Mini Cooper S Works 210: PH Fleet


Confession time: prior to prolonged exposure to this Works 210, I never really considered myself a Mini sort of person. Not to the point of outright dismissal, you understand, it was just that the rivals from Europe or Japan typically appealed more to what I wanted from a hot hatch. They were a bit more raw, a bit more focused, a bit more fun, or so I thought.

Now perhaps I'm becoming too mature, or maybe I've not driven enough of the Mini's adversaries recently, but it's a car I'm becoming increasingly attached to and liking more and more. It so expertly combines many diverse elements that it's tricky to fault - there are issues, yet it's hard to be anything but overwhelmingly positive.


As you'll be able to tell from the mileage log, YK17 FKG has been busy since it returned from its unscheduled garage visit. It's been to Hethel twice for a couple of Lotus features, provided transport to Anglesey for the BMW M5 launch and also to Crawley for getting that Caterham Supersprint. Yet even after exposure to more exotic, faster and more expensive cars, to get back in the Mini never felt like a significant downgrade.

The trip to North Wales was a perfect demonstration of its abilities: the motorway miles passed effortlessly (and at more than 40mpg), the stereo was fantastic and the driving position was spot on for six hours at the wheel. Then when the roads became more interesting the Mini was as agile and chuckable as you'd want from a little hot hatch, and didn't struggle to keep up when the 600hp supersaloons descended. Indeed photographer Luc said it was more fun than all of them up on the Welsh moors, and I'd be inclined to agree; it's not just a case of exploiting more of its ability more of the time, but giving you as a driver more to do also.


Wales gave ample opportunity to test our car's two damper settings as well. While the Sport mode can feel a bit abrupt at points, it certainly does deliver a level of control beyond standard if you're really pushing on a more difficult road. And I must be getting used to the feistiness, because I've occasionally left the car firmer and become used to it. That said, the Mini is hardly a ragged mess left un-Sported, so my preferred Sport setting at the moment only brings the more aggressive powertrain and leaves the dampers untouched. Make sense? My preferred Mini would probably leave them passive though, given its favourable review on Autocar and the possibility of saving some cash on a chunky as tested price.

Ah yes, the money. It won't go away in any Mini discussion because, put simply, it is quite a lot. However, it does feel expensive, and that's an impression that only becomes stronger the more time you spend in it. The toggle switches are lovely to use, the displays are vivid, everything opens and closes precisely and even the warning noises are less reedy than many others - not things that will be picked up in a road test, but elements that make the Mini really pleasant to use day in, day out. Whether it's in town, on the motorway or down a B-road, the quality shines through.


Whereas previously I thought the Mini was a bit too focused on those elements of pocket rocketing and not, y'know, the fun bit, thousands of miles in this one has revealed the error of my ways - it's a proper giggle. I've even got the rear seats permanently folded now for full hot hatch noise naughtiness.

Coming soon, however, the Mini will face two of its toughest tests so far - a direct pairing with one of its illustrious predecessors, plus a reassessment in light of a Fiesta ST drive. Stay tuned...


FACT SHEET
Car:
 2017 Mini Cooper S Works 210
On fleet since: January 2018
Run by: Matt, this month at least...
Mileage: 5,011
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: Expensive, yes, but might the Mini actually be worth it?

Previous updates:
Is this the Mini Mk3 we've been waiting for?
Mini making its mark on many!
Puncture proves more problematic than predicted...

[Images: Luc Lacey]

 

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Comments (34) Join the discussion on the forum

  • cerb4.5lee 24 Apr 2018

    Glad you're enjoying it, I've been very impressed with my Standard F56 Cooper S and its a car that I never really considered in the past. I'm really pleased I have now though.

  • jonosterman 24 Apr 2018

    I get that it's a decent car, but I just can't get my head around nearly £10k of options on a £20k car.

    I might be out of date now, but I always understood that options add very little to the future value of a car so whether it's a PCP deal or buying outright and selling down the road, that's £10k that you'll never see a penny of again PLUS the depreciation on the list price.

    Assume 50% of list price at 3yrs and this could be a car that loses £20k over that period which seems madness for a Mini.

    Am I right, or am I missing something here?

  • daemon 24 Apr 2018

    jonosterman said:
    I get that it's a decent car, but I just can't get my head around nearly £10k of options on a £20k car.

    I might be out of date now, but I always understood that options add very little to the future value of a car so whether it's a PCP deal or buying outright and selling down the road, that's £10k that you'll never see a penny of again PLUS the depreciation on the list price.

    Assume 50% of list price at 3yrs and this could be a car that loses £20k over that period which seems madness for a Mini.

    Am I right, or am I missing something here?
    You're right

    Thats clearly a press spec car thats had a lot of options boxes ticked. Some people do go mad on the spec but you really have to be realistic, particularly as a lot of stuff adds close to £0 value come resale time.

    I guess the best way to buy a high spec'd one is as an ex demo or ensure you're getting a stupid amount of discount on a new one.

    Pushing £30K for a MINI (and not even a JCW) and i think there are better cars out there for the money (BMW M140i springs to mind for kick off)


  • RushDom 24 Apr 2018

    Nobody seems to be able to give me a straight answer as to whether or not the Works 210 kit is still actually available.

    I did pop into a Mini dealer where the salesman was adamant that it's no longer offered (although he did seem awfully keen to sell me a full fat JCW, so I was a bit suspicious).

    Another dealer's answer via the phone was that he thought it was still available because it was listed on their website, but he didn't know for certain because he'd never sold one. Indeed, it is still listed on Mini's website, albeit only with photos of the pre-facelift cars...so I have no idea.




  • asimmalik 24 Apr 2018

    RushDom said:
    Nobody seems to be able to give me a straight answer as to whether or not the Works 210 kit is still actually available.

    I did pop into a Mini dealer where the salesman was adamant that it's no longer offered (although he did seem awfully keen to sell me a full fat JCW, so I was a bit suspicious).

    Another dealer's answer via the phone was that he thought it was still available because it was listed on their website, but he didn't know for certain because he'd never sold one. Indeed, it is still listed on Mini's website, albeit only with photos of the pre-facelift cars...so I have no idea.
    Sounds very similar to my experiences with multiple Renault dealerships a few years ago when trying to get hold of an RS Megane Trophy. They were utterly hopeless. I soon ran out of patience and decided to take my money elsewhere.

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