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A4 Tiptronic transmission for 1998

In JET's bulletin board, the following exchange was posted recently:

<I heard that the 193hp engine will be offered with the
"tiptronic" manual/automatic transmission from Porshce...

I hope it's still available with a regular 5 speed...
has anyone else heard anything along these lines?>

<<The 1998 A4 will be available with the ZF 5spd auto with DSP and
Tiptronic, as is also the case
with the new VW Passat (this doesn?t make it an Audi, however). The
presently available 5spd auto
ZF with DSP will be replaced by the new transmission. Apparently, Audi
will start the production in
early summer of ?97. >>

My questions:   What exactly is the tiptronic transmission?  Is it truly
a manual/ auto combination, and if so, how does that work?   Does it
behave more like a manual or an auto?  Is there any reason to believe
the current A4 auto tranny's sluggishness would be lessened?

Erik Bruce