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The M2 Competition’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The RS 3 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
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 RS 3 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 RS 3 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 and rearview cameras.
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 RS 3.
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.
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the M2 Competition has a standard 209-amp alternator. The RS 3’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.
To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the M2 Competition has a standard 900-amp battery. The RS 3’s 420-amp battery isn’t as powerful.
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 RS 3’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’ 2019 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 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 8th.
The M2 Competition’s 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 11 more horsepower (405 vs. 394) and 52 lbs.-ft. more torque (406 vs. 354) than the RS 3’s 2.5 turbo 5 cyl.
Regenerative brakes improve the M2 Competition’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The RS 3 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 RS 3 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
For better stopping power the M2 Competition’s brake rotors are larger than those on the RS 3:
For better traction, the M2 Competition has larger tires than the RS 3 (F:245/35R19 & R:265/35R19 vs. 235/35R19).
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the M2 Competition’s wheelbase is 2.4 inches longer than on the RS 3 (106 inches vs. 103.6 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the M2 Competition is .8 inches wider in the front and 2.8 inches wider in the rear than on the RS 3.
The M2 Competition’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (48.1% to 51.9%) than the RS 3’s (58.2% to 41.8%). This gives the M2 Competition more stable handling and braking.
The M2 Competition Coupe handles at .99 G’s, while the RS 3 pulls only .96 G’s of cornering force in a Road and Track skidpad test.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the M2 Competition a Compact car, while the RS 3 is rated a Subcompact.
The M2 Competition has 3.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the RS 3 (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 RS 3.
With its coupe body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the M2 Competition offers cargo security. The RS 3’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.
The engine in the M2 Competition is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the RS 3. 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 RS 3 doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.
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 RS 3 doesn’t offer a memory system.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the M2 Competition has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The RS 3 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 RS 3’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 RS 3 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The M2 Competition was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 3 years. The RS 3 hasn’t been picked since 2018.
The M2 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 2 of the last 3 years. The RS 3 has never been an “All Star.”
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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