2019 Audi RS 3 vs. 2019 MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The RS 3’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi RS 3 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The RS 3 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 Hardtop 2 Door 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 RS 3 has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The RS 3’s optional 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 Hardtop 2 Door doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The RS 3’s 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 Hardtop 2 Door doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the RS 3’s 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 Hardtop 2 Door doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the RS 3 and the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available crash mitigating brakes.

The Audi RS 3 weighs 708 to 968 pounds more than the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

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 RS 3’s warranty.

Reliability

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 RS 3’s 2.5 turbo 5 cyl. produces 260 more horsepower (394 vs. 134) and 192 lbs.-ft. more torque (354 vs. 162) than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s standard 1.5 turbo 3 cyl. The RS 3’s 2.5 turbo 5 cyl. produces 205 more horsepower (394 vs. 189) and 147 lbs.-ft. more torque (354 vs. 207) than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The RS 3’s 2.5 turbo 5 cyl. produces 166 more horsepower (394 vs. 228) and 118 lbs.-ft. more torque (354 vs. 236) than the John Cooper Works Hardtop’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

The RS 3 has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door (14.5 vs. 11.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

The Audi RS 3 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door.

A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Audi RS 3, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door.

The RS 3 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 Hardtop 2 Door doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the RS 3’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door:

RS 3

Cooper

Cooper S

John Cooper Works

Front Rotors

14.6 inches

11 inches

11.6 inches

13.2 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

10.2 inches

10.2 inches

10.2 inches

The RS 3’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door are solid, not vented.

The RS 3 offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The RS 3 stops much shorter than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door:

RS 3

Cooper

80 to 0 MPH

204 feet

229 feet

Road and Track

70 to 0 MPH

157 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

126 feet

Road and Track

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the RS 3 has larger standard tires than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door (235/35R19 vs. 175/65R15). The RS 3’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door (F:255/30R19 & R:235/35R19 vs. 205/40R18).

The RS 3’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s standard 65 series tires. The RS 3’s optional 255/30R19 front and 235/35R19 rear tires have a lower 30 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s optional 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RS 3 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door. The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RS 3’s wheelbase is 5.4 inches longer than on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door (103.6 inches vs. 98.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RS 3 is 2.6 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door.

The RS 3’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (58.2% to 41.8%) than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s (61.1% to 38.9%). This gives the RS 3 more stable handling and braking.

The RS 3 handles at .98 G’s, while the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door S pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

The RS 3 has standard seating for 5 passengers; the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door can only carry 4.

The RS 3 has 6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door (86 vs. 80).

The RS 3 has 4.2 inches more front shoulder room, 4.3 inches more rear legroom and 5.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door.

Cargo Capacity

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the RS 3. The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

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

The RS 3’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them. MINI does not offer a locking feature on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s standard power windows.

Audi Advanced Key standard on the RS 3 allows you to unlock the doors, 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 Hardtop 2 Door’s Start/Stop Switch doesn’t unlock the doors or the trunk.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RS 3 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The RS 3 has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The RS 3 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 Hardtop 2 Door.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the RS 3 has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door doesn’t offer rear vents.

Recommendations

The RS 3 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2018. The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

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

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