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re: V8 stuff

one other thing:

the v8 slush is very predictable in when it will shift.  one could cause
it to shift simply by right foot action.  a quick prod will activate a
down shift, a gentle press will keep the car in gear.  so under spirited
driving this is less of a disadvantage than what it may appear to be
at face value.  

by being able to use one's right foot to shift, one has the ability to
keep both hands on the wheel, a distinct advantage when tearing through
the turns.

plus there's "M" mode with 4 ratios is one is really insistent on
having full control of ratios.

the lossiness still sucks though..  i often try to coax the car to
lockup its converter in 3rd and once it does it stops churning and
starts moving... too bad there's no lockup in 2nd or 1st.  i think
the new trannies in the a4 have lockups in more ratios than the old