2011 MINI
Cooper
vs. 2012 Audi
A3 Premium

2011 MINI Cooper

9.8

starting from

$20,100
"Endearing retro styling, highly customizable."
edmunds.com | talking about the Cooper's external styling
"Excellent all-around performance."
edmunds.com | talking about the Cooper's transmission

Reasons to buy the MINI Cooper

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OK braking distance from 60mph
125 ft
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Less sporty performance
20.9 lb/hp
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OK cornering
0.86 g
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Very inexpensive
$20,100
2012 Audi A3 Premium

9.8

starting from

$31,125
"The 2010 Audi A3 TDI's main virtue is its fuel economy, which it gets because of its diesel engine."
reviews.cnet.com | talking about the A3's value
"Had plenty of boost to pass other cars or climb hills. In urban driving it ran smooth, although we could have hoped for a little more initial boost for quick merges and the like."
reviews.cnet.com | talking about the A3's performance

Reasons to buy the Audi A3 Premium

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Ample cargo space
39.0 ft3
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Turbocharged engine improves performance
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Fantastic range on the highway
613 miles
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Average-sized back seats
39.2 ft3
Luxury Features 9.3 vs 10.0
2012 Audi A3 Premium Winner: A3 Premium
[details]
  • Leather-appointed interiors are available on both; but it comes standard with the A3 Premium
Road Tests 10.0 vs 9.6
2011 MINI Cooper Winner: Cooper
[details]
  • The Cooper needs around 10% less space to stop from 60mph, 125 ft vs 134 ft
  • Almost the same, 0.86 g vs 0.83 g
  • Almost the same, 124 mph vs 121 mph
Cost 10.0 vs 9.6
2011 MINI Cooper Winner: Cooper
[details]
  • The best price we've seen is $11,025 cheaper (around 40% less), $20,100 vs $31,125
Crash Test Ratings - vs -
Missing information
[details]
Safety Features 10.0 vs -
Missing information
[details]
Performance 10.0 vs -
Missing information
[details]
  • Neither has a good drivetrain for off-road or bad weather driving
  • Underpowered
  • Both {better} and {worse} are sluggish relative to their competitors
Practicality 10.0 vs -
Missing information
[details]
  • Both have a rear seat that folds down for extra storage space
  • Both offer an upgrade to a navigation system
  • Very cramped front seats
Entertainment System 10.0 vs -
Missing information
[details]
  • Neither offers an entertainment system
Overall 9.8 vs 9.8

Luxury Features

MINI
Cooper
2011 MINI Cooper
2012 Audi A3 Premium Audi
A3 Premium
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moon roof Not Available vs Not Available Neither offers a sun roof
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power seats Not Available vs Not Available Neither has a power seat option
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keyless entry Standard vs Standard Both have keyless entry
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leather Optional vs Standard Leather-appointed interiors are available on both; but it comes standard with the A3 Premium

Road Tests

MINI
Cooper
2011 MINI Cooper
2012 Audi A3 Premium Audi
A3 Premium
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0-60 mph 9.1 seconds vs 8.5 seconds The A3 Premium's 0-60 time is average for this class of vehicle, but the Cooper is sluggish
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Braking distance at 60mph 125 ft vs 134 ft The Cooper 's braking ability is average for this class of vehicle, but the A3 Premium is quite bad
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1/4 mile 17.0 s s @ 83.0 mph mph vs 16.7 s s @ 82.0 mph mph The A3 Premium's 1/4 mile time is average, but the Cooper 's is quite bad
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Lateral acceleration 0.86 g vs 0.83 g Both have unremarkable cornering abilities
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Top speed 124 mph vs 121 mph Both have a very low top speed

Cost

MINI
Cooper
2011 MINI Cooper
2012 Audi A3 Premium Audi
A3 Premium
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MSRP $20,100 vs $31,125 The Cooper has a great price and the A3 Premium is pretty reasonable
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In-city gas mileage 29 mpg vs 30 mpg Both very efficient in the city
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basic warranty miles 50,000 mile vs 50,000 mile Longer basic warranty
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basic warranty years 4 year vs 4 year Longer-lasting basic warranty

