Currently, anyone who wants a MINI 3 Door, 5 Door or Convertible with a self-shifting transmission has to go for an Aisin-sourced six-speed automatic. That’s about to change, as the British brand has announced that the fashionable compact cars will now be available with a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, mirroring a similar change adopted by the BMW X1.

The new gearbox features twin oil-cooled wet clutches, along with a dual-mass flywheel with an integrated centrifugal pendulum that reduces noise and vibrations during low-speed acceleration. The transmission control unit also predicts the next gear needed by analysing the driver’s intentions and road conditions, taking to account the accelerator position, engine speed, road speed and the driving mode selected.

This predictive behaviour can be enhanced with the optional navigation system, as it can use navigation data to adapt its shift strategy based on the road ahead, such as downshifting earlier when approaching a tight bend and holding on to a gear when tackling consecutive corners. The company claims smooth, fast gear changes with zero torque interruption, as well as a broader ratio spread owing to the extra gear.

The gearbox also supports automatic engine start/stop and features a coasting function that decouples the drivetrain when the driver’s foot is off the throttle. The functionality of the latter can be improved by adding the aforementioned navigation system and driver assistance systems, which can detect if the car is approaching a junction or a traffic jam and cancel the coasting feature, making use of engine braking instead.

Models with the DCT can be differentiated through the new BMW-style electronic gearlever, which always returns to its original position after selecting reverse, neutral or drive; park is activated using a button on top of the gearknob. Moving the gearlever left activates S mode, which enables a more dynamic shift pattern as well as sequential manual shifting.