MINI is Killing the Manual But There’s a Chance to Buy One before They’re Gone for Good.
What was once unthinkable has finally happened. MINI has announced that the manual is ending production. Earlier this year we reported that MINI had made the decision to end manual production in when the F56 makes way for the refreshed F66 ICE MINI Cooper, Cooper S and JCW models. When is it happening and how can you still order one? We’ve got answers.
Why Is MINI Killing the Manual? The Answer Will Surprise you.
First let’s give you some context. It’s as shocking as it is inevitable. Shocking because of the manual’s continued popularity in markets like the US. Since the announcement on MotoringFile, manual take rates of the F56 JCW hardtop is at 52%. 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 theoretically carry over the current Getrag 6 speed? It’s about simplifying drivetrains components, cutting costs within manufacturing and for Europe (where CO2 targets are much more stringent) making MINIs pollute less. Well sort of.
The manual isn’t necessarily dirtier than the auto. However the way cars are tested for CO2 emissions makes the manual particularly vulnerable. Automakers can tightly control C02 emissions with an auto because there’s so much control to be had with software. The very nature of a manual is that the driver has control and thus there are more variables at play during testing – almost a limitless number. Some of those variables produce higher C02 emissions in testing – despite the fact that a manual is often not any more dirty than an automatic MINI. This is forcing European automakers hands and causing many to eliminate the option.
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. But more than that the amount of time and money that would be spent to test, validate and federalize a manual option for one market simply doesn’t make sense at the prices that MINIs are sold for.
How You Can Still Buy a MINI Manual Transmission MINI
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 February of 2024. That gives manual fans a chance to specify and order the exact manual transmission MINI they want.
If you considering ordering a manual MINI, here’s how to get one. Don’t wait until the last minute. There’s already a high demand and that will likely get higher. If you have a good relationship with a MINI dealer, you can typically order a month out of next month’s production. But in this case we’d strongly recommend ordering your car in late December or early January at the latest. Verifying you have a production slot with your sales representative is critical as once it’s gone, you’ll have no recourse.
If the 1to6 Edition is to your liking then you should get on with ordering one right now. In many markets globally they’re sold out and others (like the US) the supply seems to dwindling.
Oh and if you’re curious, here’s what we would order.