The Jetta GLI has a long history of mildly spicing up Volkswagen's mainstream compact sedan, which is why we're happy to see it return as a new trim on the all-new seventh-generation Jetta. Watch as Senior Editor Jeff Perez takes us on a video tour of the GLI to reveal the changes it's received and where the donor parts come from.
For one, the Jetta GLI looks period correct with its traditional red trim that shows up on the grille, wheels, and around the interior. The front and rear fascias are also different, and there's a tasteful decklid spoiler out back. GLI-specific dual chrome exhausts and unique wheels round out the exterior tweaks.
Performance-wise, the Jetta GLI gets upgraded hardware in key areas to make it oh-so-much-more than a base model. For one, there's a limited-slip differential on the front wheels that comes standard, and a completely new multi-link rear suspension replaces the standard model's torsion-beam setup.
Next, the GLI pilfers some parts from its well-bred brothers, the GTI and Golf R. It takes the GTI's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces a healthy228 horsepower (170 kilowatts) and 258 pound-feet (350 Newton-meters) of torque. Then there are the transmissions – you have your choice of two. The first is a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic, and the second is an old fashioned six-speed manual. The latter is standard, while the DSG costs extra. Lastly, the GLI gets new brakes from the very potent Golf R. All told, the performance upgrades are how we like them: substantive and not skin deep.
You won't have to wait long to own a Jetta GLI, either; they should be hitting dealerships this spring. Pricing is the only variable yet to be pinned down that could make or break the GLI. We'll let you know how much it costs as soon they tell us.