roof rack for GTI

Considering a new VW GTI. Would like to install permanent rack brackets near the back end of the roof so maximum separation between the bars can be achieved. (There is a good place for the front bars already.) I envision drilling holes for the brackets in the roof but don’t know if there is a hard point to support the bracket or if leaks would be inevitable.

The older model GTI has slots in the roof that accept Thule and maybe other racks. There’s a vinyl strip running windshield to back-glass with a couple removable segments. The removable segments hide the slots. If the new model has them, use them. Its a real solid system.

Re: the GTI, if you aren’t committed, don’t do it. They share a common trait in VW products, which, in general, drive great and have neat engineering, but suffer from weird and expensive malfunctions.

~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD

factory rails
if they are available as an option vw factory rails are strong as can be.

VW factory rack
VW factory racks sold under the Votex name are actually designed and produced by Thule.

I have one on a MK3 GTI VR6. Carries kayaks no problems.

On the previous comment about strange random expensive failures, it is true. Heres the catch, the car is totally worth it even figuring those things in.

My GTI is the most loved car I have ever owned. I have had several small sports cars, but nothing that combined the handling, speed, reliability, flexability, practicality, effeciency, and general fun factor like the GTI has.

What other car can do 0-60 in 6 seconds, get 30mpg on the freeway, carry a kayak, move 8foot tables, fit the wife and kid, and tackle the autocross course like a champ on weekends, all while looking nice and riding in some serious comfort.

VW’s are far more than a sum of their pieces, because sometimes the pieces really suck.

Looked at GTI - went A3
MANY of the same parts as GTI - so same potential issues - maybe more with added Audi features/complexity - but with 4 years warranty, 4 years scheduled maintenance, and 4 years roadside - it greatly minimizes that risk (VW pretty much matches that except the scheduled maint - which ain’t cheap).

New GTI wasn’t out yet - and new styling is pushing what a 44 year old won’t look silly in anyway. Plus, it’s fun smoking the new GTIs with a “wagon”. The A3 (so far) draws very little attention from 5-0 (the rack helps, so does the blue color). Doesn’t have the street racer, muscle car, or exotic car look- and small enough to be hidden among the sea of SUVs (while offering the same layout and room as the smaller ones). A sleeper that will be a monster if I ever get the ECM reprogrammed. For now, I already go through tires fast enough.

2006 Audi 2.0T - DSG 0-60 6.7 sec.

2006 Volkswagon GTI 2.0T - DSG 0-60 6.9 sec.(manual version didn’t make the under 7 sec list)

More vroom, more room, and better groomed - plus everything on their dime x4 was easily worth the price difference. Cost to own brings them even closer. This car is not a cheapened Audi either (like BMW and Mercedes tried with their hatches). Many give it better marks than the A4. I whine if I get an A4 loaner (and the service guys agree with me).

Bottom line: Car is a blast. Had it a year and like it more every drive.

Very limited rack spacing and spread though - but very tough rack (Mont Blanc - specific for A3 with custom length bars and attachment points). With narrow (and small cockpit) boats, or one of anything, not really an issue.

Gas mileage isn’t all that great (GTI would be no better) - I average 20 mpg in mixed (largely city) driving - but that number has more to do with my lead foot than anything. My normal acceleration of a light is pretty much the same if there’s anyone next to me or not: As much as I can get without losing grip. Similar for highway mileage where I don’t get the advertised 31mpg - but I’m not doing posted speed limits either,have the A/C cranked, and the rack/saddles.

price difference?
Wondering what the difference in sticker is. I didn’t think the new GTI looked too “boy racer” but the one I saw was black. I do mourn the loss of the R32.

I knew I’d find you here greyak. Is the ECM fix just a chip swap like the first a4, or do you have to get it reprogrammed? I would pay to drive that ride once you get the ECM reprogrammed!

ECM has to be reprogrammed
I can get it done 4 hours away from here for about $700 with MTM programming, which is same company that did the programming on the DSG for Audi and has a long association. Takes BHP from 200 to @245 and give a serious torque increase too. Supposed to improve normal mileage too. All the other big name chip folks have upgrades out now too (of course all will be able to do similar wonders with the GTIs too).

Price difference A3/GTI is about 4K base (assuming 2.0T DSG on both) - but once you start adding options to to both it can range from 2-5K+. My A3 has DSG and sport package which took it to $29K - but to get similar level of trim on a GTI you’d be adding a lot too - about $27K total. For 2-3K difference its a no brainer unless you really love the GTI. You can run the A3 price quite a bit higher with open sky, sound upgrades, satellite radio, nav system, etc. - but most of that is also available on the GTI at similar prices.

Subtract the 4 years of included scheduled maintenance with Audi (which would cost a lot at either dealer) and the real cost is a wash. Factor in slightly higher resale and it’s a better deal. That doesn’t factor in the added space and functionality, and that you’re getting an Audi with all that entails. Absolute BEST dealer experience I’ve ever had at every step.

Website comparisons place the total ownership costs very close - but bang for the buck ratings (fun, value, and luxury) rating are consistently higher for the A3.

If they ever get an S3 to the States it will be a nearly perfect car - but sadly would also be out of my price range.


