Newbie - help me decide?

Hi All - I?m new to the Audi world and hoping you can sway my decision. My former car was a Mini Cooper but I was just in a bad accident (other driver?s fault) and I?m a bit PTSD about getting another small Mini. I?ve driven the larger Countryman and it just isn?t fun like the 2 door.

I?m working with a lease broker and he can get me an Audi S3 or a BMW 320i xDrive for the same cost (about $1500 down and $300/month). It seems like the S3 is a no brainer - yes? Will I be happy driving it compared to my little Cooper?

The other consideration is I?m really a manual transmission guy and was disappointed that I can?t get a manual in an Audi or a BMW unless I?m willing to lease a really high-end model which is above my budget. So the only manual I?m looking at is the Countryman S - which as I said just isn?t as fun to drive but at least it has a stick.

I liked the feel of the S3 on my test drive but don?t know if I can get used to not having a manual transmission.

Your thoughts appreciated!
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As a former Mini S owner myself, I can attest you'll be very happy with the size and performance of the S3.