Learn manual transmission fundamentals from Mini

By J.A. Ackley
Nov 4, 2022 | Mini, save the manuals, Mini Manual Driving School

Photography Credit: Courtesy Mini

The folks at Mini USA love the third pedal so much that they’re going to put on a school for it. That’s right, a driving school for using a stick, dubbed the Mini Manual Driving School.

A lot of people are intimidated by the manual transmission,” said Rah Mahtani, Mini USA brand communications manager. “Many people don’t feel confident enough to get behind the wheel of a manual.”

Mahtani said that 96% of the cars sold today come with an automatic. He added that their take rate for the manual is in the single digits. However, there are signs of hope for those who love a stick. Mini USA recently announced that the manual transmission will return to select models of its line.

Our John Cooper Works Hardtop has about a 30% to 40% take rate,” Mahtani said. “We think there’s an opportunity in the marketplace. There are more people than know how to drive a manual than do every day.”

Mini makes it easier than ever to drive a manual, too.

We have very forgiving manual transmissions overall,” said Mahtani. “The clutch is very forgiving. [They’re] easy to shift. We also have Hill Assist, so you’re not going to stall when you’re going up a hill.”

The Mini Manual Driving School will debut during the first quarter of 2023. The BMW Group Performance Center West in Thermal Springs, California, exclusively hosts the half-day course.

Training focuses on vehicle controls, finding the friction point, practicing smooth starts, stops, acceleration and more. At the end of the day, students will be tested on a timed course to assess their driving knowledge.

With the school, Mini USA hopes to develop a few more drivers that are passionate about that third pedal.

Once you learn to drive a manual, you forge a deeper bond with the car,” Mahtani said. “And it’s exciting and fun.”

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
11/7/22 12:03 p.m.


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