Home » The Mini JCW ‘1to6 Edition’ Is An Homage To The Manual But It Better Not Be Mini’s Last

The Mini JCW ‘1to6 Edition’ Is An Homage To The Manual But It Better Not Be Mini’s Last

Mini Jcw 1to6 Topshot
ADVERTISEMENT

This is the Mini John Cooper Works 1to6 Edition. It features a six-speed manual gearbox, can be absolutely none more black, and it promises to put an ear-to-ear smile on your face. It also might be the last Mini ever made with a manual gearbox, which would be an enormous shame.

P90504460 Highres Mini John Cooper Wor

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

The recipe is simple: Small car, sticky tires, and 231 turbocharged horsepower going through a six-speed manual gearbox to the front wheels. It’s the age-old hot hatch formula, a tried-and-true set of qualities. As you’d probably have guessed, the 1to6 trim name comes from the action of rowing through the gears, relishing in every redline upshift and heel-toe downshift. Speed isn’t the goal here, it’s enjoyment.

P90504499 Highres Mini JCW 1to6

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Even a mediocre manual gearbox can make a car more fun. Not necessarily faster or more efficient as modern automatic gearboxes are astounding, but certainly more fun. It’s a similar deal with tires – you can have two sets of tires that generate identical lateral gs in steady-state limit cornering, but the set with sharper steering response will be more fun. Fun is hard to measure with the industry’s standard litany of tests because it’s about feel rather than objective performance, but if you drive a modern Mini, you’ll find it in spades.

P90504438 Highres Mini John Cooper Wor

Mind you, the fun of this variant is tempered by how the JCW 1to6 Edition seems to be dressed for a funeral. Decked-out in all-black everything from its stripe to its special interior trim embossed with its name, the 1to6 Edition seems like it could be a last hurrah for the manual Mini, and British outlet Autocar is reporting that all future Minis will come with automatic gearboxes.

P90504454 Highres Mini JCW 1to6

Remember the story about how the Porsche 928 was meant to replace the 911? At one point in time, there was a planning board up in lead engine Helmuth Both’s office in Stuttgart, with the 928 and 944 lineage extending but the 911 timeline stopping in 1981. As former Porsche boss Peter Schutz told Road & Track, “I grabbed a marker off Professor Bott’s desk and extended the 911 line across the page, onto the wall, and out the door.” A bold move like that is what Mini needs right now. Kick out the board, kick out the committees, lock the accountants in the broom closet, and do whatever it takes to keep the manual Mini alive until regulations finally kill it off.

ADVERTISEMENT

P90504490 Highres Mini JCW 1to6

For what Mini charges, you can buy any number of quicker sport compact cars. The Hyundai Elantra N is an involving scorcher, the Honda Civic Type R offers surgical speed and precision, and the Volkswagen Golf R lets you hang the back end out. However, quick Minis offer their own brand of fun, scrambling through corners with the determination of a Jack Russel Terrier. So what if the dampers are full of onyx and the test track numbers are off the segment’s pace? The Mini hatchback, like the Porsche 911, is an enthusiasts’ car. Beyond those who love it for its image, there are those who clamor for driving involvement. Every anecdote about Paddy Hopkirk is considered gospel, every gearchange something to be savored, every mechanical quirk is a celebration of heritage.

P90504472 Highres Mini John Cooper Wor

If you’re looking to stay within the BMW family in a world of all-automatic Minis, you might as well buy a 230i coupe with summer tires and the M Sport suspension because it’s a fabulous machine with better steering than its brawnier M240i brother and a price tag that isn’t unreasonable. If manual gearboxes disappear, so does one of the biggest reasons to buy a Mini.

P90504488 Highres Mini John Cooper Wor

ADVERTISEMENT

On the chance that this is it for the manual Mini, the marque plans on building 999 John Cooper Works 1to6 Editions, to be distributed between Europe, Canada, Mexico, and the USA from September. However, I have one thing to say to Mini: Keep the manual alive, you cowards. I triple dog dare you.

(Photo credits: Mini)

Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.

Relatedbar

Got a hot tip? Send it to us here. Or check out the stories on our homepage.

