You must remember though some dealer reps are so inept they regularly advertise the 6 speed steptronic transmission as a "manual transmission"! Maybe they think the automatic is like the old cars that you put in "D" for Drive & simply motor along!Thanks for all the replies, still waiting to hear from my 2 closest dealers to see if they can arrange for one to test drive. They don't seem to be returning my calls at the minute.
One of them told me It wasn't possible to test drive an automatic gearbox as MINI ' have not and never will make an automatic JCW'... this was after telling me he's worked for MINI for over 10 years.
WTF?!!!! Get them sacked!! I hate when you go to a dealer and they think you know nothing about MINIs - particularly as I'm a girl. 95% of the time I know way more about the cars than the sales men!