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Mazdaspeed 3 or Mini Cooper S

stevecebustevecebu Posts: 493
edited April 10 in MINI
Discussion for deciding between the 2 cars as they are competitive with each other in many ways.
Discuss the reasons you would choose one over the other.
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Comments

  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    for its road feel, and personality.

    the mazda would be a better car in the sense of space, but i wont factor that in since most people are going to talk about the cars from a performance standpoint.

    but if you want to bring frugality into it, the mini does get much better mileage.(and yes, i'm talking about the s)
  • For me it's a tough decision because the Mini offers no spare tire and the run flats are worrisome if you are well out into the boonies with virtually no service stations open after 10pm.
    Mini dealers are few and far between for many people as well. The Mazdaspeed 3 is faster but not necessarily better, but dealers are plentiful and it does have a spare tire and could be considered practical as it's a 5 door hatch.
    The Mini's clearly get better fuel economy as you pointed out. I'm interested in what others think of each car because both without doubt are great cars in their own right. I'm thinking that various opinions on each would give a better insight into the cars.
    Thanks :)
  • Yes the Mazda 3 has a much stronger engine, much fast lap time, . . . but it still looks like a Mazda 3; nice but bland in comparison.
    The Mini Cooper S, is fast enough, good looking, dependable, and overall just fun.
    If you want space, then obviously you wont be finding yourself at a Mini Dealer any time soon, or else the car wouldn't be called "Mini". . . . and if its speed you looking for, well the Mini has plenty with additional perks, and if you know cars you don't judge solely on speed, you can be fast but not necessarily agile.
  • I am struggling with the same question. The Mazda 3 compares more closely to the Mini Clubman, which is now available. The Mini offers a sunroof that isn't offered on the MazdaSpeed. However, comparably equipped, the Mini is about $6k more. For that extra money, you get no spare tire, less space, less power, less acceleration, less reliability, less dealer/service locations, etc. Of course, the Mini offers better gas mileage, better handling, better resale value, more customization options, etc. In my mind, there are many good reasons to go with the Mazda, but I'm still struggling with one point - I think it is butt ugly.
  • Hi, I just came across this discussion and have been considering both cars. I test drove the Mini and the "S" and was impressed but the "S" with the 17" run flat tires was a little on the rough and noisy side. I like the looks of the Mini over the Mazda but the price which is essentially fixed on the Mini can be negotiated on the Mazda. I think that a Japanese car will be more reliable than a German one. What might tip the Mazda my way is the fact that I can get 0% financing for 36mo. but 6.25% with perfect credit from BMW for the Mini.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,454
    My wife and I both love the Mini- and I might have bought a Cooper S had we not needed a usable rear seat. That said, I'm extremely pleased with my Mazdaspeed3. The looks don't bother me, and I like the way it doesn't attract unwanted attention from law enforcement. The combination of practicality and performance sealed the deal for me. And my wife will probably end up with a Clubman anyway... ;)

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    My wife and I both love the Mini- and I might have bought a Cooper S had we not needed a usable rear seat. That said, I'm extremely pleased with my Mazdaspeed3.

    How would you rate the 2 cars individually? I've heard good and bad things about the vagueness/impreciseness of the shifter in the Speed3 and I'm wondering if you could elaborate more. I'm a bit torn myself, because I like small cars and the Mini looks like a real possibility but the lack of a spare and the dealer being so far away doesn't help. I am on vacation and my wife has said no cars (except online) until we get back. I'd appreciate any additional info you could give me about your impressions about both cars and did you feel you gave up anything going with the Speed3?
    Thanks :)
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,454
    How would you rate the 2 cars individually?

    The Mini is very nimble; it's quick rather than fast. The Mazdaspeed handles very well. The overall balance is neutral, and it will rotate on on trailing throttle-though not as eagerly as the Mini will. The engine has absolutely amazing midrange thrust. The car is a rocket.

    I've heard good and bad things about the vagueness/impreciseness of the shifter in the Speed3 and I'm wondering if you could elaborate more.

    Coming out of RWD cars I was also concerned about the Mazda's shifter. However, in reality it isn't so bad. The only thing I noticed was that the 1-2 and 3-4 gates are spaced further apart than the 3-4 and 5-6 gates, but you soon get used to it. I should also note that I'm used to driving German cars with Getrag transmissions, and they reward smooth, deliberate, ans un-hurried shifting. The same is true with the tranny in the Mazdaspeed3. The only thing that really annoys me is the clutch action. The clutch engages over a very short range of travel. It took me a while to get used to that.

    did you feel you gave up anything going with the Speed3?

    Not really; I cross-shopped a bunch of very different cars- from the GTI and Cooper S to the Charger SRT8 and Shelby GT. I also looked at E36 and E46 M3s and a 330i ZHP. I guess that it all boiled down to the fact I just wanted something crazy and different- and the Mazdaspeed3 fit that description to a "T".

