2019 BMW M2 Competition vs. 2019 Audi S3 Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The M2 Competition has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The S3 Sedan doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the M2 Competition and the S3 Sedan 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available lane departure warning systems.

Warranty

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the M2 Competition for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the S3 Sedan.

There are over 13 percent more BMW dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the M2 Competition’s warranty.

Reliability

The battery on the M2 Competition is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the M2 Competition’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The S3 Sedan’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 13th.

Engine

The M2 Competition’s 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 117 more horsepower (405 vs. 288) and 126 lbs.-ft. more torque (406 vs. 280) than the S3 Sedan’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the M2 Competition’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The S3 Sedan doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the M2 Competition’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The S3 Sedan doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the M2 Competition’s brake rotors are larger than those on the S3 Sedan:

 

M2 Competition

S3 Sedan

Front Rotors

15.7 inches

13.4 inches

Rear Rotors

15 inches

12.2 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the M2 Competition has larger tires than the S3 Sedan (F:245/35R19 & R:265/35R19 vs. 225/40R18). The M2 Competition’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the S3 Sedan (F:245/35R19 & R:265/35R19 vs. 235/35R19).

The M2 Competition’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the S3 Sedan’s standard 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the M2 Competition has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the S3 Sedan.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the M2 Competition’s wheelbase is 2.4 inches longer than on the S3 Sedan (106 inches vs. 103.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the M2 Competition is 1.1 inches wider in the front and 2.9 inches wider in the rear than on the S3 Sedan.

The M2 Competition Coupe handles at 1.01 G’s, while the S3 Sedan pulls only .92 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the M2 Competition a Compact car, while the S3 Sedan is rated a Subcompact.

The M2 Competition has 3.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the S3 Sedan (89.7 vs. 86).

The M2 Competition has 3.6 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front legroom, .4 inches more rear headroom and .4 inches more rear shoulder room than the S3 Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

With its coupe body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the M2 Competition offers cargo security. The S3 Sedan’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the M2 Competition is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the S3 Sedan. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

The M2 Competition has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The S3 Sedan doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the M2 Competition, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The S3 Sedan doesn’t offer a memory system.

Comfort Access standard on the M2 Competition 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 Audi S3 Sedan’s Audi Advanced Key doesn’t unlock the trunk.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the M2 Competition has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The S3 Sedan doesn’t offer cornering lights. The M2 Competition also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

When the M2 Competition is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The S3 Sedan’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

On extremely cold winter days, the M2 Competition’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The S3 Sedan doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Recommendations

The M2 Competition was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 3 years. The S3 Sedan has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The M2 Competition was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2017. The S3 Sedan has never been an “All Star.”

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

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