A few weeks back we covered the startling rumor that MINI will be ceasing manual transmission production in March of 2024. That begs the question – what single transmission will MINI put in its cars? We now have confirmation from sources that MINI will indeed offer only one transmission at launch of the F66 and that will extend to the F65 five door, F67 convertible and all JCW models.
MINI will be offering a revised version of the familiar seven-speed dual clutch transmission across all MINI Cooper models. Also gone is the traditional gear selector we’ve become used to. MINI is moving all controls for the F66 (like all of its new models) too the dash or the large OLED screen.
Thankfully the gear selector will still be physical control, placed just below the large screen. The selector will be a toggle just to the left of the power control (above). This will be coupled by paddle shifters which will be optional on Cooper models and standard on Cooper S and JCW models.
The revised dual clutch transmission is just like the current one in that it combines two partial transmissions in a single housing. The core element of the system consists of two oil-cooled wet clutches: one of these is responsible for the even transmission ratios (2, 4, 6) while the other is for the uneven ratios (1, 3, 5, 7) and reverse. During travel, one of the two clutches is open and the other is closed. They interact when the driver shifts up or down: opening one clutch activates closure of the second at the same time.
If the MINI is accelerated in third gear, for example, power transmission occurs by means of the relevant clutch and the partial gear for the uneven transmission ratios. At the same time, the transmission control ensures that the next gear required – in this case fourth gear – is already engaged in the partial transmission responsible for the even transmission ratios. All that needs to be done to shift up is to open the clutch of the third gear and close that of the fourth gear. This happens simultaneously without any interruption of pulling power – and if anything takes less time than it would to activate the clutch pedal when driving with manual transmission.
All that said the current MINI DCT isn’t known for lightening fast shift times. Even in the Cooper S we’ve found it to sluggish compared to BMW’s excellent ZF automatic. Sources tell us that this is a point of work from MINI engineers and we should see some subtle improvements thanks to new software calibration.
What do you think of MINI going all dual clutch? Is it a good move or should MINI retain the manual?