While manual transmissions have long been a dying breed, MINI hasn’t thrown in the towel yet. After dropping the three-pedal option from their lineup earlier this year, the company announced that manuals are back on the menu as of this month.
Buyers are now able to order a hardtop Cooper, Coper S, or John Cooper Works model with a stick. Convertible, Clubman, Countryman buyers will be left wanting if they want to row their own gears, as no manual option is available for droptops or the long-roof variants.
Mini had initially pulled the plug on the manual model earlier this year because of supply chain issues, which were apparently tied to Ukraine-supplied wiring harnesses. Thankfully, those issues have since been resolved to the point that the brand can offer the less popular but coveted manual model again.
Mini’s take rate for manuals currently hovers around 11 percent for their lineup but is higher among performance models like the John Cooper Works, of which roughly 40 percent are manual versions. Though automatics still make up the lion’s share of Mini’s sales in the U.S., the company did not want to lose its enthusiast customers.
Mini also signaled its commitment to promoting manual sales by announcing the launch of the Mini Manual Driving School at the BMW Performance Center in Thermal, California. The school is open to any driver that is looking to learn how to drive stick with an experienced instructor.
The school will incorporate a classroom session and time on the test track and is designed to help drivers build a foundation for improving their skills and get comfortable with shifting their own gears. Students will learn abilities like finding the friction point and smooth starts and will also be tested on a timed course to see what they’ve learned.
At a time where automakers could use every excuse under the sun to drop manuals from their order sheets, its nice to see that there’s a few companies that want to keep the flame burning.