The Mini Cooper was an instant suburban hit when it was first introduced in the UK. Since that time, several improvements have been made to the diminutive coupe to give it modern style and performance. This is not without its drawbacks, as many consumers are reporting problems with certain Mini Cooper transmission models.
Problems of reliability
According to the New Mini website, Mini Cooper transmissions, such as the variable automatic transmissions used in the Mini Cooper S, have issues with durability and reliability. This seems to be supported by claims filed through the Consumer Affairs website, which state that newly bought Mini Cooper S models have mechanical transmission problems that create excessive engine noise and difficulty maintaining acceleration. New Mini states that the complicated systems involved in operating the CVT transmission may have something to do with its unreliability.
Clutch and cold start problems
Spontaneous transmission failure can be a problem with the CVT and Mini Cooper 6-speed manual transmissions. Clutch burnout can happen quickly in these vehicles because of its size-to-weight ratio. According to Consumer Guide Automotive, the Mini has the shortest body of any car in the market, excluding the Smart Car, but one of the longest wheel bases, putting it on par with normal size coupes in its class. The result is a strain on components that can easily be aggravated by an aggressive clutch user.
Downgrading for improvements
Owners that have problems with the CVT transmission have the option of seeking an earlier transmission model and simply swapping the parts. While this may restore functionality and speed to the Mini Cooper, it does come with a drawback -- no cruise control. In 2001, when the Mini was first introduced, it lacked cruise control, though the manual transmission the vehicle employed was said to be much more reliable than newer models, according to the New Mini website.