Mini Cooper S Works 210: PH Fleet

Nobody would blame you for being lost with the current Mini range. That's just the three-door car too, not the bemusing range of additional variants with additional doors. Did you know it's now possible to buy a Mini Countryman Cooper SD All4 Automatic? It's £30,000.

However it's easy to become lost with the proper Minis because, despite the name, this car is not a JCW. It's a Mini Cooper S with a dealer fit 'John Cooper Works Pro engine tuning kit'. It's not a Mini Challenge either despite sharing an engine and a very naughty exhaust. But it is more than just a Mini Cooper S, as evidenced by its additional 19hp and 15lb ft. What this Cooper S Works (that isn't a John Cooper Works) best resembles is the Cooper S Works 210 Edition of 2016 - launched back then as a limited edition with the same mechanical package, and now on sale as a series production model offered in three-door hatch, convertible and five-door form. Understood?

Baffling marketing aside, there's a far more tangible reason for running the Works 210: those who've driven it so far speak very, very highly of it. The suggestion is that it embodies all the joy and vivacity that the third generation Mini has thus far only presented in modest quantities. The Cooper S was fine if slightly grown up, the JCW long termer we had bumped up the price but little else and the fabulous Challenge was very limited run.

Autocar has called this 210 "the best driver's car that Mini has come up with during its current heartland-model generation"; Top Gear said it was "a little riot" and Auto Express reckoned it was "great to drive" - high praise indeed.

Given the changes for this car are modest - the suspension is unchanged from the Cooper S - it would seem that the appeal of the 210 is in how it's specced. The Autocar road test car ran the standard dampers and 17-inch wheels; 'ours' has the optional £375 dampers but keeps the smaller wheels, which sounds like very good news given our less than positive experience with the 18s and run flats.

Otherwise most of the optional kit is what you might expect from a press Mini, given the paucity of standard equipment. So we have the Media Pack sound upgrade (£1,620), heated half leather seats that add £805 and LED headlights for a far more reasonable £85. Plus a few other bits and bobs that total... £8,350. Oh. So much for the decent value represented by a £22k entry price. Still, lots of options should mean lots to talk about, and it's probably not absurd for a Mini option spend...

Initial impressions are dominated by the Bluetooth activated exhaust, which makes such a racket that Mini says it should only be used away from the public highway. Does a multi-storey office car park as off the road? Certainly we - and a few unsuspecting Waitrose shoppers - can vouch for the outrageous din out of those tailpipes. Excellent.

The Works 210 will have to do more than upset pensioners at the supermarket to impress in 2018 though, however encouraging that might be as a starting point. Not only is this Mini far from box fresh - the third generation version is on the cusp of a facelift, after all - it faces a wealth of competition in 2018 including the new Volkswagen Polo GTI, the latest Ford Fiesta ST and the Peugeot 208 GTI that already resides on the PH Fleet. If this car can see off those rivals in terms of enjoyment, while delivering the same quality and desirability that other Minis are known for, then we really will have a standout hot hatch on our hands.

: 2017 Mini Cooper S Works 210
On fleet since: January 2018
Run by: Everyone!
Mileage: 1,204
List price new: £19,994.40 (As tested £28,344.40 comprising £475 for Melting Silver metallic paint, £300 for Mini active from 12/06/17 to 11/06/20, £1,695 for Works enhanced kit, £75 for John Cooper Works sport leather steering wheel, £375 for variable damper control, £80 for black bonnet stripes, £120 for Anthracite roof lining, £220 for sun protection glass, £215 for front seat heating, £2,710 for Mini hatch tech pack, £2,000 for Chili pack for JCW sports pack and £85 for LED headlights with extended contents)
Last month at a glance: Is this the Mini Mk3 we've been waiting for?







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Comments (25) Join the discussion on the forum

  • TXG399 29 Jan 2018

    Definitely the sweet spot of the current range. The JCW isn't worth the extra money and the more supple ride of the Cooper S is far more enjoyable. And the exhaust is beyond hilarious!

    I'm a massive fan of the 210 variant. Just a pity that you're running one on fleet now when the model has just been discontinued!

  • Mince 29 Jan 2018

    As much as pressing the fun button on the missile launcher which gives you the added exhaust note and hp is great... the forced pops and bangs, exactly the same every time, even when slowly coming off the throttle coming to a stop get tired very very quickly ....even during just a test drive frown

  • cerb4.5lee 29 Jan 2018

    I've been really happy with my 2017 3dr Mini Cooper S, but with the exhaust/performance upgrade on this model...I bet it's an absolute hoot to drive.

    I know the BMW Mini hatch is very much a marmite car, but I do think it's a very nice(expensive for what it is)package.

  • sunnym3 29 Jan 2018

    We have the 5 door, really fun car and I bit of a tardis inside. Good little family car. The dealer let us borrow their automatic version for a week before we ordered ours, found the auto a bit slow when trying to change gear at times, went for the manual, we love it.

  • Hayek 29 Jan 2018

    Anyone else find it impossible to like cars such as this that look like a caricature of a car?

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