“Save the Manuals” has transcended mere meme status and has become a mantra for many enthusiasts desperate to retain the mechanical engagement that comes with shifting gears. Electric vehicles and general laziness have led to a sharp drop in the number of cars offered with manual transmissions in the United States, but some automakers are dedicated to keeping them alive. Mini does its part with a new manual transmission driving school.
Mini dropped the manual from its catalog due to supply chain constraints, but recently announced it would bring the option back for 2023. The automaker will use parent company BMW’s Performance Center in Thermal, Calif. , for lessons, and says the school is open to any driver “seeking the opportunity to learn to drive manually in an engaging and safe atmosphere.”
BMW offers several courses and events at its tracks in California and Spartanburg, South Carolina, including a teen driving school, performance driving lessons, and a higher-speed M driving class that includes time to seat in an M4 GTS. Mini-courses were added in 2016, and the new curriculum focuses on the basics of operating a manual transmission. The program includes time to learn how to find the sticking point, smooth starts and stops, acceleration and vehicle controls. Drivers take a test at the end of the course to assess learning and knowledge.[Image: Mini]
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