1997 Volkswagen GTI VR6 2.8 from North America


Fast, fun, well engineered and well worth the money


Molding on the exterior part of the doors started coming off around 100K mikes.

Electrical connector (barrel connector) had to be replaced around 50K miles.

Mil light around 80K miles to have the tach and speodo sensors replaced.

Both power windows have had problems, first the passenger side. I heard a grinding sound (similar to metal grinding metal) when I brought the passenger side down sometime around 40K miles. I had to replace the power window motor which was very pricey. The same thing happened to the driver side around 90K miles.

Upper radiator hose needed to be replaced in the 110K mile range.

General Comments:

I purchased this car when it was about 15 months old. I planned on getting a sedan when I went to the dealer, I drove the GTI because a friend of mine had one at school at it was pretty slick. All it took was one drive and I was hooked. I have been driving this car for about 10 years now. I have driven across country, back and forth to work, left in the garage for a few weeks at a time... you name it and the car handles like a champ.

I did replace the rotors from the solid kind to the cross drilled and slotted variety. I also added a cold air intake. Minor modifications.

I drive fast, corner hard, and brake hard. The GTI has taken everything I can give it and the car just takes it. I keep the oil changed, the coolant topped off, and have kept up minor maintenance through the years. Parts are expensive, but given the durability it is a small price to pay.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th February, 2008

1997 Volkswagen GTI VR6 2.8L V6 from North America


If it wasn't for pesky things, this thing would go for another 100,000 miles (280,000 total)


I've had various sensors and pumps go wrong with the car. It has been maddening at times. Things like a camshaft position sensor that made the car shut off dead while I was driving. It took them a lot of time to find out what was wrong with it that time. There have been other little things that seem to cost some $$$. Most recently I was told that I need a secondary air injector pump and valve assembly to pass inspection ($1,300). I know my car has a lot of miles on it, but things like this drove me crazy about once every 1.5 years during my 9 year owning of the car.

General Comments:

First the engine is nice and torquey. It just pulls very strongly from down low and then pulls you (with torque steer) up to about 6000 RPM. The car pulls strongly at highway speed, but runs out of steam way up there as all cars do. I routinely took it to 100 MPH and once to 130 MPH (it's electronically limited top speed). It also has a nice exhaust sound to it.

The transmission is a bit sloppy, but from what I gather, it is a common trait in VWs. Overall it was acceptable. That said the clutch for me was very stout. I'm getting rid of the car now after 180,000 miles and it is still on the original clutch with no signs of slippage.

It handles pretty well and felt like a solid German car should, but it could have been a little tighter and the suspension could have been lowered about an inch. Both for aesthetic value and performance. Usually going into a corner you go in fast let the car lean and transfer its weight around then really carve through.

The interior is very practical for a coupe. I could fit so much back there with the back seats folded. I even went to Canada (9 hours) with 4 passengers and their luggage once (although I wouldn't recommend it for the passengers). The drivers side seat ripped about 5 years after purchase and the headliner gets dirty. Overall wear and tear average.

The car looks great. Nice, simple and muscular without being cute. I think my 3rd gen car looks better than the 4th gen they just stopped making, but not as good as the new 5th gen that just came out.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 10th May, 2006