How To Buy The Ultimate Almost-Sports-Car


Regular Car Reviews helped me decide on which "almost sports car" to buy.

Nottoo long ago, Regular Car Reviews, always known for brutal honesty andhilarious musings, got its hands on an early model Mercedes-Benz SLK, which wasultimately equated to a fancy version of a Mazda Miata car. This week, Mr. Regularhas just posted a review of the 2002 Audi TT. The first (very reasonable)concern brought up is that this car, the “TT,” is named after a race… amotorcycle race.RCRtested the 1.8-liter four-cylinder variant of the car equipped with Audi’s “Quattro” AWD system.

With5 valves per cylinder, the car churns out about 180 hp, at least when it wasnew. The car is dubbed “threateningly cute” and throws off the reviewer with afew stalls. The CarBuzz editor responsible for this article is currently inneed of a new vehicle. I’m currently cross-shopping between a used Mazda Miata,a first-gen Mercedes-Benz SLK, and an Audi TT from the early 2000s. Theinsights from Mr. Regular’s review made the TT look like the best candidate forthe job so far.Asthis comedic review notes, Audi faced some significant lawsuits over the firstgeneration of Audi TTs because at high speeds, the lack of down force couldapparently cause the back end to break loose, which even caused some deadlyaccidents prior to 2007.

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Thisis just one of the class action lawsuits waged against the German manufacturerregarding the early models of the TT. Onthe upside, when you’re used car shopping (at least in this particular place onthe East Coast), you’d be hard pressed to find an example of the car where thisdangerous problem hasn’t already been remedied by a rear spoiler and someelectronics reworking from the manufacturer. As the owner notes, the car isn’twithout its fair share of electrical gremlins, but it’s difficult to find a 10+year-old German car that doesn’t have ANY problems of this sort. Mr.Regular also notes how a good share of the interior parts are from a“Volkswagen parts bin,” but also argues that we shouldn’t turn our noses up atthat.

Additionalperspective about this little Audi came from Reddit. One user commented on theRCR video, “Is it normal for a body on a TT that age [2002 model year] to be soroughed up or is it just this one unlucky example?” Another top commenterretorted with what was already on my mind after test driving a couple of these:“This is just a bad example.” Regular Car Reviews also takes note of somethingthat I won’t look forward to if I end up going with this car: The fact thatmany men (and maybe even some women) view this car as pretty effeminate.Onthe other hand, with my other top picks being an MX-5 or a Mercedes-Benz SLK,it seems like defending my “manhood” against the stigma attached to the carwill just be a part of my future regardless.

Inthis sense, I think I’ll have to side with Mr. Regular’s assertion that “noteverything has to look aggressive” and that “you only get so many laps aroundthe sun, so buy the car you really want.” With another test drive bookedtomorrow in a relatively low-mileage silverAudi TT from 2004, am I wrong for following RCR's advice?