The trend continues in the industry: Mini will no longer be offering a manual gearbox with its new Cooper.
This is significant news, as the driving pleasure associated with this type of transmission was a Mini signature. It's as if the company is switching part of its DNA.
In an interview with Top Gear during the Munich Motor Show, Mini brand CEO Stefanie Wurst confirmed that the new gas-fed Cooper won’t be offered with a third pedal. The same goes for the electric version, needless to say, although we know that some manufacturers are looking into the possibility of a manual gearbox with simulated gear changes for EVs.
The new Cooper is expected in 2025, but a firm launch date is not yet announced. We know that German models commonly enter the market in Europe before debuting in North America.
The company has also just presented the new-generation Countryman SUV, due for launch for the 2025 model year. A smaller SUV, named Aceman, is also expected for 2025 to complete Mini's "new" model range.
The retirement of the manual transmission comes as no surprise given that BMW has been going down this road for years.
In fact, as recently as last June, a senior company executive stated that the dual-clutch automatic transmission was also on the way out, as conventional torque-converter automatic transmissions are better suited to the transition to electric vehicles.
Motor Authority opined today that for younger buyers, the manual gearbox doesn't have the same appeal as it does for older ones, but that doesn't mean there's no interest. Earlier this year, Mini published the results of a survey which showed that almost half (49 percent) of all respondents fitting into the Generation Z category (born between 1997 and 2010, roughly speaking) don’t know how to drive a car with a manual gearbox. When asked if they were willing to learn, 53 percent said they were interested, which is still significant. Including all those aged up to 34, the proportion climbed to 67 percent.
But times change...