Most Mini Models Will Get the Manual Transmission Again for 2021

Except for in its sportiest and most powerful model. Ook?

Bernhard Filser

The number of new vehicles that can be ordered with a manual transmission in the United States has dwindled steadily over the years, to the point that it’s legitimately hard to find a new car with the tried-and-true stick-shift transmission. BMW's odd-child Mini appeared to have given up on manuals in North America at first, but today it confirmed that the stick would make a return for the 2021 model year. And while this is good news, it's also puzzling news.

Mini says that it will release seven different cars with manual transmissions for the 2021 model year, as you can see on the list below. However, it's sportiest and most powerful model, the Mini Cooper John Cooper Works GP is retaining its eight-speed automatic unit because "it's tailored to handle the car’s 301 horsepower"—whatever that means.

  • Mini Cooper 2-door Hardtop
  • Mini Cooper 4-door Hardtop
  • Mini Cooper S 2-door Hardtop
  • Mini Cooper S 4-door Hardtop
  • Mini John Cooper Works 2-door Hardtop 
  • Mini Cooper Convertible
  • Mini Cooper S Convertible
AP Images

That list represents a majority of Mini’s vehicles, but the number could grow even further as the company says it will confirm availability for the slightly chubbier but more practical Clubman and Countryman models later this year. Cars equipped with Mini’s ALL4 all-wheel-drive system will also continue to be offered only with an automatic gearbox.

“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!” said Mini's head of product planning, Patrick McKenna in a press release, making us wonder what they're drinking at Mini's HQ right about now.

The move isn’t all that surprising for the BMW subsidiary, as one of its selling points is that its cars are fun to drive, but at this point, we'd bet that there are plenty of people who would gladly pay for the third pedal. Other brands like Volkswagen have also committed to offering a manual option for as long as the vehicles continue to sell.

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