How To Buy The Ultimate Almost-Sports-Car

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

Not too long ago, Regular Car Reviews, always known for brutal honesty and hilarious musings, got its hands on an early model Mercedes-Benz SLK, which was ultimately equated to a fancy version of a Mazda Miata car. This week, Mr. Regular has 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… a motorcycle race.RCR tested the 1.8-liter four-cylinder variant of the car equipped with Audi’s “Quattro” AWD system.

With 5 valves per cylinder, the car churns out about 180 hp, at least when it was new. The car is dubbed “threateningly cute” and throws off the reviewer with a few stalls. The CarBuzz editor responsible for this article is currently in need 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. The insights from Mr. Regular’s review made the TT look like the best candidate for the job so far.As this comedic review notes, Audi faced some significant lawsuits over the first generation of Audi TTs because at high speeds, the lack of down force could apparently cause the back end to break loose, which even caused some deadly accidents prior to 2007.

This is just one of the class action lawsuits waged against the German manufacturer regarding the early models of the TT. On the upside, when you’re used car shopping (at least in this particular place on the East Coast), you’d be hard pressed to find an example of the car where this dangerous problem hasn’t already been remedied by a rear spoiler and some electronics reworking from the manufacturer. As the owner notes, the car isn’t without 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 at that.

Additional perspective about this little Audi came from Reddit. One user commented on the RCR video, “Is it normal for a body on a TT that age [2002 model year] to be so roughed up or is it just this one unlucky example?” Another top commenter retorted 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 something that I won’t look forward to if I end up going with this car: The fact that many men (and maybe even some women) view this car as pretty effeminate.On the 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 car will just be a part of my future regardless.

In this sense, I think I’ll have to side with Mr. Regular’s assertion that “not everything has to look aggressive” and that “you only get so many laps around the sun, so buy the car you really want.” With another test drive booked tomorrow in a relatively low-mileage silver Audi TT from 2004, am I wrong for following RCR's advice?

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