Found a lot of helpful videos, including one extremely-long owner-review video of the 3.2 quattro 6MT, the one that I’m most interested in. My uneducated takeaways are as follows:
Turns out the 2nd gen only offered the VR6 for one... model... year... in the US: 2008 (first year of the gen). We just went from “scarce” to “Sportcross-scarce” territory.
While the 2.0T is more tunable, I am not a tuner, or racer, or even a particularly spirited driver. I like long pulls on the highway and linear power delivery. These are alleged strengths of the VR6.
Ad speaking of the VR6... At this point in its life, it was deemed reliable, but perhaps only by VAGCOM standards. The timing chain guides are still an unsurprising point of weakness. It’s not 4.2-in-the-S4-Avant bad/common, nor is it nearly as expensive, but the point is that this engine is not 2JZ-GE reliable. Apparently some owners just service (I assume that means replace) the guides as part of preventative maintenance so they can sleep at night. I’ve still been looking for hard numbers. One writer just had them replaced along with his clutch and water pump, etc., so he could spread his buttcheeks just once instead of several times. Other things that are not unique to the engine in terms of issues are the coils.
I was a little disappointed that it is not full-time AWD, but that Haldex thingie that only sends power to the rear I’d you really need it. I will have to drive one to see how much this matters. I admit that I love how the RWD feels in my current car (and it was the best part of my former Celica), so I wonder if this FWD-most-of-the-time TT will tickle my fancy. I’ve owned six FWD cars so please do not confuse my concern with being a RWD prude — because nothing says prude like a tape deck in my current car! Plus a car that can be used in most incliment conditions is appealing to me.
Cost of entry: in spite of the lack of candidates, these cars range from $9-12k. I suspect because 1) issues mentioned above, 2) niche car, and 3) aftermarket for the 2.0T is superior in every way so the demand for the VR6 is low on the used market... Oh, and 4) it’s a used Audi.
If I’m willing to spend a small fortune on maintenance, it could be a good car. I don’t drive a lot (which I can hope delays/eliminates a lot of those potentially painful upkeeps) and it could be a fun toy. I actually am not terrified of the prospect of this — or similar — vehicle, because if something goes wrong, meh, I have other vehicles in the stable that will get me from A to B. And if the first bad maintenance/repair is so egregious, or painful, or disheartening, or leaves me stranded, I could wash my hands of it and sell it after the problem is remedied. Cutting my losses is a skill in very familiar with (Tercel 1, Tercel 2, oh and Tercel 3).
The lack of utility what scared me a little, except when I take a whole 10 seconds to examine the idea. My current car has a backseat that is never used and a cargo space that can hold small grocery bags. An empty backseat and a low-height cargo area? Sounds like a TT to me.
Timeline: one year, maybe two, before I could even *consider* modifying or adding to the fleet. So there will be a lot of cars out there for me to research to death. Too bad a manual E91 with less than 200k miles are now only getting MORE expensive, often pushing 20k.
Aso, I seem to be going to a lot of trouble just avoid my inevitable destiny: condensing my fleet into a 2001 4x4 Tundra. You wouldn’t believe how much research I’ve done already on 2-door RAV4...