Take the front-wheel-drive Audi TT coupe, one of the best-looking vehicles on the market, and add all-wheel-drive.

Now you have one of the best-looking and best-acting vehicles on the market, a coupe with pinpoint accuracy that immediately goes in the direction you point it to provide you with optimum mobility and maneuverability on a variety of road surfaces in all kinds of weather.

Quick takeoffs, crisp corners and turns, all-wheel stability. Function and fun at the same time.

We tested the 2000 all-wheel-drive Audi TT Quattro coupe that came out in the fall as the companion to the FWD TT coupe that came out in May as a 2000 model.

Like the FWD TT coupe, Quattro is powered by a 1.8-liter, 180-horsepower, 20-valve, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with a smooth-shifting, short-throw 5-speed manual.

But with AWD, the 4-cylinder feels as if it generates more h.p. and more torque, thanks to the gluelike grip with the pavement.

With AWD, the Quattro performs much more aggressively than the FWD version, with noticeably better vertical and lateral control.

The TT coupe, which has been as successful for Audi as the Beetle has been for Volkswagen, will next add a 225-h.p. rendition of the 1.8-liter 4 in the Quattro in the spring along with a 2001 TT roadster with a choice of 180- or 225-h.p. engines and front- or all-wheel-drive.

There's talk of a 6-speed manual transmission in the 225-h.p. models with a 5-speed automatic offering automatic or clutchless manual shifting coming later.

The roadster will offer manual or power top for the European market.

No decision as to which top the U.S. version will get.

Considering the punch the 180-h.p. 4 packs in the Quattro TT, you can only imagine how the 225 h.p. will respond to pedal pressure.

Hmm. A top-down TT Quattro roadster with a 225-h.p. engine.

If Y2K does bring with it the end of the world as we know it, let's just hope it takes until at least next summer to happen so we can spend a few days in what promises to be a superb machine, based on its lineage.

Performance, of course, is only part of the TT Quattro's appeal.

Styling is exceptional. The Beetle heritage is obvious. One of the few cars in the market that attracts young and old, male and female alike.

The 2000 Audi TT coupe starts at $30,500. Add $1,750 for AWD.

Standard equipment includes four-wheel anti-lock brakes, full-time traction control, fully galvanized body with aluminum hood, quick-ratio power steering, dual front- and side-impact air bags, power locks, headlight washers, power mirrors with defoggers, electronic climate control with dust and pollen filters, AM/FM stereo with cassette, remote keyless entry, carpeted floor mats, pre-wiring for CD changer ($1,200 for Bose sound system with CD changer) and phone.

Also, it comes with cruise control, tilt and telescoping steering column, gas fill er door and trunk release levers in the console and split/folding rear seat backs so you can place a duffel or grocery bag in back (since the seat isn't large enough for a human).

And finally, and worth noting, it comes with power windows with pinch protection so that if your hand is in the way when the glass is powering up, it will pinch your hand, then stop and motor down on its own .

The same pinch protection is offered in the Beetle with power windows.

The dual front seat air bags are the second generation type with lower speed deployment.

Since the car is basically a two-passenger model with seats in back to fool the insurance agent, the passenger-side air bag comes with an on/off switch in the glove box.

When turned off, a light in the console flashes on.

The test car also came with option packages that included Quattro, Bose sound with a CD changer, heated seats and 17-inch wheels and performance tires.

Still, as with th FWD TT coupe, there are some annoyances, the primary one being the low-slung egg-shell roofline that tends to reach out and slap the head of those trying to get in or out of the machine.

If only the door extended up a few inches into the roof, the problem would be solved.

Another gripe is the hidden power-window button, behind the door handle, making it awkward to find and use; too-small outside mirrors that add to the visibility problem created by such thick roof pillars; and seats that are just a bit too stiff for long-distance travel enjoyment.

With a TT roadster coming, can the Beetle convertible be far behind?

Volkswagen officials in Germany reportedly are still trying to evaluate a number of convertible renditions of the Beetle and have to choose which version they'll go with.

It's not a matter of if VW will have a Beetle convertible; rather which concept gets the nod and when. A decision is expected by year-end or in the first quarter of next year.

>> 2000 Audi TT Quattro coupe Wheelbase: 95.4 inchesLength: 159.1 inchesEngine: 1.8-liter, 180-h.p., 20-valve, turbocharged 4-cylinderTransmission: 5-speed manualFuel economy: 22 m.p.g. city/31 m.p.g. highwayBase price: $30,500Price as tested: $35,150. Includes $1,750 for Quattro all-wheel-drive system; $700 for comfort package with heated seats and driver information center; $1,000 for performance package with 17-inch cast alloy wheels and summer performance tires and Xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps; and $1,200 for Bose premium sound system with six-disc CD changer. Add $525 for freight.Pluses: Potent 4-cylinder. Exceptional maneuvering with AWD. Stunning styling. Fun machine. Passenger-side air bag shutoff switch.Minuses: Roofline blocks your head when getting in or out. Rear seat barely holds a briefcase. Mirrors too small.>>