Crash Test Ratings

MINI
Cooper
2011 MINI Cooper
2012 Audi A3 Premium Audi
A3 Premium
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Rollover resistance 5 stars vs Unknown
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Front driver crash test Unknown vs Unknown
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Driver side crash test Unknown vs Unknown

Safety Features

MINI
Cooper
2011 MINI Cooper
2012 Audi A3 Premium Audi
A3 Premium
Help
antilock brakes Standard vs Standard Both come standard with ABS brakes
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Stability control system Yes vs Unknown
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Airbags 4 vs 5 The A3 Premium has an OK number of airbags while the Cooper has very few (missing Rear Curtain)
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Rear brakes Disc vs Disc Both have the usual brakes for this class of vehicle
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child door locks Not Available vs Standard Keep kids safe in the rear seat with standard child door locks on the A3 Premium; optional upgrade on the Cooper
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Roadside assistance system None vs None

Performance

MINI
Cooper
2011 MINI Cooper
2012 Audi A3 Premium Audi
A3 Premium
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Horsepower 121 HP @ 6,000 RPM vs 140 HP @ 4,200 RPM Underpowered
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Number of gears 6 vs Unknown
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Transmission Manual transmission vs Unknown
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paddle shifters Not Available vs Unknown
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Air compressor None vs Turbocharger The A3 Premium's Turbocharger lets it maximize power output, quite rare for this class of vehicle
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Power-to-weight ratio 20.9 lb/hp vs 23.7 lb/hp Both {better} and {worse} are sluggish relative to their competitors
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Drivetrain type front-wheel drive vs front-wheel drive Neither has a good drivetrain for off-road or bad weather driving
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Curb-to-curb turning radius 35.1 ft vs 35.1 ft Both cars corner comparably to other vehicles in their class

Practicality

MINI
Cooper
2011 MINI Cooper
2012 Audi A3 Premium Audi
A3 Premium
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Passengers 4 vs 5 The A3 Premium has the usual number of seats, while the Cooper has very few
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Highway driving range 488 miles vs 613 miles The A3 Premium gets fantastic distance on a single tank, and the Cooper gets OK distance
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Cargo space 5.7 ft3 vs 39.0 ft3 The A3 Premium has lots of cargo room, but the Cooper has very little
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front seats 46.8 ft3 vs 51.0 ft3 Very cramped front seats
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folding rear seats Standard vs Standard Both have a rear seat that folds down for extra storage space
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power outlets Not Available vs Standard The A3 Premium's standard power outlets will keep your gadgets charged; not available on the Cooper
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roof rails Not Available vs Optional Need to carry bulky cargo? Get the roof rails upgrade on the A3 Premium
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navigation system Optional vs Optional Both offer an upgrade to a navigation system
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Cupholders 3 vs Unknown
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front air conditioning Standard vs Standard A/C for hot summer days comes standard

Entertainment System

MINI
Cooper
2011 MINI Cooper
2012 Audi A3 Premium Audi
A3 Premium
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Number of speakers 6 vs Unknown
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Has speed sensitive volume Yes vs Unknown
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CD player Standard vs Standard CD player comes standard
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premium radio Optional vs Optional Both can be upgraded to include satellite radio
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Has auxiliary audio input Yes vs Unknown
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Has subwoofer No vs Unknown
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entertainment system Not Available vs Not Available Neither offers an entertainment system

Other Vehicles to Consider

2011 MINI Cooper 2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI Cooper vs Golf TDI
2011 MINI Cooper 2012 Fiat 500 Pop Cooper vs 500 Pop
2011 MINI Cooper 2011 Smart fortwo Passion Cooper vs fortwo Passion
2011 MINI Cooper 2011 Honda Fit Cooper vs Fit
2011 MINI Cooper 2012 Honda Civic Si Cooper vs Civic Si
2012 Audi A3 Premium 2011 Audi A4 Premium A3 Premium vs A4 Premium
2012 Audi A3 Premium 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI A3 Premium vs Jetta TDI
2012 Audi A3 Premium 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI SEL Premium A3 Premium vs Passat TDI SEL Premium
2012 Audi A3 Premium 2011 Audi A5 Premium A3 Premium vs A5 Premium
2012 Audi A3 Premium 2011 Lexus CT 200h A3 Premium vs CT 200h

Comments Which car would you recommend, and why?

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