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1.8tq driving experience

Hi folks,
            I *finally* had the opportunity to drive one of the 1.8tq's at
work today. It was a gold exterior, bluish interior car equiped with the
Sport Suspension and of course.. a 5spd. One of my coworkers started
walking towards it (instead of the A4q Avant) and I literally grabbed him
by the jacket and shook him as I was muttering "no! No! NO!". I think my
passion for testing out the 1.8tq might have frightened him a bit, 'cause
he shook his head laughing and walked over to the Avant. Of course, he
could care less for Audis, he's a American car kind of guy. 
            Anyway.... I can't think of enough compliments to pay to this
fine piece of engineering. Previously, I had an opportunity to go for a
ride in Orin Eman's 1.8tq.. albeit in the passenger seat.... and his was
equiped with the automatic. Although I enjoyed the ride (thank's Orin) as
well the opportunity to meet Linus Toy and go for a spin in his sweet 200q,
(all thanks to Andrew Buc who arranged this)... I missed out on the driving
experience. This was to change:
            The first thing I noticed was that the rubber-like feel of the
shift action was gone.. in it's place was a  very precise and seemingly
short-throw shift. The clutch is also supremely light in feel compared to
the heavy-ness of the 200q. It felt much more akin to the way a Honda
clutch pedal feels, than any Audi I'd ever driven before. This took a
little getting used to, and now I know what Igor means by "feathering the
clutch." A touch of a pain.. but definately liveable once up to speed. 
             Can we say "Nimble?" The 1.8tq was begging to be tossed into
corners.. in fact, I couldn't find enough of them on the way. The steering
was nicely weighted, though a bit too light at parking lot speeds for my
taste. I've noticed that in all the newer Audis. At highway speeds and
above, they are great.. but I don't like the feel when chuggin around. The
parking lot speed/steering feel gripe is so minor though. I'm clutching at
straws. This beauty was playful.. almost frisky I guess. 
             The seats were very supportive and were instantly comfortable,
like the way a sprint-shoe grips the foot or maybe a nicely weighted Tennis
Racket feels in your hand. Poised for action comes to mind for some reason.
I was pleasantly surpised at this because with my frame (6'3"), it's rare
when something fits so well.  
	 The untrained observer would be hard-pressed to notice the Turbo Lag.
Only when actively expecting it did I feel the boost come on strong. I
always thought the 200q was pretty good about Turbo Lag, but the 1.8tq is
amazing in it's application of boost. I'm *very* curious as to what
modifications will do to this subtle feel of boost. Probably make it much
more noticeable. 
            Well, let's see. The car I drove had an M.S.R.P. of ~30K. I
think a two year old or three year old model should be in my ball park in a
couple of years. I'll have to keep my eyes open. As a note to my beloved
200q.. "I wasn't cheating on you, I was admiring a close cousin." [Please
Audi gods, spare me your wrath]. 
              Oh yeah.. I almost forgot, I had an opportunity to sample an
A8q with ALL the goodies as well. Definately not as playful, but holy
smokes batman.. it's an amazing vehicle. Too bad sales are depressed on it
now. It's hard to sell a car that costs as much as cars with images like
Mercedes and BMW, when so many of the people who have that kind of cash
NEED to be seen in an image-mobile. 
               However.. the owner of the chain of 5 dealerships also has a
BMW shop in the lineup. Guess what he had prepped for his personal "demo"
this winter after enjoying a 7 series during the summer. YUP.. that's
right. A beautiful burgundy A8q!
               Sorry for the great length of this report. I'm still calming
down after the experience. I was ready to work late just to drive the other
Audi's that need to be moved to the new dealership today. Sheesh. 

Osman Parvez
Albany, NY
89 200q, TAP Chip, 170K