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re: V8 vs A8 vs 200

i drove the european A8 with tiptronic and was very impressed by its
off the line acceleration.  it took off very smartly indeed and felt
that it could dust a lot of cars in a traffic light drag.  audi claims
that the US spec cars have even better off the line performance.

as for the sport/economy switch, if your car has the newer tranny firmware
you can pretty much leave it in "E" as it's much smarter.  it will measure
how *fast* you are stomping down on the gas and use that to determine
downshifts.  i can very slowly press down and get it close to full
throttle without causing it to shift or i can stomp really hard and get it
to downshift 2 gears.  the difference between the newer and old tranny
firmware is like night and day.  the former was dumb as a cow which is
why they needed to provide you with that switch.

in "S" mode the controller will delay upshifts if you are in a constant
on-off situation.. it thinks that you are attacking a curvy road.

but really, the best feature has been left out of the newer cars:  the
jagged mercedes style shifter gate that allows excellent semi-automatic
operation.  i'd rather have this than tiptronic because each position
in the gate corresponds to precisely one gear rather than it being a
downshift/upshift command.

the v8 is too heavy up front and feels it too, but it is superb on fast
sweepers.  i beat out a boxster recently on a fast sweeper.  the v8 is a
smoother and sweeter engine than the 5.. it sounds great when revved up to
redline whereas the 5 starts to sound strained and buzzy. 

v8 oil leaks on hot exhaust?  first time i've heard of it.  has *not*
happened to my car. i don't feel like i'm part of the group of suffering
v8 owners.  don't feel left out either... :)  maybe i'll start my group of
happy v8 owners with cars that have been exceedingly good to them.  who
wants to join? 

best thing any owner can do for a non-UFO V8:  get some 17 inch wheels.
those have the perfect proportion for the car's size and you will find
total strangers coming up and paying you compliments on the car's looks.

the a8 will rapidly depreciate because of the expense of fixing it.
in 2 or 3 years they will be affordable to many but i will not be in
line for one even then.  the v8 has whetted my appetite for lighter
smaller cars with a rear biased weight distribution....