Mini has announced the return of the manual gearbox for selected models in the USA. To celebrate the joy of rowing your own gears, the carmaker is launching a new Mini Manual Driving School programme designed to help those who are less familiar with the three pedals.
The Mini Manual Driving School will be located at the BMW Performance Centre in Thermal, California, where a team of experienced instructors will guide their “learner” drivers through a theoretical portion of the course in the classroom, before setting out onto the test track for an actual hands-on experience, much like an actual driving course.
Mini says the course is designed to “create a foundation” for drivers to build up their comfort levels driving a manual transmission – so experienced drivers might want to look elsewhere.
The curriculum will focus on things such as vehicle controls, finding the friction point, as well as practising smooth starts, stops, and acceleration. Although, participants will get the chance to test out their skills at the conclusion of the course on a timed course.
According to Mini, the course “welcomes a new generation of manual drivers, while allowing others to sharpen their skills after years of driving automatic”. The carmaker adds that consumers in America have ranked Mini as the “most fun to drive brand” for over a decade, which is also why they decided to bring back the manual transmission, something their owners have “long valued”.
Here in Malaysia, every single Mini – including the John Cooper Works models – is only offered with an automatic transmission. Would a course like this help Malaysian customers rediscover the joy of driving a manual? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!