While a Mini Cooper with anything but a stick might sound like heresy to many of us, a new seven-speed Steptronic dual clutch transmission will start showing up in Minis starting in 2018. The DCT will be an option in the Mini 3 door, Mini 5 door, and Mini Convertible, but unfortunately hasn’t been confirmed for U.S. availability. We reached out to Mini asking if it was coming Stateside and have not heard back.
The seven-speed DCT joins a six-speed manual and a six-speed Steptronic automatic in the Mini lineup. Mini says it will be available in “select engine types” in its press release, but doesn’t specify which engines. The new shifter bears a resemblance to the ones found in DCT-equipped models of Mini’s parent company, BMW. Speaking of BMW, a BMW exec just said earlier this year that dual-clutch transmissions are on their way out. I guess Mini still seemed like a good application for a DCT. Like a BMW shifter, you pop it in gear and the shifter returns to its spot in the middle of the shift pattern. There’s a park button towards the top of the shifter so no actual shifting of the shifter is required to park the car.
A neat trick that DCT-equipped Minis will do is communicate with the in-dash navigation if the car is so equipped. The map routing data communicates with the DCT and the car will adjust its shift programming based on where the navigation screen is guiding you. For example, if it sees you’re approaching a turn, the transmission will downshift early.
Since its so fancy, we have a feeling the DCT will be optional on the higher trims of the Minis in which it will be available. It’s hard to recommend anything other than a manual transmission in a fun little car with go-cart handling like a Mini, but the seven-speed Steptronic DCT looks pretty slick. Here’s hoping it makes its way to our shores.