– Last Updated: Sep-13-06 10:56 AM EST –

I like the A3 too. All it needs is roof rails (like you can get in Europe)!

If you get the base model (which is very nice), it will be about 26k (excluding tax), Options, though, push the price up quickly.

Personally, I've done very well with VWs: I owned two that were very reliable. The third one is too new to tell.

None of the current Jetta-platform VWs have the sockets in the roof for a rack (kind of too bad).

I am just not satisfied with the spread between the racks in the standard positions, which is only about 30 inches. So I would like to install permanent brackets in the GTI roof near the back of the car. This will give about 50 inches.

So I am thinking of having someone drill holes and accepting leak risks, etc., in order to have the spread.

The other option
is to install the racks that are only 30" apart and then bolt onto those racks a rail system with saddles that extend out to 50-60".

I have been thinking of doing it for my old Jetta, where the aftermarket Votex bars are only 28" apart!

Would rather drill into the racks and bolt on 2 parallel rails with 2 cross bars that support the saddles or foam cradels than drill into the roof.

trailer hitch option?
If your GTI can be fitted for a trailer hitch, you can get it fitted with a removable tongue, and get a t bar to serve as the rear rack. No permanent marks in the body and you get a hitch for when you buy that sweet kayak trailer…

Thought about similar
Maybe adapting the KayakPro system to my bars -or building something similar.

opposite findings
Your findings are opposite to what I have seen.

Road and track tested both with the DSG and got 0-60 outta the GTI in 6.3 vrs 6.4 (not that .1 seconds really matters) because they share the same power train, but the A3 has two more doors, and extra weight in sound deadening and cushy options added in.

VW claims the DSG does 0-60 in 6.9 and the stick in 7.5. They also claimed my gti does it in 7.5, but I’ve been radar timed at 6.5 in mine :-). VW tends to understate these things

A3/GTI have different tuning
I had assumed the GTI would a hair be faster that the A3 based on the weight difference too.

Trouble is that difference is actually pretty small: 3329 vs 3178 lbs - giving the GTI just a 151 pound edge.

Each is also tuned to different specs - both engine AND transmission. In the age of computer control having the same hardware is really not telling you much. Jettas, Passats and A4s have the 2.0T too.

I think the 0-60 speed comes down to a marketing thing: Audi/VW are not going to make an Audi with same drive train slower than a lower priced VW. Given the special nature of the GTI though - they’ll let them be within a tenth or two.

Beyond that difference will need to be sought aftermarket. This little power plant can put out another 40-50 hp with just an ECM reprogramming. There will be a lot of these cars on the road capable of a lot more than advertised. I only hope most of those guys also spring for some serious brakes and tires to match or they’re going to drive up my insurance rates…

For production performance - the question really becomes what (if any) will hit US shore first, an S3 or a new beefed up GTI like the discontinued r32?

Personality/feel is the real difference. Do you want a souped up Golf or a more practical/refined and yet equally fun Audi? A hard choice for many now.

Best thing to do if you’re a GTI fan - don’t test drive and A3 with sport package!

I just read in Autoweek’s long-term test report of the A3 that Audi is doing away with the free scheduled maintenance deal starting with 2007 models.

Trouble with the new VWs is they sit higher than the Europe verions due to US bumper-height requirements. The GTIs really look it, too, lot of gap above the tires, and they just look tall. This can be taken care of via aftermarket or Euro-spec springs, but it’s pretty annoying VW didn’t work this out properly in the first place, makes one wonder just how committed they are to the US market.

Another problem with the new GTIs is all the tacky fake grillwork on the nose.

Mike (still like my 2002 GTI, hoping 6th-gen VWs look better)

I’m sure the DSG is quicker (or am i) but I still like stirring the pot manually - downshifts, skipping gears, etc. I hear the shifter has that great vw feel.

Still looking for that low miles used original GTI…

I tried the DSG on 2 cars (Audi A4 and Mini Cooper) and I didn’t like it too much.

Both owners just keep it on auto all the time and I think that’s the way I would end up too.

I’m still an aficionados of manual gear myself.

I guess you can’t teach new tricks to old dogs :wink:

I’m a very happy owner of a 2001 GTI equipped with a factory rack.

DSG = VW/Audi

– Last Updated: Sep-15-06 9:12 AM EST –

Not sure what the tranny is in the Mini, but its not DSG.

DSG is VW/Audi's own version of the computer controlled clutch, but its the only one to use three shafts and two clutches.

Its the fastest for single gear up/down shifts by a good margin.

Not all of these are created equal. Toyota had one for about two years in the MR2. Tried one of these, but I can shift faster than that without really trying.

Not sure
how the system on the Mini is called but it’s the same concept.

I’m not saying I didn’t like the DSG because it’s too slow, I just didn’t like the system in general.

I might have to give it more time to really appreciate it, sort of like the greenland paddle, I didn’t like it the first time I tried and now… but that’s another story.

0-60 is one thing…
…but I would like to see DSG vs. manual times on a road course…which for most people is more realistic (I know I’m not in a VW or Audi for drag racing).

I’m betting the computer still cannot outthink you when it comes to timing shifts such as downshifts in turns.

I feel bad for our kids who may never get the pleasure of stirring a nice stick shift…