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I love Mini. Hell, most motoring enthusiasts love Mini. The Mini Cooper is probably one of the coolest sports cars ever made, and it’s also one of the cheapest. The Mini Cooper was made to be economical, cheap, and, most importantly, fun. It has collected piles of titles, wins, and championships across many various auto racing events. It is for all these reasons and more that we are gutted to report the official death of Mini’s manual gearbox.

Do Mini Coopers come in manual?

“We won’t have a manual, unfortunately,” Wurst told Top Gear at the reveal of the new Mini Cooper. That’s right. The 2025 Mini Cooper won’t have a manual transmission offered. This is sad news, indeed. Mini products have offered a manual option since the company started in 1959. This change represents a paradigm shift in the automotive industry as clearly as any we’ve seen in the past. 

Mini didn’t give up the manual gearbox without a fight, though. Back in May, Mini CEO Stephanie Wurst told Autocar that the brand was 99% sure that the manual transmission wasn’t long for this world. However, an unnamed someone within Mini later told The Drive that “99% isn’t 100%” and that there was still hope for a Future Mini with three pedals. Realistically this hope only pertains to select high-performance models. However, that last stand for the manual mini seems to have failed, as Wurst told Top Gear on Tuesday that the manual gearbox will not be offered in the 2025 Mini lineup. 

Why did Mini drop the manual transmission?

A stainless steel and black manual shifter in a Chevrolet SS.
Gear shifter shifter | General Motors

As heretical as it may sound, for most automakers, it makes plenty of sense to drop the manual. Statistically, very few drivers of younger generations know how to drive a manual car. The older generations that grew up with three pedals are largely tired of the extra work. This has crushed manual transmission sales with customers. Car companies don’t exist to do cool stuff and make us happy; they exist to make money, and manuals ain’t making much money. 

That said, Mini is a bit of an outlier. The customer take rate for a manual JCW Mini is about 45%. That is plenty enough sales to make a case for keeping the manual for a higher-spec enthusiast model, sort of like Porsche does with the 911. More to the point, adding a manual gearbox to a Mini isn’t overly difficult or time-consuming, according to the Mini Insider. “I mean, it doesn’t take much to punch a hole in the floor of a car and put a gearbox in it. But until we get more product info, we won’t know for sure.” 

Does this mean Mini is done racing? 

2025 Mini Cooper EV
2025 Mini Cooper EV | Mini

Despite losing the third pedal, Mini says it isn’t done racing. Motorsport defines the history of Mini. The brand built its name on slinging rocks and killing giants on the track and rally stage. Not only will Mini remain racing in its familiar areas, but the tiny racers are also heading for more electric racing events. 

Although Mini not making a manual car feels like wearing two left shoes, the brand’s move to all-electric production in the coming years makes the move away from the third pedal make sense. 

All that said, the shifting automotive landscape is a tough pill to swallow for those of us who grew up in the old world. The changes, at least many of them, make sense. However, that doesn’t mean they feel good. RIP to Mini’s third pedal. You will be missed.