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This New MINI Hardtop Proves Small and Chic Can Mean Big Quality

Plus, you can get it in manual. Remember that?
relates to This New MINI Hardtop Proves Small and Chic Can Mean Big Quality
Photographer: Chris Tedesco/Courtesy of Mini North America

Very few automakers these days loan manual transmissions for review. Some, like Porsche, sell paddle shifters in such massive amounts that I’ll get lent its manual option only in something a little obscure, like its 911 Targa.

Others, like Mazda, do freely give the manual version of its MX-5—but that’s because to do anything less would be to sacrifice the very thing that earned its status as an stick-shift-lite icon. Subaru always loans out the stick-shift for its WRX. That’s understandable for such a serious rally car. Chevrolet gives out the seven-speed manual on its Corvette Stingray because, duh.