What was once almost certain has now become a certainty. Earlier this year we reported that MINI was likely to cease all manual production in when the F56 makes way for the refreshed F66 ICE MINI Cooper, Cooper S and JCW models. However we now unfortunately confirm that the manual will indeed be dead when F56 production ends.

This week Head of MINI, Stephanie Wurst official told Top Gear that “We won’t have a manual unfortunately,” in response to the question about the manual continuing with the F66 MINIs. That means MINI will be offering only one transmission across all its cars moving forward – a 7 speed dual clutch transmission.

mini manual transmission dead

Why Is MINI Killing the Manual?

It’s as shocking as it feel inevitable. Shocking because of the manual’s continued popularity in markets like the US. Currently 44% of F56 JCW hardtops sold in the US are equipped with the manual transmission. Clearly on some models and with some buyers it’s a very popular choice. It’s also a huge part of the brand’s history and slots well into the MINI’s core philosophy of creating cars that are engaging the drive. 

Why would MINI eliminate manuals despite the fact that the F66 (the replacement of for the F56) is mechanically identical and could easily carry over the current Getrag 6 speed? It’s likely about simplifying drivetrains components and cutting costs within manufacturing. And for Europe (where CO2 targets are much more stringent) the manual is slightly dirtier. 

However in markets like US, where CO2 targets don’t have the same impact, why not continue to offer it? That’s likely down to the business case. Offering it one country means that the volumes go down dramatically which means MINI is spending more per unit and MINI would lose a chance to simplify the production process just has it’s about to get more complex with new models.

mini manual transmission

The Replacement – The Getrag 7 Speed DCT

This Getrag 7 Speed DCT will be an evolution of the current one found in the F56 range. In our testing of the current DCT we’ve gotten to know it as a seamless shifting auto that’s slower to manually change gears than we’d want. We’ve been told through sources that MINI is improving some of that sluggish reaction through software on future versions.

mini manual transmission

Last Manual Transmission Production Dates

The MINI 1to6 Edition is billed last the last manual transmission MINI for several markets. But the reality is that many markets globally will retain the ability to order a manual on the F55, F56 and F57 until production end in March of 2024. That gives manual fans a chance to specify and order the exact manual transmission MINI they want. If you’re curious, here’s what we would order.

If the 1to6 Edition is to your liking then you should get on with ordering one. In many markets globally they’re sold out and others (like the US) the supply seems to dwindling.

We’ll have more on the death of the manual transmission and what it means for those of us who love them and the MINI brand itself. Until then join us in pouring one out for what we’d consider the single most important option on an ICE MINI Cooper.