The 3rd Generation MINI Cooper (known as the F56) is ending production and with it the manual transmission. Replacing it will be the F66, an almost entirely new MINI Cooper that will be exclusively internal combustion and equipped with a DCT. But today we’re here to talk about the F56 and how you can grab one of the last ones (and a manual).

How to Buy One of the Last Manual MINI Coopers

Much like ordering a Clubman (which we detailed earlier this week), we’d recommend not waiting until the last moment. Yes production will go until February. However part availability might start to dwindle which could eliminate some options and even models.

So the first step is immediately getting in touch with your favorite MINI store. The second is to spec your car and get it into the ordering system asap. While production should continue into February, it’s unclear what part shortages might start to appear as production winds down.

If it were us ordering a Clubman we would want to get our order in no later than the end of December. That should ensure that options, colors and models are all still available.

Another pro-tip as well. If you’re curious about things like roof racks and rally lights, even accessories will eventually of out of stock. We’d encourage you to pick those up over the next year if not sooner.

Why is MINI Killing the Manual?

Why would MINI eliminate manuals despite having over a 50% take rate in the US on JCw models? And making the case seem even more straight forward is the fact that the F66 (the replacement of for the F56) is nearly mechanically identical. According to our sources 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.

The F56 MINI Cooper Replacement

The F66 will replace the F56 and will be the last internal combustion MINI Cooper ever. While it’s based on the F56, it will look and feel almost entirely like a new car. However it all do without the much loved manual transmission. Production will start in March which means Europe and the UK should see it towards the end of that month with US sales starting in Q2 of 2024.

We’ll have much more on the F66 soon but in the meantime head to the MotoringFile F66 section to get up to speed on MINI’s new Cooper.