validating the appeal of driving a manual transmission car, an impressive 63% of all respondents agree that learning how to drive a manual transmission is a rite of passage and an important life skill. Additionally, “fun to drive” was the top characteristic respondents most associated with a manual transmission vehicle. However, despite this, less than a quarter (24%) of all respondents indicated they own a manual-equipped car.
Regarding consumers’ knowledge of how to drive a manual, nearly half of all Gen Z (49%) and 42% of all women indicated they did not know how to drive a car with a manual transmission. When asked if they were willing to learn, more than half of all respondents (53%) indicated they are interested in learning. Impressively, two thirds (67%) of younger respondents aged 18-34 were most eager to learn to drive a manual transmission car.
These results show a clear opportunity to impart the fun and engaging element of driving a manual to current and upcoming generations of drivers. It comes at a time when MINI USA is announcing the return of more models available with manual transmissions. As of November 2022 production, MINI USA announced the return of manuals in its Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works 2-door hardtops. MINI is now pleased to announce four additional models that will be available with a manual transmission. They include:
- MINI Cooper Convertible
- MINI Cooper S Convertible
- MINI Cooper 4-Door Hardtop
- MINI Cooper S 4-Door Hardtop
Ordering for these four additional models have opened effective this week, and will begin production March 1, bringing the total count of MINI models offered with a manual transmission to seven.
Offering drivers the opportunity to learn to drive a manual, MINI USA in conjunction with the BMW Group Performance Center West in Thermal, CA, announced plans in November to launch a dedicated school. Effective February 8th, 2023, registration for the MINI Manual Driving School is now open with the course available at a cost of $499.
This school is designed to welcome a new generation of manual drivers while allowing others to sharpen their skills after years of driving automatic. The school creates a foundation for drivers to build their comfort with driving manual transmission vehicles, with a curriculum that focuses on vehicle controls, finding the friction point, practicing smooth starts, stops, acceleration, and more. At the conclusion of the course, participants will be tested on a timed course to assess the driver’s knowledge.
To learn more and register for the MINI Manual Driving School, see here.