Mini won’t offer a manual transmission in its redesigned Cooper hatchback, which means the transmission is officially dead at a brand that until now was one of its strongest proponents.
Speaking with Top Gear at this week’s 2023 Munich auto show, where Mini showed off its new Cooper in electric guise, brand boss Stefanie Wurst confirmed neither the electric version nor the yet-to-be-revealed gas version will offer the option of a manual.
The new Cooper arrives as a 2025 model but exact timing for the start of sales in the U.S. hasn’t been announced. A redesigned Countryman has also been revealed for the 2025 model year, and a smaller crossover to be called the Aceman is also on track to arrive for the 2025 model year to complete the next-generation Mini lineup.
The death of the manual at Mini isn’t a huge surprise as the brand in May rolled out a special 1to6 Edition version of its outgoing hatch as a celebration of the manual transmission.
A senior executive at Mini’s BMW parent company also said in June that both the manual transmission and dual-clutch automatic are on their way out, as conventional torque converter-based automatics are better suited for the EV transition.
Mini earlier this year published the results of a survey, which showed that nearly half (49%) of all Gen Z respondents indicated they didn’t know how to drive a manual. When asked if they were willing to learn, 53% of the Gen Z respondents indicated they were interested in learning how to row their own gears. That proportion grows when all ages up to 34 are counted; in this case 67% said they were eager to learn.
To cater to individuals looking to learn how to drive stick, Mini has been running a manual transmission driving course since last fall at the BMW West Coast driving school located at the Thermal Club private racetrack in California. It isn’t clear whether the course will stick around now that the brand is ditching the manual.