2011 Mini Cooper

Driving a manual transmission is a dying art these days. More and more automakers are moving to faster-shifting dual-clutch transmissions for performance cars, and the high-volume best-sellers only offer stick-shifts on the very base models (if at all). Of course there's Porsche, an automaker that is currently putting the finishing touches on its seven-speed manual transmission. But that's Porsche.

Mini is doing its part to promote the manual transmission by offering a $500 discount on certain stick-shift-equipped cars through the end of August. This offer applies to the stock Cooper, as well as the Clubman and Convertible (sorry, Countryman). It's a pretty sweet offer, and when you consider that manual-equipped Minis already get better fuel economy and carry lower price points than their autobox kin, this purchase decision should be an absolute no-brainer for anyone who gives a flip about driving pleasure.

Head over to Mini's website for the full details about this promotion. Thinking of buying a new Mini? Use this opportunity to spread the joy of the manual transmission before this essential piece of driver involvement goes extinct.