Guys, guys, guys, guys, guys! Holy shit, I bought a car with an automatic transmission! Can you believe it? WTF brand of artisanal crack was I smoking when that happened. Like, seriously, what the actual (delete expletive)?!?

Dear reader & listener,

You weren’t dreaming. One of the loudest members of Team Manual Transmission (TMT) has actually gone the other way and purchased a car with an automatic transmission. A MINI no less. With an automatic.

(Sorry, I am still slightly coming to grips with this myself)

Since 1995, I have only owned 3 cars with an automatic, and the new R59 is one of them. And, if I’m honest, I am having some struggles with it. Which I will list for you now, and in no particular order.

I think I’m going to stall

When coming to a stop, I’m still amazed that the car doesn’t stall because I did not depress the clutch. Of course, this MINI doesn’t have a clutch, but my brain doesn’t know that. Yet.

Power in the corners

Or, rather, a lack of power in the corners. Halfway through a corner I get on the gas and acceleration doesn’t start until I have fully exited said corner. I have yet to test this with the sport button on and the shifter in the left hand position, but in full auto this is how it works. Not going to lie, this is taking some getting used to.

Hard acceleration is awesome.

Please allow me to remember the feeling of having more than 120HP. Even with the A/C on, this MINI can boogie. Really getting on it, in a straight line, is a hoot! Nice that I don’t have to worry about shifts and can keep both hands on the wheel.

Keeping both hands on the wheel in a corner

Speaking of, I’m still not used to taking corners without having to deal with a shift before or after said corner. I’m hoping I don’t pull a cars and coffee style spin out in front of a Dunkin Donuts or anything.


Right. When I stop, need to put the transmission into the spot marked P.


Right, if the car is in park, I don’t have to sit in the parking lot with my foot on the brake while I put on my sunglasses or turn on my music. See above.


Again, if I’m honest, an automatic is better for my daily crawl. I’m less frustrated because you drive like an idiot and make me have to continually row the gears.

I’m still a better driver than you

Let’s face it, the automatic transmission has made the American driver a lazy pile of crap that likes to tail gate, drive with both feet (accelerate with the brake lights on is still my favorite) and stop 4 car lengths back so they can creep up, 4 inches at a time. These are all problems that I thought were due to the automatic transmission. But, you know what, they aren’t. I drive an automatic and don’t do any of those things. Oddly enough, I drive pretty much the same as I did with the manual, just without having to shift. It’s not the transmission, it is the driver.

The last thing to do with the automatic is get it out for a track day. I’m not sure I can get one in before the season is over, but I’m going to give it a shot. And you know I’ll get back to you as soon as I do.

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  1. Welcome aboard with your r59s. My r55s (2011) is a stick so I cannot speak to the power in a turn issue and I know that you have said you do not plan any mods, but I have one you might consider. Lot’s of people make variations on the hot side boost tube muffler removal gizmos. I went with the WMW straight pipe since it was $50 plus some labor. This give improved boost response. Alta claims theirs is good for +10HP and +10ft/lb – I know I can feel a difference. Something like that plus sport mode should make for a noticeable difference.

    I’ve written in to WWR before. My 2011 now has 32,000 on it. Go ahead – give me some guff. I work from home… And, I have no stripes either.

    1. Thanks Tim! I have tested sport mode and it is much more responsive than normal mode. Just going to take some getting used to!

      I’ll look into the pipe thing. And thanks for listening! (And I’m getting stripes!)

      1. Just pulling your leg! I do an hour’s commute in traffic twice a day in the GP. Sometimes not fun. Could be worse. Could be in a Nissan Versa…

        1. Ew.

          Yea, I’ve been doing it for years. Over. It. Time to give the knee a bit of a break!

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