What is it?
For the first time in its 17-year history, the BMW-era Mini hatchback is being offered with a dual-clutch transmission (DCT).
While the first-generation Mini used a CVT automatic transmission, more recent versions have utilised torque converter units as the alternative to a manual. From early next year, however, a seven-speed DCT will be offered in the UK on One, Cooper and Cooper D models, with further versions to follow suit later in the year.
Mini hasn't offered a dual-clutch transmission until this point because they’ve typically been bigger, heavier and more complicated than conventional automatics. Now, though, drivetrain specialist Getrag has developed an electronically - rather than hydraulically - actuated twin-clutch unit that’s as compact as a regular auto.
Mini says it offers faster gearshifts than the outgoing six-speed automatic, as well as modestly improved fuel efficiency, thanks in part to the additional ratio. It too will carry a £1345 premium over the manual.
For the time being, the new DCT will not be available with steering wheel or column-mounted paddles. Manual shifts can be made using the gear selector, though, and paddles will become available on sportier models later on. The new transmission is rated to a maximum torque output of 221lb ft, which means it will eventually be offered on all but the 2.0-litre diesel models and top-spec John Cooper Works.