One of the great things about modern-day Mini is the vast quantity of choice you have when it comes to your car. As well as multiple body styles, there are millions of ways to customise and make the car unique. On that subject of choice, Mini has just added another that makes a lot of sense. What if you want a hot hatchback that is a bit more peppy than the Cooper S, but easier to live with everyday than the full fat JCW? Enter the Mini Cooper S Works 210.
Based upon the Cooper S hatchback, this little pocket rocket incorporates much of the John Cooper Works in terms of visuals. Larger grills, that boot spoiler, and some contrasting 17 inch alloy wheels, give it a real sporting attitude. Being a Mini is has plenty of character including those big round headlights and signature proportions. Our test car finished in red with matching roof looked smart, not too in your face, but enough draw to recognise that this isn’t a standard Cooper S.
This generation of Mini has pushed upmarket in terms of interior. High quality materials and ambient lighting crates and atmosphere that feels mature and premium. This Mini Cooper S Works 210 also receives a chunky JCW steering wheel. Our test car has the chilli pack and so that means a pair of body hugging seats are included. The console is dominated by a round facia that houses the widescreen infotainment display. Being iDrive based, it utilises a scroll wheel and touchpad for inputs. The system itself is easy to navigate and is certainly one of the best amongst competitors. Head and leg room in the back is fine for children, but more of an occasional use when it comes to adults. Boot space is 211 litres.
But really this Mini is all about driving because, for our rather batter British roads, it has the best of both worlds. Lacking the firm suspension of the JCW the ride is more forgiving, but a 2.0 litre 210 HP turbocharged engine means that it will do 0-62 MPH in about 6.5 seconds. The manual gearbox in this Mini Cooper S Works 210 has a positive shift and certainly adds engagement when driving at a pace. Its chassis is very well engineered, demonstrating good body control. Plentiful bite from those front tyres allows you to push on. Responsive steering brings that key Mini trait of agility to the party. A strong 280Nm of torque is delivered making its surge of acceleration all the more intoxicating. However, my favourite feature of the 210 is its rather rude exhaust pipe. The law of the land prohibits cars from being too loud, the regular John Cooper Works sits about on this limit, and you can’t have a physical button that modifies this above X number. Mini have cleverly got around this with a Bluetooth button that wirelessly turns things up to 11. Whilst not technically suitable for the road in this state, it is an absolute hoot listing to this little car shout so loudly at the world around it. Pops, bangs, and crackles , are all emitted from the dual exit. You can’t help but smile.
Our brief time with the Mini Cooper S Works 210 left us wanting some more playtime in what has instantly become one of the best cars in the range. You can have one for yourself from a reasonable £21,690.