Driving a car with a manual gearbox may be a dying art but the BMW Group is doing its best to keep the clutch pedal alive. We’re not just talking about the M division with its performance cars, but also MINI. After starting production of the Cooper, Cooper S, and John Cooper Works 2-door hardtops for the US market in November 2022, four additional models with a stick shift will be offered with a do-it-yourself ‘box:
- Cooper Convertible;
- Cooper S Convertible;
- Cooper 4-Door Hardtop;
- Cooper S 4-Door Hardtop.
MINI USA is already taking orders for the four new models, with production scheduled to commence on March 1. As it stands, the company is currently offering seven models in the United States that allow drivers to row their own gears. If you haven’t mastered this skill yet, a $499 course is now available at the Manual Driving School organized at the BMW Group Performance Center West in Thermal, CA.
The addition of four new models equipped with a manual transmission follows a study commissioned by MINI USA about what people think of three-pedal cars. The online survey conducted last month among a sample of 1,012 adults shows 63% of the respondents believe driving a car with a manual gearbox is an important life skill. “Fun to drive” was chosen as the most popular characteristic associated with a manual transmission vehicle.
While that may seem encouraging, the reality is only 24% of the people surveyed said they own a car with a manual gearbox. 49% of Gen Z respondents said they didn’t know how to drive stick shift. In addition, only 53% of all respondents said they are willing to learn this skill.
The same study showed 42% of all women indicated they didn’t know how to operate a car with a manual gearbox. The silver lining is 67% of younger respondents aged 18-34 were the most willing to learn.
Source: MINI USA