Give us a gear lever, not those paddles on the wheel

We won’t say it’s disappearing, but the conventional idea of a manual transmission for sporting automobiles has undergone some revision in our recent lifetimes. The once-commonplace notion of an upright shift lever and three pedals has kind of gone by the boards in a lot of places. Instead, your car may be equipped with an automatic transmission that has a manual mode, controlled either by sequentially moving the lever back and forth or more recently, by upshift and downshift paddles on either side of the steering wheel. Some of us long for doing it the old-fashioned way, rowing a shifter through an H-pattern and dancing on the clutch with your left foot.

You will undoubtedly be pleased to learn, then, that MINI, the British-cum-German guardian of motoring as it used to be, informs that production resumed last month on its 2021 series of vehicles, including seven models offered with conventional manual shifting. This image of a MINI Cooper S could shows the 2021 dash treatment and the shift lever that’s offered on Hardtop and Convertible models. Manual transmission offerings for the MINI Clubman and Countryman models, the more wagon-like entries in the bunch, will be confirmed as their 2021 production schedule gets underway later this spring. The exceptions to this epiphany for 2021 are the MINI John Cooper Works GP, which comes exclusively with an eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission that’s tailored to handle the car’s 301hp; and the MINI John Cooper Works Convertible, which exclusively features a standard seven-speed Sport Dual-Clutch automatic transmission.

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