Mini has explained why its new John Cooper Works GP is offered in automatic guise only, after enthusiasts decried the lack of a manual gearbox option.

Speaking to at the Los Angeles Auto Show after the new hot hatch's reveal, representatives of the BMW-backed brand suggested it didn’t have a manual gearbox strong enough to handle the turbocharged 2,0-litre engine’s lofty peak outputs of 225 kW and 450 N.m. It also pointed out demand for manual models continued to fall.

While the firm could have developed a stronger manual cog-swapper for use in the JCW GP, it would have required too large an investment to justify (particularly considering just 3 000 units will be built), the report suggests. So, instead, Mini stuck with the familiar eight-speed Steptronic sports transmission.

For the record, the new hot hatch is billed as the fastest model the British brand has ever approved for road use. It’s scheduled to arrive in South Africa in “limited numbers” from the third quarter of 2020.

Using a four-cylinder engine shared with BMW’s M135i xDrive, the front-driven two-seater will hit 100 km/h from zero in a claimed 5,2 seconds, before topping out at 265 km/h.

Original article from Car