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    The Mini is very nimble; it's quick rather than fast. The Mazdaspeed handles very well. The overall balance is neutral, and it will rotate on on trailing throttle-though not as eagerly as the Mini will. The engine has absolutely amazing midrange thrust. The car is a rocket.

    Thanks for your thoughts on both cars. I really have to get out and drive both cars myself. I've been trying to find a way to buy the new Subaru STI, since I live in snow country and it's very quick and fast and AWD.
    My wife says NO! But I think it's possible to do ;)
    The MINI looks like a real bargain to me but it's not very practical and of course my wife wants a new car also as both of ours are well worn.
    My major gripe with the MINI is the distance to the dealer. I'd have to take a day out of work to get any service done on it. The Speed3 is to me at least, a great looking wagon. I like wagons and the 3 series is one of the best looking for me.
    It's a tough call because I really like nimble handling and I miss my Miata but need 4 seats.
    How bad are the rear seats in the MINI? My wife is 5' tall and I'm only 5'7" tall so I'm wondering if putting a 3rd person in the back with room for a spare tire is do-able?
    I know the Speed3 has tons of room. I sat in one but was afraid to drive it as I might want to buy it and I'm really hoping the STI will work out for me. I like a bit of travel in the clutch so I can feather it, did the dealership say if it's adjustable?
    I have over 200K on my WRX and it's got a buyer already who is waiting on me to sell it, he's turning it into a race car and is going to give me $1K cash for it.
    Ah it's no fun waiting :sick:
    I guess I am looking at very different cars as well. The RFT's on the MINI are a complete turnoff for me as the roads I travel you really need a spare or you are in trouble. Cell phones are intermitent as well.
    Thanks for your help...
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,454
    I've been trying to find a way to buy the new Subaru STI, since I live in snow country and it's very quick and fast and AWD.

    Yes, that's a very sweet car.

    How bad are the rear seats in the MINI?

    One reason I kind of wanted a usable back seat was to take some miles off my wife's truck. My 7th grade son is already 5'6" and he wasn't much for riding in the back seat of my 318ti Club Sport or my Wrangler. I'm 5'10" and my wife is 5'7" and my kid was very cramped in the rear seat of the Cooper S. I was of the opinion that if my kid was going to be uncomfortable in the back seat, it might as well be the back seat of a nice 993... :P In contrast, the added practicality(and horsepower ;) ) made the Mazdaspeed an easy call. I'm also planning to add the Mazdaspeed CAI and attend a few track days next year.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    One reason I kind of wanted a usable back seat was to take some miles off my wife's truck. My 7th grade son is already 5'6" and he wasn't much for riding in the back seat of my 318ti Club Sport or my Wrangler. I'm 5'10" and my wife is 5'7" and my kid was very cramped in the rear seat of the Cooper S. I was of the opinion that if my kid was going to be uncomfortable in the back seat, it might as well be the back seat of a nice 993... In contrast, the added practicality(and horsepower ) made the Mazdaspeed an easy call. I'm also planning to add the Mazdaspeed CAI and attend a few track days next year.

    Yeah the MINI is rather small and the back seat sounds pretty cramped. my wife is only 5' so it might be ok if she sits in the back but I doubt 4 real adults would want to sit in the back for any length of time. I think the Speed3 is a real possibility if the STI proves to be too costly.
    I'll still drive all 3 cars and a couple more as well.
    I take it you have a 2 door Wrangler and not the 4 door. The 4 door seems like a good bet unless you are into hardcore offroad.
    I still like the economy of the MINI and the small size, but as a primary car it's not enough. I agree about the 993. make mine an S please!
    The 996 is pretty nice as well and a 1998 993 air cooled is big $$$ about $40k for a decent S.
    Mazdaspeed3 is probably a lot more reliable, it also has a real back seat because I have sat in the back and it was fine.
    The CAI seems good but doesn't that make it susceptible to water getting into it? There is no longer a housing over the CAI, IIRC. so doesn't that increase your chance of vapor lock in the winter or if you hit a big puddle?
  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    I tested 2 MS3s.......they are great......BUT, bought a Crossfire yesterday....sticker was just under $36K......I paid $20K + beat up Alero strippo with 80K miles & dents. It's really a Mercedes folks.....buildt in Germany & 07 will be the last year. Daimler & Chrysler are splitting up I believe & Chrysler is dumping these cars. It was never hailed by the experts because of the price group it competed in....but for about $23 K out the door......it's a fantastic buy!!!!! In the begining they were asking way over sticker.

    If you want a practical-sleeper-rocket buy the MS3.

    If you want super solid quality, almost as fast as the MS3, drop dead gorgeous looks, A powertrain warranty for AS LONG AS YOU LIVE & OWN IT!!!!, and what I suspect will be great resale value 10 years from now.......go get an 07 Crossfire before the last ones are gone!!!!!

