So, what’ve we learnt in that time? Well, having spent a day with the 182 Trophy during that PH Heroes shoot, the strengths and weaknesses of the Works 210 were thrown into sharp relief. Coming out of the Clio, it’s simple interior, analogue steering and naturally aspirated responsiveness stood in stark contrast to the Mini’s optioned-out excess, insulated feel and turbo’d boostiness. The fantastic 8.8-inch widescreen nav screen, heated seats and DAB radio are very nice to have on a winter’s journey, though... not all progress is bad.
Part of the brand’s appeal to loyal customers, of which there are many (and one of the biggest turn-offs to its detractors) has often been the imbuing of its products with a faux sense of personality and playfulness - kitschiness to the rest of us. In the Works, though, the genuine character of the car shines through, making touches like the Sport mode’s "maximum go-kart feel" graphic seem considerably less tacky.
The lumpen styling is still nowhere near as attractive as the comparatively slender previous generation, but the comfort - and safety - it facilitates is probably a worthwhile trade-off. In short, the Works 210 is so far winning us over, not just as the sweet spot in the Mini range, but as the ambassador to a brand which - limited run cars aside - hasn’t done a whole lot to cater to ‘genuine’ enthusiasts for a while. We’re looking forward to further experiencing its unique brand of diplomacy as the weather improves.
Car: 2017 Mini Cooper S Works 210
On fleet since: January 2018
Run by: Everyone!
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: Playing with older hot hatches, the genuine character of the car shines through
Is this the Mini Mk3 we've been waiting for?