Mini chassis copes well with the grunt
Paddles can't match a manual stick
Auto 'box seems incongruous in hot hatch
What’s New?The John Cooper garage in West Sussex has now developed the feisty Works kit for the automatic Cooper S, available as a £3000 option from any Mini dealership. Mike Cooper’s fettling still boosts power from a standard 170bhp to 210bhp.What’s it like?The six-speed torque converter ‘box used on the Cooper S is more effective than the CVT unit found in lesser models, behaving in a more sporty manner. When choosing the manual override option, the gear lever lacks the tactile quality of the wheel-mounted paddles, although both devices can be caught napping when attempting double downshifts.Performance is still tyre scrub-inducing but it loses 0.4 seconds to its manual brother on the surge to 60mph and 3mph on top speed. The steering is still sharp and incisive and the JC branded supercharger and popping twin-exhaust make exciting aural theatre. However, the fun factor of flicking around a 6-speed manual box is lost and the experience is lesser for it.Should I buy one?With one in nine Cooper S hatch owners opting for the upgrade, it’s popular but pricey. But if you are determined to invest, we think three pedals would be the Works.