While automotive journalists have called in recent years for their industry and consumers to “save the manuals," their campaigns for manual transmissions have fallen mostly on deaf ears.
Except at MINI.
No surprise. The take rate for a stick shift in a Mini is said to be 18% to 20%, and in John Cooper Works models, it's more like 40%. The figure for the auto industry in general is 1.4%, meaning that driving stick is all but a lost art — unless you're driving a Mini, or say, a VW GTI or Golf R.
In a presentation this week detailing the changes and specifications of MINIs for the 2024 model year, one revelation stands out: additional hardtop and convertible models that can be ordered with stick shifts. Specifically, the list includes MINI Cooper convertible, the Cooper S ragtop, the Cooper four-door hardtop and four-door Cooper S. Production of those cars is scheduled to begin in March.
In November, MINI USA, which is part of the BMW organization, announced the return of manuals in its Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works 2-door hardtops.
Here's a pricing breakdown:
Regarding other updates announced, MINI will continue to offer “special” editions — Untamed, Untold and Resolute — that launched a year ago and received additional enhancements in November that included new body colors, interior upholsteries, and engine variants. These three editions can be had on the respective models equipped with the Iconic Trim.
MINI also says it will reintroduce the base Classic Trim to all Hardtop, Clubman, and Countryman models, and the Signature Trim will feature MINI Navigation as included equipment, with Advanced Real Time Traffic Information built in.
In December, the company introduced a pair of tricked-out convertibles named the "Seaside Edition" that can be optioned in Nanuq White or Caribbean Aqua colors. Those models should be hitting dealers right about now, MINI says.