Mini reintroduces stick-shifts to the US market.
After a year of absence, BMW's British-born tiny-car brand, Mini, is reintroducing the six-speed manual to the US market. That may seem like a small thing given the stick-shift's dwindling popularity across the market as a whole, but being a bit of a niche enthusiast brand, Mini has a higher manual transmission take rate than most. The six-speed manual accounts for nearly half of Cooper S Hardtop sales in the US, for example.
With that in mind, Mini released a full list of all seven models that will resume offering a six-speed stick in the US. Moreover, Mini says that additional optional-manual models could soon follow.
For now, the list of cars Mini will offer with a manual in the US consists of the Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S, both 2- and 4-door Hardtop versions; the Cooper and Cooper S Convertible models; and of course, the 2-door Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop.
Left off of the list are the 2021 Mini John Cooper Works GP, which is shifted exclusively by an eight-speed automatic designed to handle its high torque output, and the Mini John Cooper Works Convertible, which only offers a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Meanwhile, several Mini Clubman and Countryman models are also expected to join the list, but Mini is waiting until later in the spring to announce which variants will offer a stick, when full 2021 model year info is announced.
"Fun to Drive is the number one reason why customers choose to purchase a MINI, and many of them enjoy the experience of driving a MINI with a manual transmission," says Mini's Head of Product Planning in the US, Patrick McKenna. "With standard manual transmissions now available on a range of 2021 MINI models, we like to say that when you buy two pedals you get one free!"
Mini pulled the manual transmission temporarily as the company issued a handful of technical updates earlier in the 2020 model year, aimed primarily at keeping emissions in check. With that out of the way, we're happy to have it back.