    I got the last 6 speed manual I think the the Kansas City area...most are automatics.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,454
    I take it you have a 2 door Wrangler and not the 4 door. The 4 door seems like a good bet unless you are into hardcore offroad.

    Mine is a 1999. I was going to sell it when I bought the MS3 but it's paid for and cheap to insure, so I decided to keep it and use it when the roads are icy and when I want to take my German Shepherd with me.

    The CAI seems good but doesn't that make it susceptible to water getting into it?

    The Mazdaspeed does have a small shield. The consensus on the MS3 boards is that water ingestion is a remote possibility until you start talking about a foot or so of water.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    I tested 2 MS3s.......they are great......BUT, bought a Crossfire yesterday....sticker was just under $36K......I paid $20K + beat up Alero strippo with 80K miles & dents. It's really a Mercedes folks.....buildt in Germany & 07 will be the last year. Daimler & Chrysler are splitting up I believe & Chrysler is dumping these cars. It was never hailed by the experts because of the price group it competed in....but for about $23 K out the door......it's a fantastic buy!!!!! In the beginning they were asking way over sticker.

    I never was able to warm up to the Crossfire even when it was new. It's also very pricey and that will hurt it. I'm glad you got a good deal on it. Just remember that warranty is only for the original owner and you'd better read the fine print very carefully. They are discussing the Chrysler warranty in another forum, it's not so good for whomever buys the car from you.
    It's a two seater, right? Useless for me as I need 4 real seats. I'm sure you'll have fun with it for a long time. :)
  • tiff_ctiff_c Posts: 531
    The Mazdaspeed does have a small shield. The consensus on the MS3 boards is that water ingestion is a remote possibility until you start talking about a foot or so of water.

    This would concern me where I live as slush could get up into it. I'll have to decide that if I buy one, so far it's the front runner. AWD would be nice to have but just too expensive for the STI at this time.
    I have another month and then I'll have to buy something.

    I'd have kept the Jeep as well if it was all paid for, it's good to have an extra car if it's cheap enough.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,454
    You got a great deal on a great car. Enjoy!

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    Having chose the sub $23K brand new 6 speed '07 Crossfire over the 2 MS3s I tested I can now report, after 800 miles.... runs like a striped-[non-permissible content removed]-ape. 24 mpg, solid as a rock, beats MS3 on lateral Gs, maybe midrange also..acceleration more linear/smooth....deceptive...but only tops out at 151 mph. Much quieter / solid than MS3. Downside = 8.4 quarts Mobil-1 ,....12 spark plugs, "W" rated ASP 18s on front and 19s on rear will be expensive to replace. Was in a Sonic today....guy in new Vette kept looking at it.....killed his engine 4-5 times before he got out of the place!!!!!!! Heated leather seats a real plus this time of year. HomeLink nice. Dynamic Stability Control/Traction Control work great in snow/ice. First rear drive car I've had since '88.....NO TORQUE STEER!

    Maybe I can convince my wife she needs a wagon like the MS3, would be nice to have both.....?
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    Are you concerned that the Crossfire has been discontinued? Are you planning to keep it for a short time?
  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    Here's the scoop, it's a little known or appreciated fact that the only parts on the car made by Chrysler are the "Chrysler Badges" on the front & rear. The engine, transmission & the shortened chasis are Mercedes SLK320. The body was designed by Chrysler, but buildt in Germany ...assembled at the Karman factory. I plan on keeping it a very long time...especially since any Chrysler purchased after 7/26/07 comes with a full powertrain warranty for as long as YOU live & own it....as long as you remember to bring it in within 60 days of each 5 year anniversity for a free inspection.

    Regarding it being discontinued......GREAT !!!! The original contract was for 100,00 to be buildt & about 20-30K of them went to other countries.... you won't see yourself coming & going!! Some day, people will realize what a good vehicle it is...& it has the strange background of being a Mercedes with a Chrysler designed body and badge on it.. This will never happen again.

    I'm a car magazine avid reader & it never clicked with me that it was really a Mercedes till I saw the ad in the paper $14K off & started to investigate the vehicle. Went & test drove one & said WOW......$23K for a Limited with a sticker of $36K...see the dealerships I believe are getting a $10K kickback from Chrysler to dump them since they separated from Daimler. Daimler-Chrysler never pushed the fact that it was a Mercedes ....they didn't really want to dilute Mercedes' image with the public....that something with a Chrysler price tag was made from Mercedes parts....