ADVERTISEMENT
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
34 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Naterator
Naterator
11 months ago

Mini went downhill ever since 2007. I have an 06 R53, and it was the last of the supercharged coupes, and last of fairly decent reliability. BMW needs to pull their heads out and go back to the mid 2000’s.

Richard Clayton
Richard Clayton
11 months ago

In my opinion two of the main killers of the MT are 6 speed and the CVT. For FWD applications the change from 5 speed to 6 speed requires adding a third shaft along with its bearings, etc. This increased complexity increases cost. The CVT drastically reduces the cost of an “automatic” transmission to the point that is equal to or cheaper than the 6MT along with better efficiency. Ergo, bye-bye MT as a standard offering.

Naterator
Naterator
11 months ago

But mini CVTs are crap quality.

Zeitgeistus
Zeitgeistus
11 months ago

I got my Clubman in 2020 basically because I figured the manual was going the way of the Dodo. I’ve only driven manual cars and thought, well, let’s get a new one while I can still get one. Turns out they also offed the Clubman! I had an 06 MINI I kept for 8 years until the rust-monster got to it (live in Northern New England) and traded it for a Volvo C30 that I kept until getting the Clubman.

Mr E
Mr E
11 months ago

My daughter just got her license. She told us she’s more comfortable in a small car, so I bought a ’16 Cooper S with 43K miles this past Tuesday (I would’ve bought a non-S if the 3 cylinder motor wasn’t such a dog). No, it’s not a manual (she will learn), but I have to admit that driving that car back home a few nights ago was a total hoot, even with the slushbox. Tight suspension and steering, combined with tiny dimensions was an inspiring combination whilst driving down the 2 lane country roads of bumfuck NJ.

If she ever gets tired of it, I’m taking it back.

William Getz
William Getz
11 months ago

Regular Cooper S with regular sized wheels and tires please. And yes, I will take a manual. I would like the 300 hp motor though. No special editions with rubber band tires thankyuouverymuch.

R53 Lifer
R53 Lifer
11 months ago

21 years later and we’re STILL doing the black-out-everything-because-I’m-insecure-about-driving-a-cute-car dance….?

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
1 year ago

I heard all the manuals were being stopped at the Texas border. All is not lost, however, because I also heard some of these could be bussed to New York City, Boston, and Washington DC.

Last edited 1 year ago by Canopysaurus
Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
1 year ago

Eh, if they stop making manuals, my truck and my MG don’t stop BEING manuals.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
11 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

That’s where you’re wrong buddy. Mercenaries from ‘Big Automatic’ will come one night when you’re sound asleep in your bed, feeling safe and they will swap your manual for a GM 4 speed slushbox. Then UN propaganda machines will try to convince you that it was always this way. Texts will be redacted, videos edited. In the end you’ll be some weirdo on the street screeching about how cars used to have 3 pedals. Children will mock you, adults will pity you.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
1 year ago

Listen y’all I enjoy driving stick but does the “SAVE THE MANUALS” crowd still not realize that they’re being played by manufacturers? We’re at the point that people are paying huge premiums/lining up for special versions of cars with manuals at this point and the companies and dealerships are laughing all the way to the bank. Rumors of the demise of the manual have been greatly exaggerated. Don’t get ripped off.

Flatisflat
Flatisflat
1 year ago

Rumors? Considering manuals make up all of about 8% of total new car sales and cars are continually dropping a manual transmission from their options list, I don’t see what conclusion we’re supposed to draw.

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
1 year ago
Reply to  Flatisflat

In the US, but in many places of the world they dominate. Last week at a resort in Costa Rica, the shuttle vans they used were manuals, and not some old thing they were newer Toyotas. Only auto I saw all week was the Ford Expedition we got for airport transfer.

Vee
Vee
11 months ago
Reply to  Brian Ash

In the UK meanwhile the number of people applying for driver’s licenses with the automatic only rating is increasing linearly. The UK’s one of the few places where we can definitively measure. Circa 2005 over half of all new cars there were manual, nowadays that number’s down to a quarter of all new cars.

