Mini's Manual Transmission Is Making Its Big Comeback

Illustration for article titled Mini's Manual Transmission Is Making Its Big Comeback
Photo: Mini

Mini was underrated for years as one of the few automakers offering a stick on any car, let alone more than one. There was crisis for the 2020 model year when almost no new manuals were offered, but they’re finally coming back.


Mini claims the manual dipped out for the 2020 model year over updated components to the fuel system that required more testing than anticipated, which is why the cars have come back in just a year already. But I’m more suspicious that this was a major research project to test the market influence of a manual transmission. Can I prove it? Absolutely not, so we’ll move on.

Mini has confirmed the manual transmission will return as standard equipment on most of its 2021 lineup. Here’s the cars included, from Roadshow:

Mini on Thursday confirmed that manual transmissions will be standard equipment on most of its 2021 models. So far, this includes the Mini Cooper and Cooper S Hardtop (in two- and four-door specs), the Cooper Convertible and the John Cooper Works Hardtop. The new Sidewalk Edition comes with a stick, too.

For the larger Clubman and Countryman models, Mini says those will get manual transmissions, too, and that the details “will be confirmed once 2021 model year information for these models is release later this spring,” according to a statement.

That leaves the Mini SE electric car, Clubman and Countryman All4 all-wheel-drive models, Mini John Cooper Works GP super hot hatch, and also the John Cooper Works Convertible for some reason. If you really want a ‘vert with a stick, get the Sidewalk Edition I guess.

The only issue going forward now is the fact that a lot of Mini’s lineup is fairly pricey and not many people will jump at an opportunity to unload that kind of cash right now. But they’re fun cars—some of the better cars BMW makes right now if you can get over front-wheel drive. More people should drive Minis.

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik


Rusty Shackleford

I never thought I would own (lease) a Mini, much less a Countryman, but here we are. The JCW Tune Kit with the exhaust with flap, some fifteen52 wheels, and black trim. That said, I am turning it in next year for either the new GTI or a used M240i, manual of course. I would buy it, but a serious accident last year means that it isn’t worth buying. Wheels and black trim will be an easy sell since I have the original parts still.

Oh yeah, I kept the wheels at 18" and kept the sidewall!