2019 Audi A3 Cabriolet vs. 2019 MINI Cooper Convertible

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The A3 Cabriolet’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Cooper Convertible doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The A3 Cabriolet has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Cooper Convertible doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The A3 Cabriolet 45 TSFI has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Cooper Convertible doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The A3 Cabriolet Prestige’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Cooper Convertible doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The A3 Cabriolet’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Cooper Convertible doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the A3 Cabriolet’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Cooper Convertible doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the A3 Cabriolet and the Cooper Convertible have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available rear parking sensors.

Warranty

There are over 2 times as many Audi dealers as there are MINI dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the A3 Cabriolet’s warranty.

Reliability

The Audi A3 Cabriolet’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Cooper Convertible’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than MINI vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, MINI is ranked 17th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than MINI vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 2 places higher in reliability than MINI.

Engine

The A3 Cabriolet has more powerful engines than the Cooper Convertible:

 

Horsepower

Torque

A3 Cabriolet 40 TSFI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

184 HP

221 lbs.-ft.

A3 Quattro Cabriolet 45 TSFI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

228 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

Cooper Convertible 1.5 turbo 3 cyl.

134 HP

162 lbs.-ft.

Cooper Convertible S 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

189 HP

207 lbs.-ft.

John Cooper Works Convertible 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

228 HP

236 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A3 Cabriolet 40 TSFI gets better fuel mileage than the Cooper Convertible S Auto (26 city/35 hwy vs. 25 city/33 hwy).

The A3 Cabriolet 40 TSFI’s standard fuel tank has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Cooper Convertible (13.2 vs. 11.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The A3 Cabriolet 45 TSFI Quattro’s standard fuel tank has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Cooper Convertible (14.5 vs. 11.6 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi A3 Cabriolet higher (7 out of 10) than the MINI Cooper Convertible (3 to 7). This means the A3 Cabriolet produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Cooper Convertible every 15,000 miles.

Transmission and Drivetrain

The Audi A3 Cabriolet comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Cooper Convertible.

A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Audi A3 Cabriolet, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Cooper Convertible.

The A3 Cabriolet offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Cooper Convertible doesn’t offer an SMG.

All wheel drive, available in the A3 Cabriolet, provides the best traction for acceleration in wet, dry, and icy conditions. In corners, all wheel drive allows both outside wheels to provide power, balancing the car. This allows for better handling. The MINI Cooper Convertible is not available with all wheel drive.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the A3 Cabriolet’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the Cooper Convertible:

 

A3

Cooper

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

10.7 inches

10.2 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A3 Cabriolet has larger standard tires than the Cooper Convertible (225/45R17 vs. 175/65R15). The A3 Cabriolet Prestige’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Cooper Convertible (235/35R19 vs. 205/40R18).

The A3 Cabriolet’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Cooper Convertible’s standard 65 series tires. The A3 Cabriolet Prestige’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Cooper Convertible’s optional 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A3 Cabriolet has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Cooper Convertible. The A3 Cabriolet Prestige’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the Cooper Convertible.

The A3 Cabriolet has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Cooper Convertible; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed. Some models of the Cooper Convertible don’t even offer run-flats.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A3 Cabriolet’s wheelbase is 4 inches longer than on the Cooper Convertible (102.2 inches vs. 98.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the A3 Cabriolet is 2.5 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Cooper Convertible.

The A3 Cabriolet handles at .86 G’s, while the Cooper Convertible pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The design of the Audi A3 Cabriolet amounts to more than styling. The A3 Cabriolet has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .31 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Cooper Convertible (.36) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the A3 Cabriolet get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the A3 Cabriolet a Subcompact car, while the Cooper Convertible is rated a Minicompact.

The A3 Cabriolet has 3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Cooper Convertible (79 vs. 76).

The A3 Cabriolet has 3.8 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear legroom and 6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Cooper Convertible.

Cargo Capacity

The A3 Cabriolet has a much larger trunk with its top down than the Cooper Convertible with its top down (7.1 vs. 5.7 cubic feet). The A3 Cabriolet has a much larger trunk with its top up than the Cooper Convertible with its top up (9.9 vs. 7.6 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than MINI. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 22% lower rating, MINI is ranked 10th.

Ergonomics

Audi Advanced Key optional on the A3 Cabriolet allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The MINI Cooper Convertible’s Start/Stop Switch doesn’t unlock the doors or the trunk.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the A3 Cabriolet has standard extendable sun visors. The Cooper Convertible doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The A3 Cabriolet has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Cooper Convertible.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the A3 Cabriolet has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Cooper Convertible doesn’t offer rear vents.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi A3 Cabriolet, based on reliability, safety and performance.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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