In Reply to: I drove it, then the Z3, right after... posted by bmargolis on March 04, 2001 at 08:43:21:
The first one I tested was the Audi TT 225 Roadster. I really wanted to love this squashed bug! The styling is fantastic and the lines are soooo simple. What a beautiful machine. All Wheel drive was a huge bonus.
The interior looks a good as the exterior. Everything is round and right where you expect to find it. The air vents are the coolest, dimpled metal circles that open and close by turning the outer ring. If anything, some of the controls are a bit small and hidden. Obviously, form does not always follow function, as in the inside door handles and seat belts, which one must turn nearly 45 degrees to reach.
OK, we're now underway and I'm a bit nervous because there is NO GAS in this baby. We drive 1000 yards to the first stop light at an intersection, I look up and can't see the light. The roof line is so low that the upward visibility is really crowded. In fact, we're sitting so low in the car that all of the visibility is crowded. The windows seem to begin at my shoulder. (I'm 5'-11")I don't think I could rest my arm with an open window at all. And there is no armrest on the door. The car has a 6 speed manual transmission, nice. It's pretty quick, very quick in fact. With the Audi AWD system, you really get the feeling that this car is going to stay on the line that you put it. We get out on the highway and I first notice that the car is louder than I would have expected. Not the engine, the wind and top noise. In fact it reminds me of my old Porsche Targa 911. The car has ample power at all speeds in all gears. The handling seems to be excellent, although I did not test it that thoroughlly.
The next thing I noticed is that there is no place to rest your right arm. I mean NO PLACE. If your hand is not on the wheel, it's in your lap. This really bothered me. Couple that with the lack of rest for the left hand and it felt really strange not having any place to rest either arm. Although the left arm can kind of rest on the door a little. At this point, we headed back to the dealer. For me, the right arm, the visibility, the crowded overall feeling was enough for me to rule the car out.
I was very disappointed. I really wanted to like this car. We went directly from there to the BMW dealer. I had owned a couple of other BMW's in the past and always loved the cars. My only "go-nogo" point was that I must be able to get a golf bag in the trunk. I looked at the trunk of the Z3 and knew a full golf bag would never fit in. I decided to drive one anyways. I drove a 2.5. WOW, this is it, the car I've been deaming about! All of a sudden, everything was in order, there was peace on earth... OH, never mind. At any rate, the golf bag thing no longer meant anything to me. (although it fits)
the car I tested was a 2.5 but know I was going to buy a 3.0. The 2.5 was plenty quick and the 3.0 would of course be better. Four days later, I took delivery of my 2001 3.0i Roadster.
Hope this helps.