MINI USA to Start Manual Driving School

MINI USA is launching a new MINI Manual Driving School at the BMW Performance Center in Thermal, California, the company announced. The announcement comes shortly after MINI USA confirmed the manual transmissions would return to specific MINI models for November production.

“While the manual transmission has fallen to the wayside for many drivers over time, the excitement and passion for driving a manual has never faltered,” the company said in a statement announcing the program. “To expand the accessibility and fun of driving a manual, MINI USA is offering a manual driving school that is open to any drivers looking for the opportunity to learn to drive manual in an engaging and safe atmosphere.”

Held at the BMW Group Performance Center West in Thermal, California, the exclusive location for the MINI Manual Driving School, the program will incorporate both a classroom portion and a hands-on driving experience at the on-site test track.

The course is designed to create a foundation for drivers to build their comfort with driving manual transmission vehicles, the automaker said, with the curriculum that focuses on vehicle controls, finding the friction point, practicing smooth starts, stops, acceleration, and more. At the conclusion of the course, participants will be tested on a timed course to assess the driver’s knowledge.

’’For over a decade, consumers have ranked MINI as the most fun to drive brand in America, which is exactly why we brought back the manual transmission,’’ said Rah Mahtani, brand communications manager, MINI USA. ‘’The course is not only informative but also a fun and challenging learning experience for a new generation of MINI drivers that they will remember forever.”

A.J. Hecht

A.J. Hecht is the managing editor of THE SHOP and host of the In Gear with THE SHOP podcast. Have an idea, a tip, or a question you’d like to see answered? Contact A.J. at

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