Bodystyle, dimensions and technical details

The ingredients that turn a Cooper S into a Works 210 split neatly into two categories: those that are fitted at the factory and those that are added or replaced by your Mini dealer.

The factory items setting the car apart from a standard Cooper S outwardly are the 17in Track Spoke alloy wheels finished in gloss black, and Mini’s John Cooper Works aero kit, which consists of more aggressive front and rear valances than the standard Cooper S gets, as well as a split-level roof spoiler.

Mini’s noisy Track mode on the active exhaust is certainly loud enough to attract attention of both the wanted and unwanted varieties

The aero kit has been available as part of the John Cooper Works upgrade catalogue for a while, of course, and the wheels are just an official Cooper S option.

Nothing special or new, you might say.

You also get white indicator lenses as standard on your S Works 210, as well as John Cooper Works sill plates and ‘Works 210’ pillar badges.

When your car gets to the dealer, though, it’s fitted with Mini’s Works 210 Enhanced upgrade kit. This consists of a software reflash for the engine control system that boosts peak power from the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol motor from 189bhp to 207bhp, and torque from a nominal 207lb ft to 221lb ft.

A Cooper S can produce that much torque through its temporary overboost function, but the Works 210 makes it without such caveat. And that puts this car on an almost dead-level footing for potency with its closest rivals from Peugeot and DS, and much closer to Ford’s outgoing Mountune-fettled Fiesta ST.

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The Works 210 also gets an active exhaust system (dealer fitted and controlled by a Bluetooth remote), which features a bypass for the silencer that makes for a freer-flowing passage of air, less back pressure and far noisier performance.

For what it’s worth, Mini suggests you restrict use of the system’s angry mode to track sessions only.

There are no material changes to the Mini’s running chassis for the Works 210, so you get all-independent suspension with passive dampers, which can be upgraded to include Mini’s Variable Damper Control adaptive shocks for £375 or to a passive sport suspension set-up for £150. Our car had neither upgrade.

You can pick wheels as large as an 18in rim of 7.5J width, but it’s worth bearing in mind that one of the optional sets of 18s comes exclusively on run-flat tyres. (Run-flats are optional with most other rims.)

There’s little reason to expect any of that to save mass on the car – and in our test car’s case, it certainly didn’t.

The Cooper S three-door we tested in 2014 came in at 1265kg on the scales and the Works 210 tipped them 90kg heavier. But some of that difference may be down to the fact that the two cars were weighed on different apparatus and probably with slightly varying fuel levels.