Today a friend at work made my day. No, scratch that. Made my week. The whole department lunched out today to say goodbye to one of our contractors who’s contract ended today. As is typical some people offered to drive, and others, myself included took them up on the offer.
Today however, as we were walking out to my friend’s car, he offered to let me drive. You see, he drives a 2014 Mini Cooper Countryman S, and when I start looking for a new vehicle later this year or early next, I am seriously considering going with the same vehicle.
Initially, I said no thanks because I have only been working with him a short while and didn’t totally feel comfortable with it. A few short seconds later however, after an assurance from him that he was fine with it, I accepted and grabbed the key… er… fob from him and jumped in the front seat.
What I had forgotten was his Mini also had a 6 speed manual transmission. Now, I haven’t driven a manual in close to a decade so I was initially a bit nervous and again he assured me it was a lease and he had no concerns.
I needn’t have worried. The clutch was perfect and shifting was outstanding. While I will admit a couple of shifts were a bit sloppy from the perspective of someone who knows the finer points of driving a manual, no one else would have noticed.
It was like a fish to water and I LOVED IT! It seems so small a thing to so many people, but having that manual connection with a small sporty car is truly pure heaven for a car nut like me.
For years I have said, “MY NEXT CAR WILL HAVE A MANUAL TRANSMISSION,” only to have to back off that comment as most family-mobiles are automatic. The closest I have gotten is the Volvo XC90 I drive now having a Geartronic transmission, but it isn’t the same thing.
Now though, I mean it. I have the Volvo which holds all 5 of my family and then some, and one of them is starting college and doesn’t always ride with us everywhere anymore.
I am still on cloud nine from my drive today, and I am more sold than ever on the idea of getting a Mini Cooper Countryman S ALL4. And this time, I will get my manual transmission.
Image Credit: NRMA Motoring and Services