Driving a car with three pedals can be challenging for those who got their driver’s license in an automatic. MINI is here to help, offering a manual driving course in California, as a way of celebrating the return of the manual gearbox option in the US lineup.
The MINI Manual Driving School is located at the BMW Performance Center in Thermal, California. There, a team of experienced instructors will guide participants through the theoretical side of things inside the classroom before offering a hands-on driving experience on the test track.
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The course is focused on vehicle controls, finding the friction point in the clutch, and practicing smooth starts/stops/acceleration, alongside other fun and challenging tasks. After the drivers build up confidence in this protected environment, there get tested on a timed course in order to graduate from the MINI Manual Driving School.
According to MINI, the initiative “welcomes a new generation of manual drivers while allowing others to sharpen their skills after years of driving automatic”. The company suggests that MINI owners have “long valued the manual transmission models” which is why they brought back this option in the US market as a brand centered around driving pleasure.
Starting in November, the two-door Hatch MINI Cooper, Cooper S, and JCW models are offered with a six-speed manual transmission in the US as an alternative to the eight-speed auto. It remains to be seen how many MINI buyers will opt for the three-pedal version at a time when manual cars are gradually disappearing from the lineups of mainstream automakers.