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The Goodwood Test: Mini Cooper S Works 210 five-Door

19th December 2017
erin_baker_headshot.jpg Erin Baker

Each week our team of experienced senior road testers pick out a new model from the world of innovative, premium and performance badges, and put it through its paces.

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Heritage

We are prepared to offer some flexibility to the modern Mini when it comes to heritage, but perhaps a line must be drawn when it comes with five doors. Or at least it would were it not for the connection between this particular 210 model and the John Cooper Works tuning division.

Of course it was John Cooper who created the Mini Cooper in the 1960s, but the association with modern Minis is also valid thanks to the way four decades later Mike Cooper (John’s son), created a whole new world of fast modern Minis with the John Cooper Works (JCW) tuning brand.

The Cooper S Works 210 is the latest product to benefit from the JCW’s expertise, which nowadays is owned by Mini itself. Already sold as a tuning kit for the three-door Mini, the 210 upgrades have now been made available for the 5-Door and Convertible as well.

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Design

You can make up your own mind about the aesthetics of a five-door Mini, because what’s important here are the bits that turn it into the Works 210. To be clear, this car is not a full product of the JCW tuning division, but a halfway house between a standard Cooper S and a fully fledged JCW.

To be precise, you get the aggressive bumpers, rear wing and 17-inch alloys from a JCW, all of which are fitted on the production line. The 2.0-litre turbocharged engine however remains in standard tune until it reaches the dealer, who then tweaks the ECU to liberate more power and fits a sports exhaust. All other components such as suspension, brakes and interior remain standard Cooper S fare.

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Performance

Blistering, noisy and hilarious, the Works 210 is a cracking car to drive regardless of how many doors it’s got. The upgrades to the drivetrain liberate another 18PS over the Cooper S to take the total to 210PS (207bhp). That’s still 20PS shy of a full JCW, but more than enough to be getting on with in a car weighing a fraction over 1,200kg. Plant your foot and this Mini snarls and pops its way from 0-62mph in what is probably about 6.5 seconds (Mini hasn’t released figures, but it feels comfortably stronger than the standard car at 6.9 seconds), with loads of mid-range torque for overtaking and a frantic top end.

For silly moments there’s a flap in the exhaust that can be opened via a Bluetooth remote fob to bypass the silencer, thus resulting in a ludicrously loud (and illegal for the road) track mode. Fun? You bet.

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Passion

Perhaps there’s more passion evident in a three-door Mini JCW with the full 230PS, uprated suspension et al. However, as a halfway house between that and a less powerful Cooper S the Works 210 has found a lovely niche, giving the added compliance of the former with enough of the latter’s additional grunt to make it feel special.

That it exists only in the UK and can be ordered in this five-door body style also suggests that somebody with no small amount of passion for the brand must have made a business case for it. The result is a precisely executed type of Mini for our uniquely challenging roads, and one that we reckon is worth the £2,600 premium Mini charges over a standard Cooper S.

Price: £22,755

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