2019 Volkswagen GTI vs. 2019 MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volkswagen GTI 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 GTI has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, 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 GTI Autobahn’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 Hardtop 2 Door doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The GTI SE/Autobahn’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 GTI SE/Autobahn’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 GTI and the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes and rear parking sensors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Volkswagen GTI is safer than the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door:

GTI

Cooper

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

33%

36%

Neck Compression

53 lbs.

60 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

108/102 lbs.

261/454 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The GTI comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 22000 miles sooner.

There are over 5 times as many Volkswagen dealers as there are MINI dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the GTI’s warranty.

Reliability

The Volkswagen GTI’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

Engine

The GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 94 more horsepower (228 vs. 134) and 96 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 162) than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s standard 1.5 turbo 3 cyl. The GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 39 more horsepower (228 vs. 189) and 51 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 207) than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 236) than the John Cooper Works Hardtop’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Volkswagen GTI is faster than the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door (manual transmissions tested):

GTI

Cooper

Cooper S

Zero to 60 MPH

5.7 sec

7.4 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

15.9 sec

15 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

99.9 MPH

88.8 MPH

95.7 MPH

In a Motor Trend race course test, the Volkswagen GTI SE was clocked 2.39 seconds faster than the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door S (88.54 sec. vs. 90.93 sec.).

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the GTI Manual gets better fuel mileage than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door S Manual (24 city/32 hwy vs. 23 city/32 hwy).

The GTI has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door (13.2 vs. 11.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volkswagen GTI higher (7 out of 10) than the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door (3 to 7). This means the GTI produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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

The GTI offers an optional 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 GTI’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door:

GTI

GTI SE/Autobahn

Cooper

John Cooper Works

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

13.4 inches

11 inches

13.2 inches

Rear Rotors

10.7 inches

12.2 inches

10.2 inches

10.2 inches

The GTI SE/Autobahn’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 GTI stops much shorter than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door:

GTI

Cooper

80 to 0 MPH

211 feet

229 feet

Road and Track

70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

100 feet

113 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the GTI has larger tires than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door (225/40R18 vs. 175/65R15). The GTI’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door (225/40R18 vs. 205/40R18).

The GTI’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GTI has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GTI’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 GTI is 1.8 inches wider in the front and .9 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door.

The GTI SE handles at .95 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

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the GTI a Compact car, while the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door is rated a Subcompact.

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

The GTI has 13.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door (93.5 vs. 80).

The GTI has 5.3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, 4.8 inches more rear legroom and 6.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door.

Cargo Capacity

The GTI has a larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door with its rear seat up (22.8 vs. 8.7 cubic feet). The GTI has a larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the Cooper Hardtop 2 Door with its rear seat folded (52.7 vs. 34 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The GTI’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.

Keyless Access standard on the GTI Rabbit/SE/Autobahn 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 Hardtop 2 Door’s Start/Stop Switch doesn’t unlock the doors or the trunk.

The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door’s optional cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The GTI Rabbit/SE/Autobahn’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

The GTI 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.

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

Recommendations

Road and Track performed a comparison test in its October 2014 issue and the Volkswagen GTI SE won out over the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2 Door S.

The GTI was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 13 of the last 13 years. The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the GTI as their 2015 Car of the Year. The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has never been chosen.

The GTI was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 5 of the last 12 years. The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has never been an “All Star.”

The GTI was selected by Automobile Magazine as their 2010 Car of the Year. The Cooper Hardtop 2 Door has never been chosen.

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

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