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The S3’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The M2 Competition doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi S3 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 BMW M2 Competition doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
The S3 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 M2 Competition 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 S3 has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The M2 Competition doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The S3’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 M2 Competition doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.
To help make backing safer, the S3’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 M2 Competition doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
Both the S3 and the M2 Competition 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, available lane departure warning systems and rear parking sensors.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the S3 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 106 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The M2 Competition has not been tested, yet.
The Audi S3’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the M2 Competition’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.
The M2 Competition’s redline is at 7600 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The S3 has a 6500 RPM redline.
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the S3 has a standard 320-amp alternator. The M2 Competition’s 209-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 1 place higher in reliability than BMW.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi S3 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The M2 Competition requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The Audi S3 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the M2 Competition.
The S3 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 M2 Competition; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.
The S3 offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The M2 Competition’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For better maneuverability, the S3’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the M2 Competition’s (36.1 feet vs. 38.4 feet).
The design of the Audi S3 amounts to more than styling. The S3 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .33 Cd. That is lower than the M2 Competition (.35) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the S3 get better fuel mileage.
The S3 has standard seating for 5 passengers; the M2 Competition can only carry 4.
The S3 has .4 inches more front shoulder room and 2.1 inches more rear legroom than the M2 Competition.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 10% lower rating, BMW is ranked 11th.
The S3’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The M2 Competition has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.
The S3’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them, but the driver can still raise and lower all of them with the lock engaged. BMW does not offer a locking feature on the M2 Competition’s power windows.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the S3 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The M2 Competition doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The S3 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The M2 Competition doesn’t offer headlight washers.
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the S3 has standard extendable sun visors. The M2 Competition doesn’t offer extendable visors.
The S3’s sun-visors swivel front-to-side to block glare from the side windows. The M2 Competition’s visors are fixed into the windshield header.
The S3 has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The M2 Competition doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the S3 Premium Plus offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The M2 Competition doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
The S3 Premium Plus’ optional Park Steering Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The M2 Competition doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
Insurance will cost less for the S3 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the S3 will cost $2485 to $3530 less than the M2 Competition over a five-year period.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi S3 will be $11000 to $15729 less than for the BMW M2 Competition.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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