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RIP: the manual Mini Cooper is officially dead

Mini boss Stefanie Wurst confirms that a manual gearbox isn’t in the plan with this new-gen Cooper

Published: 05 Sep 2023

Mini pulled the wraps off the all-new Cooper late last week, and although we’ve only seen it in fully electric form so far, we know that an almost identical looking petrol-powered Cooper (that’s the new model name for the smallest Mini and no longer a trim level) will be along soon.

But hang on a second, because we’ve got some bad news! It looks as though the manual gearboxed Mini hatch is finally dead. Rest in peace, our little friend. 

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“We won’t have a manual unfortunately,” Mini boss Stefanie Wurst told TG at a recent reveal event.

That means the JCW 1to6 Edition (based on the previous gen Hatch) was indeed the final manual Mini, with that car celebrating the DIY-gearboxed John Cooper Works that ran at the Nürburgring 24hrs this year

Just because the manual gearbox is going, doesn’t mean this is the end for Mini in motorsport. “I think meeting Charlie [Cooper, grandson of one John Cooper] made me confident about continuing with motorsport,” said Wurst. “Performance still helps to sell cars.” 

Cooper was part of the driver lineup in that manual JCW earlier this year, but he’s also currently attempting to transform the Cooper Bikes brand with a range of e-bikes. “He’s an entrepreneur and he’s into electric bikes,” continues Wurst. “And with his heritage – being the carrier of the name – but then also being into electromobility, it’s the perfect bridge. So, we plan to go with him into electric motorsport as well.”

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Very interesting. It would seem that no decision has been made on which series Mini might join just yet though. “For me it’s just really difficult to judge right now because not all new forms of electric motorsport have been successful,” says Wurst. “Which is a good platform for the future? We’ll see what evolves and plan to join something.” 

So there you have it, the future of Mini includes motorsport but not manuals. Rallycross, electric touring cars, Formula E? What do we think Mini might go for?

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