Throttle body failure is not uncommon and can lead to shifting issues with the automatic transmission and other drivability concerns.
Car Problem Reports
Volkswagen GTI Shifting/Drivability Issues Due to Throttle Body Failure
Volkswagen GTI Problem
Engine Affected: 2.0L 4 Cylinder
Visitor, 1997 Volkswagen GTI, 2.0L 4 Cylinder, 160,000 mi
Car start but initially rough after a week of no driving. Surges just after shifting into higher gears with gas pedal depressed and going uphills is a challenge. Once car is warmed up or has been driving for 20 minutes all problems go away (except check engine light)