Up until now, MINI’s list of transmission options for the MINI 3-Door, 5-Door and Convertible (not sold here) are limited to the 6-speed manual (not available here) and 6-speed torque converter automatic. Now, MINI has announced that a new 7-speed Steptronic dual clutch automatic transmission (DCT) will be offered to certain entry variants of the MINI 3- and 5-Door as well as the Convertible.
The new transmission will adopt a new design gear shifter, one that always returns to its home position irrespective of which gear position is selected. The Park position is now engaged by pushing a button. It’s similar in operation to many rear-wheel drive BMW models.
To further improve shift quality, the electronic control of the new double clutch transmission includes a shift strategy based on navigation data. For example, when approaching a sharp bend or junction, a downshift is made early on so as to be able to make use of the engine braking effect for deceleration purposes. When passing through two bends in quick succession, the drive position engaged after downshifting is maintained so as to avoid any unnecessary shifting and ensure the ideal gear is available for powerful acceleration on exiting the bend.
When driving in MINI’s standard MID or the fuel saving Green driving mode, the new transmission enables a fuel economy improving coasting function that disengages the transmission when coasting. The transmission re-engages as soon as either the brakes or the accelerator is tapped, or when navigation data shows an approaching corner.
At the moment, the faster shifting twin oil-cooled wet clutches equipped transmission is only available in the European market MINI 3- and 5-Door as well as Convertible. Curiously, the new 7-speed DCT is only available in the entry petrol-powered One and diesel-powered Cooper D variants. The higher performance Cooper and Cooper S will continue to be driven by a 6-speed torque converter automatic, as will the Cooper SD with its 8-speed torque converter automatic.