In China they don’t like manual transmissions. So when a majority of manufacturers are creating products with the U.S. and China in mind first and the rest of the world last, what dominates in those two major markets dictates what the rest of the world gets. The rush to electrification also counts, as CVTs can work with both dual motor electric drivetrains and traditional inline fours that the industry is currently shoving in everything.

The one hope we have is that when CVTs fail the belt literally destroys the entire unit as it comes apart. They’re cheap to make and save space, but the warranty and insurance costs keep getting more expensive because they’re getting paired with more powerful and more expensive engines that shorten the service lives even more than the 60,000 miles most of them fail at and cause more damage when they fail.

Acid Tonic
Acid Tonic
1 year ago

Didn’t the JCW get bumped to 300hp awhile ago? I thought I remember hearing about that.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
1 year ago
Reply to  Acid Tonic
Andrew Kim
Andrew Kim
1 year ago
Reply to  Acid Tonic

The Clubman (RIP) JCW has the 300hp engine. And the GP.

FatGuyInALittleCar
FatGuyInALittleCar
1 year ago

I want that 6 speed manual badge on the hatch for all of my manual cars.

V10omous
V10omous
1 year ago

Me too, except reverse is in the wrong spot.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
1 year ago
Reply to  V10omous

I have 2 6 speed cars, this would work for one of them. Can’t remember which one…

Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
1 year ago
Reply to  V10omous

Reverse to the left of 1st is demonstrably superior. When do you ever need to shift from 6th to R? How often do you shift from 1st to R and vice-versa?

The only negative I can think of is if you are intending to reverse and accidentally put the car in a forward gear. If you’re in first the car will go forward but 6th will almost certainly just stall.

V10omous
V10omous
1 year ago

Not opining on which may be the “correct” orientation, just noting where reverse is located on both of my 6 speeds (up and right). Don’t believe I’ve ever owned a 6 speed that was down and right.

Last edited 1 year ago by V10omous
PresterJohn
PresterJohn
1 year ago
Reply to  V10omous

My 2013 Civic Si was down and to the right. My Mazda 3 is up and to the left though which I like better once I got used to it

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
11 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

My WRX 6 speed is down and right, as is the 5 speed on my TJ. The tricky ones in my garage are the CJ5 which is a 3 speed with R where first is on most cars and the MGB is down and left.

EVDesigner
EVDesigner
1 year ago

I hope they list in the replacement parts catalog whenever the vehicle launches.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
11 months ago

Borrow Cricut. Get matte black and silver vinyl. Recreate this in whatever scale. Maybe add some numbers so it’s not a total copy. Cut. Weed. Slap on car. Enjoy.

Flatisflat
Flatisflat
1 year ago

From what I can tell on MINI’s US website, you can still spec a ‘normal’ JCW MINI Hardtop 2-door with a 6-speed manual. Sooo…if you’re obsessed with black, then get this one, I guess…

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
1 year ago

If it is small, light, and has an internal combustion engine, then I am Team Manual.
If it is a family van or work truck, give me one of those nice new ten speed automatics.
Life is more about making appropriate choices than it is about dogma.

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
1 year ago

I used to feel the same way about manuals, but to tell the truth, I’m over them. Modern automatics are just so very good that a manual feels silly. It has me saying “remind me again, why am I doing this?” as I crawl through a construction zone.

Having an auto that’s great allows me to focus even more on the steering, power and brakes. Sure the manual feels a bit more in control, but I could take it or leave it now on anything modern.

Old cars? Manual all day.

R53forfun
R53forfun
1 year ago

Agree, but for me, this is more a DD vs fun car distinction than newer vs older … says he whose DD is newer and auto, and whose older, fun car (Mini) is manual. Yep, username checks out and all that 🙂

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
1 year ago
Reply to  R53forfun

It all changed for me when I realized that for me, the auto is every bit as fun to drive as the manual in a late model watercooled 911. Maybe even a bit more so.

The only reason I’m including manual transmissions in my Porsche quest is because they’re often cheaper.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
1 year ago

A Mini without a manual transmission might as well be self-driving only.

R53forfun
R53forfun
1 year ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Hard agree.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
1 year ago
Reply to  R53forfun

Ditto.

34
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x