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Re: Driving Impressions: Passat 1.8T vs

Shaun Mullen wrote:
>Great review, Doug, and very nicely written.  I especially appreciated
>the subjective stuff: What you thought you'd find and what you actually
>found.  So much of car buying -- what cars we like and what cars we
>don't like -- is subjective.  I second your view that the Passat, in any
>guise, should not be viewed as a threat to the A4.  In fact, the Passat
>and the entire reinvigorated, soon-to-be-way-expanded VW line is one of
>the best things that could happen to Audi.

Thanks Shaun for the nice words.  I agree that VW is pushing Audi up-
market but I worry that those of us who are enthusiasts will the left by the 
side of the road.  I don't want my only choice for a well-engineered, fun-to-
drive 4 door (with a stick shift) to be BMW.

Actually, the stick shift may be a bellweather.  For instance, I thought
Volvo was on the right track with the AWD "R" model, but shamefully
it's not available in this country with a stick.  They do now offer a T5
with the high-pressure turbo with a stick, but not any of their AWD cars.
They ARE available in Canada.  Similarly, I used to have a couple dorF
Taurus SHO's, but now they've dropped the stick too.  There just
aren't many full-size sedans available where you can shift it yourself.
The Passat looked interesting to me because it still does offer a stick,
and indeed, it was a lot of fun.  But my guess is Audi and VW will soon
only offer Tiptronic, which I think still requires too much of a performance