For all 2022 model year models, MINI ditched the manual transmission in the U.S. market. Supply chain restrictions, due to various worldwide market issues, caused MINI to drop several options, as well as trim levels and special edition models, from its lineup and the manual was the biggest casualty. Many customers were upset, as manual transmissions are sort of synonymous with the MINI brand and among the biggest reasons why its customers choose it over some of its competitors. Now, though, for 2023, MINI is bringing the manual transmission back to the U.S. market.
There is a bit of a catch, though. The row-your-own gearbox is only available on MINI 2-Door Hardtop models. So if you want the 4-Door, the Clubman, or the Convertible, you’re still stuck with the automatic. However, for those 2-Door Hardtop customers, a manual transmission will be available as a standalone option for all post-November build cars. It’s also available across the 2-Door Hardtop’s lineup: the Cooper, Cooper S, and John Cooper Works.
Some new paint options will hit the MINI lineup, too. There’s Melting Silver III, which will be available across the entire brand’s lineup and Nanuq White, which will only be available on Hardtop models. Both of which are no-cost options. Conversely, there will be some paint options that won’t be available after October: Pepper White, White Silver, and Moonwalk Grey.
The base model MINI 2-Door Hardtop in Signature 2.0 trim (which is confusing because the “2.0” doesn’t denote its engine, it’s still a 1.5-liter three-cylinder) starts at $28,600 and comes with a very healthy suite of as-standard kit. Without adding any cost to the car, you can select from five different colors, choose from two different wheel options, pick either a manual or automatic transmission, and two different interior trims. If you want a heated steering wheel, it’s only an additional $250. So for under $30,000, you can have a brand-new MINI in almost any color you want with a six-speed manual gearbox, a high-definition infotainment system, black wheels, and a heated steering wheel. Not too shabby.
Though, I think fans are just happy that the manual is back. MINI will be replacing this generation of 2-Door Hardtop quite soon, so if you like this generation of car but were waiting on a six-speed, now’s your chance.