Thanks for the advice. The dealership thing is a problem, as I don't know if the local guys know their way around a transmission or not. Perhaps over time I'll figure out their competence.
Today, for the first time, the car got driven really hard for an extended period of time; trying to keep up with my friend in his S4 on a variety of country roads. Interestingly, it now feels stronger and smoother. And, I couldn't replicate the pop out after the drive, although I only tried a couple times. Perhaps the car just needed to be really broken in?
Thanks again for the tips