Mini recently launched its new EV Cooper, with an ICE version to follow shortly. However, even in petrol form, the manual mini is dead.
As always seems to be the case when BMW launches a new generation of Mini (or ‘MINI’, as they insist), there’s been a lot of discontent about the way it looks. Personally, I think the new hatch has quite a cute design, but I know plenty of others consider it to feel ‘unfinished’. Who’d be a designer, eh?
Anyway, that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. Instead, we’re here to talk about the arguably more troubling news that the last ever manual-gearboxed Mini has already been and gone. So, if you want one of these little motors with a stick shift, you’re going to have to turn to the used market.
The future of the Mini
Ever since the early days when everything was still in black and white, the world accepted the Mini as the driving enthusiast’s hatchback of choice. These cars have always been fun to drive (albeit arguably a bit less so now with their increased dimensions), and as everyone knows, fun cars need a manual gearbox option. They just do. Unfortunately, a stick shift doesn’t seem to be on the cards for the latest generation of Cooper. Speaking to Top Gear, Head of MINI Stefanie Wurst said, “We won’t have a manual unfortunately.”
Now, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is a natural side effect of switching to an electric platform. After all, EVs don’t have any need for a manual gearbox. However, let’s not forget that there will still be combustion-engined versions of this car further down the line. In fact, an ICE-powered JCW version remains in the pipeline. Yet, despite that, there’s no place for a manual transmission in any of the new Mini’s guises.
Instead, like many upcoming BMW products, the new Mini range will instead focus on characterful cabin spaces and appeal through exterior design. Depending on who you ask, the new Mini isn’t off to a great start in regard to that latter point, but to get more of an idea about the former, check out this showcase we put out recently on the Mini’s new interior.