Manuals return to (some) Minis, EV production departs U.K. for China


Almost buried in a press release that promises 2023 enhancements for a few models (Mini Resolute, Untold, and Untamed Special Editions, and now we have that out of the way) is an announcement that should give enthusiasts hope in these hopeless times: Mini is bringing back the manual transmission.

To wit: “The Mini Hardtop two-door range will see the return of the manual transmission as a standalone option starting with November production, allowing Mini owners in the U.S. to once again purchase a Mini Hardtop with a six-speed manual transmission. The reintroduction of the manual transmission is offered on the Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works variants of the Mini Hardtop two-door.”

In other words, no manual transmissions—yet anyway—for convertibles and four-door models. It seems likely that if the take rate for manuals is high enough, Mini might find some way to extend the six speed’s availability across the whole range.

As we reported last May, supply chain issues were the reason Mini went automatic-only.

Mini Cooper interior

Mini also says that, due to supply chain restrictions that impacted production earlier this year, the company is simplifying trim offerings “to ensure continued delivery of new vehicles to the market.” Mostly, that means that the Classic Trim level is gone, essentially replaced by the Signature 2.0 and the upgraded Iconic 2.0.

Looking into the 2023 model year also means pricing updates. The base Signature 2.0 two-door Hardtop starts at $29,450; the Cooper S in Signature 2.0 trim at $33,050, and the Cooper S Iconic 2.0 at $36,975. (Each price includes an $850 charge for destination and handling.) No word yet on price for manual transmissions, but if you go to and fill out a build sheet for a 2023 vehicle, the only transmission offered is the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

And this just in: BMW, Mini’s parent company, has said it will move production of the electric Mini Hardtop from England to China.

“BMW has elected to make electric hatchbacks and a small SUV in China through its partnership with Great Wall Motor, according to a spokesman,” says Automotive News. “The automaker announced in November last year it would start producing electric Minis at a new plant in the eastern province of Jiangsu beginning in 2023.”

Automotive News calls it a “setback to a country trying to transition its already diminished auto industry to full-electric models.”

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