    I'm glad it's discontinued.....will make mine that much more unusual & rare. Go slam the door on one...then slam the door on a MS3.....see what you think...
  • ahightowerahightower TXPosts: 477
    I think the Mercedes bits is pretty well known, every story I've ever read mentions it. It was the previous SLK, MB had moved to the next generation. Much like the 300 used the old E-class chassis. I'm not knocking either car, they're great vehicles. And what a deal you got! Doesn't bode well for resale value, but if you plan to keep it a long time then it's perfect. I love the styling of the Crossfire personally. Not so much the convertible, but the coupe is a beauty. It looks like nothing else on the road, and I also like to have cars that are a little less common. I just regret that I can't get by with a two-seater, otherwise I would have been tempted to get one too.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    I love the styling of the Crossfire ... the coupe is a beauty. It looks like nothing else on the road, and I also like to have cars that are a little less common.

    I could not agree more. For me, it hearkens back to some Vettes of long ago.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,454
    My local Chrysler dealer had a leftover SRT version. I could have grabbed it for around $26K, but I needed a four seater... :(

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    My only gripe with the SRTs is that they are all automatic transmissions.....I just had to have a 6 spd stick. Like I said before, I'd love to have both the Crossfire and the MS3.......maybe a Cayman S too? This is some kind of illness I think......?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,454
    This is some kind of illness I think......?

    Join the club; I took my wife's X3 to the dealer for an ATF change and they had a stunning 2004 CPO M3 parked in front of the showroom. Must... resist... ;)

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    You want to see some real horror stories....go over to the Audi TT forums.....timing belts not chains.......engine replacements galore! People paid >$40K.....50K miles...boom!
  • I think for the performance oriented but value minded shopper, these two cars present a very difficult choice. I owned an 04' Mazdaspeed Protege for two years and gained a great deal of respect for Mazda's tuning division. The really know how to "screw" a car together and offer BMW 3-series-like steering and braking feel for comparatively little money. My biggest gripe was the lack of support for Mazdaspeed models by the majority of Mazda dealerships. While in CA, finding local dealer support was easy. However, upon relocating to PA, I was commuting 1.15 hrs to the nearest Mazdaspeed trained/approved dealer. This grew old quickly and was a major reason for buying an 07' Cooper S - as much to my suprise I had two MINI dealers within 15-25 miles from my home. Your local dealer support and network will undoubtedly enter into your buying equation, too. Driving the Cooper S provides daily grins, personally, and from the general public - something which never occured with my old Mazdaspeed except for the "in the know" crowd. I average 30 mpg in mixed driving - an unexpected benefit which is becoming more and more important given rising fuel prices. The Cooper S does give up some backseat passenger and storage space to the Mazdaspeed3, but I still find it provides enough space for my needs (which include wife, 6 yrs kid, & dog). As for buying advice, the ability to build to order your Cooper is amazing - and recommended. Choosing only the options you want goes a long way to avoiding the dreaded price creeping which is, unfortunately, part of the BMW/MINI sales model. Lastly, if your daily driving includes a lengthy commute, forego the sunroof and 17' wheel package...it pays huges dividends in keeping things quiet at high speeds. Cheerio!
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,454
    forego the sunroof

    Thats another reason I liked the MCS and MS3...
    NO SUNROOF!!! :D
    In two years I'll bet we've opened the one on my wife's X3 no more than 10-12 times. And as my friend and racer TC Kline puts it, a sunroof provides the same effect as strapping a car battery to your roof- it adds more weight in the worst place possible.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • This forum is perfect. I am looking for a new car right now and I'm literally stuck on a MINI or a M3S.

    I haven't test driven either, but I have been researching them. I'm looking for a fun, sporty, and "different" kind of car, but I'm also going to be trading in an SUV (Ford Escape) so I'm already concerned about the size difference.

    Both cars appear to be in my price range and both look like fun to drive. I still can't decide though. So far this forum hasn't either =/ I know the test drive is the most important, but what else should I look for/be aware of?

    Note: this will be my first "new car".
  • smogdungsmogdung Posts: 349
    Drive them both, listen to both, price them both.....then go get a Mercedes Benz Crossfire for less! ($15K off sticker -Lifetime Warranty!).
  • The Crossfire guy sounds more like he's trying to convince himself than anyone else. No German car (BMW included) scores high on long term reliabilty in any publication. The marketing ploy of a "Lifetime Warrenty" by Chrysler is a desperate act of a company in serious trouble.

    Now some maybe reading into this, "This guy hates Chrysler."

    Nope. Dad owned a Polara, LeBaron, and a Cordoba. Mom and Uncle both owned a Dart. Same Uncle rebuilt a 1980 Aspen, and also owned a Valiant. Grandfather owned a Newport. Grandmother a Dart.Another uncle a Charger and a Challenger.

    Getting the idea?

    The Speed 3 killed at Nurburg. It's reliability is shown through data to be outstanding. The torque-steer is electronically quashed. Game, set, match.

    If you want to LEASE a Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, be my guest. They are sporty and well-mannered...for about 20,000 miles, so purchasing them should be something left to rental car companies.
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